IBM filed the protest in October, but it still submitted a Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, proposal. The solicitation’s “primary flaw,” according to the vendor, is that it locks the military into a single cloud provider for 10 years.
Oracle, which also submitted a JEDI bid, filed a similar protest before IBM did. And the GAO shot that down, too. The software giant isn’t giving up its fight, and late last week filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
The lawsuit alleges conflicts of interest. It says two people involved in the procurement process have close ties to Amazon Web Services (AWS), which gives that cloud provider an unfair advantage over its rivals. One of these people reportedly called a colleague who voiced support for AWS rivals a “dum dum,” according to Slack messages obtained by Oracle. This person also allegedly “attacked anyone who took multi-cloud positions or advocated non-AWS solutions.”
The GAO cited Oracle’s lawsuit when it dismissed IBM’s protest. Because IBM’s complaints are similar, “We view the matter involved in IBM’s protest as currently before a court of competent jurisdiction,” GAO general counsel Thomas Armstrong wrote. “We will not decide a protest where the matter involved is the subject of litigation before a court of competent jurisdiction.”
Does JEDI Favor AWS?
IBM declined to say if it will take its JEDI protest to court. In an email to SDxCentral, a spokesperson repeated an earlier blog post by Sam Gordy, general manager of IBM U.S. Federal.
“IBM knows what it takes to build a world-class cloud,” the email and the blog said. “No business in the world would build the cloud envisioned by JEDI, and neither should the Department of Defense. 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.”
In its original protest, IBM also argued that the Pentagon’s solicitation favored one vendor — widely assumed to be AWS. “Certain requirements in the RFP either mirror one vendor’s internal processes or unnecessarily mandate that certain capabilities be in place by the bid submission deadline versus when the work would actually begin,” Gordy wrote. “Such rigid requirements serve only one purpose: to arbitrarily narrow the field of bidders.”
The federal court’s decision could force the Pentagon to redo the cloud computing contract.
Photo Copyright: Thanakorn Suppamethasawat