Amazon (AMZN) Web Services has made several inroads into the federal government and public sector, but at least one competitor is calling its ability to properly serve federal cloud needs into question. In an interview with Nextgov.com, one of the higher-ups in IBM's (IBM) federal cloud business called AWS "unreliable and not up to government standards."
This is the latest blow in a battle that began over a CIA contract that was awarded to AWS before being pulled back into the federal government agency and then awarded to competitor IBM. The two companies are going head-to-head over the contract, which is valued at approximately $150 million. Not exactly a small number, and the way the contract is being treated as a hot potato that everybody wants to hold has generated one lawsuit between the book seller-turned-giant cloud provider and Big Blue.
The two sides have been arguing through the media and through the courts, but little information from the lawsuit has actually surfaced. As Nextgov noted, AWS had the complaint sealed because of proprietary information contained within.
The whole CIA cloud deal has caused quite the kerfuffle, really. Reports indicate AWS was initially favored because of the weakening of a security clause that, when discovered, riled up IBM's cloud division. Calling unfairness, the CIA flipped on its decision. A wise move on its part? Who knows? But the whole contract awarding process could have been improved—and if so, maybe these courtroom tactics could have been avoided entirely.
In a statement, IBM suggested that AWS lacked the security and reliability to protect sensitive data—a statement AWS is likely to take issue with.
But for now, it's back to padding the pockets of their lawyers as they battle over the intelligence agency's cloud contract.