<p>File: Microsoft has sought to expand its footprint in the cloud computing space and has emerged as a significant competitor for Amazon</p>

File: Microsoft has sought to expand its footprint in the cloud computing space and has emerged as a significant competitor for Amazon

Microsoft protests NSA’s decision to award $10bn cloud computing contract to Amazon

Microsoft and Amazon’s rivalry in the cloud computing space has emerged again after the latter clinches an NSA contract

Vishwam Sankaran
Thursday 12 August 2021 07:56

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has bagged a $10 billion cloud computing contract with the US National Security Agency (NSA), drawing formal protest from its rival, software giant Microsoft.

The current move by Microsoft comes after Amazon spent years contesting the software company being awarded the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract.

“Based on the decision, we are filing an administrative protest via the Government Accountability Office (GAO). We are exercising our legal rights and will do so carefully and responsibly,” a Microsoft spokesperson told tech website Nextgov.

Microsoft filed its protest on 21 July with the GAO, claiming the NSA did not conduct a proper evaluation before awarding the contract for its project, code named WildandStormy, tech news website Washington Technology first reported. The GAO’s decision is due on 29 October.

An NSA spokesperson confirmed the protest in a statement to Nextgov. “The agency will respond to the protest in accordance with appropriate federal regulations,” the statement said.

The NSA reportedly decided to switch from storing intelligence data locally to using a cloud service. Amazon could gain an upper hand in the fast-growing cloud service market if the US GAO rules in its favour.

Intelligence officials in the NSA have sought to meet the challenging demands of exponential growth of data and massive requirements for processing and analytics by moving the data from its own servers to those operated by a commercial cloud provider in an effort called the Hybrid Compute Initiative.

AWS holds numerous government cloud contracts, such as the $600 million cloud contract with the CIA called C2S and its multi-billion follow-on C2E contract. The JEDI project, however, revealed Microsoft to be a significant competitor on the cloud services front.

The software giant has sought to expand its cloud capabilities catered for the US government with its Azure Government Secret cloud project and another service for customers having top secret classified data, called the Azure Government Top Secret project that was announced last year.

“The broad range of services will meet the demand for greater agility in the classified space, including the need to gain deeper insights from data sourced from any location as well as the need to enable the rapid expansion of remote work,” the company noted in a December blog post.

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