IBM filed a protest against the Pentagon’s $10 billion JEDI cloud computing contract but says it still plans to submit a bid. The solicitation’s “primary flaw,” according to the vendor, is that it locks the military into a single cloud provider for 10 years.
The protest, filed with the Government Accountability Office, comes just days ahead of the Oct. 12 deadline to submit a Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, proposal.
“IBM knows what it takes to build a world-class cloud,” Sam Gordy, general manager of IBM U.S. Federal, wrote in a blog post. “No business in the world would build a cloud the way JEDI would and then lock in to it for a decade. JEDI turns its back on the preferences of Congress and the administration, is a bad use of taxpayer dollars and was written with just one company in mind. America’s warfighters deserve better.”
Oracle already filed a similar protest, and earlier this week Google dropped out of the running for the $10 billion deal, citing its artificial intelligence (AI) principles. But even before the protests and Google’s decision, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft were already considered frontrunners because they have higher levels of government cloud security authorizations.
IBM says this limited number of bids is intentional. The company accuses the Pentagon of “arbitrarily” narrowing the field by including requirements that “mirror one vendor’s internal processes” and mandating that certain capabilities be in place by the Friday deadline instead of when the work begins.
Additionally, a single cloud environment for the entire U.S. military is a bad idea because it gives attackers a sole target should they try to take out the Pentagon’s IT backbone, IBM says. “The world’s largest businesses are increasingly moving in a multi-cloud direction because of security, flexibility and resilience; the Pentagon is moving in precisely the opposite direction,” Gordy wrote.
IBM Cloud Private
The company released the platform less than a year ago, and it said “hundreds” of global enterprises already use IBM Cloud Private. These include New Zealand Police, China’s Fuyao Group, Japan’s Aflac Insurance, Turkey’s credit bureau Kredi Kayıt Bürosu, and Brazil’s Fidelity National Information Services.
The platform’s new features include AI capabilities and public cloud support. IBM Watson Speech-to-Text is now available with the new IBM Cloud Private version 3.1. This allows users to automatically transcribe and analyze audio from seven different languages.
In addition, IBM Watson Assistant is now available on IBM Cloud Private. Watson Assistant helps developers and non-technical users create conversational AI products, ranging from simple chatbots to complex enterprise-grade products for customer service.
And finally, IBM made IBM Cloud Private available on its public cloud, which aims to help businesses build hybrid clouds and move their enterprise workloads from on-premises systems to the IBM Public Cloud.
Photo Credit: Hattanas Kumchai