AWS Still Chasing JEDI, Blasts Trump Administration Again

AWS still wants to get JEDI from Microsoft. And there’s a new alliance in town. Plus, an update from iXsystems.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

December 17, 2020

4 Min Read
JEDI lightsaber

With December each year typically comes a slowdown in technology news. That again is the case (well, sort of) in 2020, with the exception of activity from a couple big names. Check out Amazon Web Services and its latest attempt to change the federal government’s mind about the notorious JEDI contract. And find out what Dell, Google, Intel, RingCentral and other channel-heavy names are up to together. We also caught up with storage vendor iXsystems to find out what’s new with its channel program and cloud.

AWS Tries Again to Get JEDI From Microsoft

Remember JEDI? The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure initiative at the Department of Defense intended to update the military’s systems to cloud technology? The Pentagon awarded the $10 billion project to Microsoft Azure in October of last year, over expected winner Amazon Web Services.

And since then, work has been hamstrung by multiple rounds of legal wrangling.

Now, AWS is once again trying to get the contract from Microsoft. The cloud provider on Dec. 15 asked a federal judge to set aside Microsoft’s win. AWS argues that the reevaluation process the Pentagon undertook this year was flawed because of pressure from President Trump. (After losing the JEDI contract last year, AWS also contended that was due to interference from Trump.)

“The JEDI reevaluations and re-award decision have fallen victim to an administration that suppresses the good-faith analysis and reasoning of career officials for political reasons — ultimately to the detriment of national security and the efficient and lawful use of taxpayer dollars,” AWS told the court. “DoD has demonstrated again that it has not executed this procurement objectively and in good faith. This re-award should be set aside.”

Microsoft disagreed. The company’s communications head, Frank X. Shaw, told TechCrunch “the career procurement officials at the DoD decided that given the superior technical advantages and overall value, we continued to offer the best solution.”

There’s no word on how this latest move from AWS might continue to hold up JEDI implementation.

Google, VMWare, Dell Among Founders of New Modern Computing Alliance

Dell, Google, VMware and RingCentral rank among the channel-friendly cloud vendors spearheading a new effort called the Modern Computing Alliance.

The alliance aims to develop new standards and interoperable technologies any company using one of the participants’ services or platforms may use. Other founding members include Box, Citrix, Imprivata, Okta, Slack and Zoom.

Ostensibly, channel partners will be able to provision the improvements or changes made via the alliance.

TrueNAS Developer Adds Reciprocal Leads for Resellers, MSPs

iXsystems is adding reciprocal leads to its channel program.


iXsystems’ Morgan Littlewood

“When a partner generates an opportunity or deal, we provide in-kind reciprocal leads for the equivalent amount of business, or a rebate,” Morgan Littlewood, senior vice president of product management and business development for iXsystems, told Channel Futures. “Partners like rebates but there’s more value in a new customer logo.”

iXystems is the developer of the open-source TrueNAS Open Storage portfolio. The company competes against the likes of Dell and NetApp. This week, in addition to unveiling reciprocal leads, iXsystems also released the cloud-based TrueCommand management platform. That software lets partners spin up a storage instance in the cloud, then oversee it from one interface.

“It’s like a Cisco Meraki experience for managing storage,” said Brett Davis, executive vice president of sales and marketing for iXsystems.

iXsystems says TrueCommand gives resellers and MSPs “revenue-producing” capabilities in managed storage service delivery. It works with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, among other cloud environments. Davis said iXsystems will integrate more with those two specific vendors in 2021.

Also next year, expect iXsystems to keep growing.


iXsystems’ Brett Davis

“We’ve made significant investments in geographies outside of the United States in 2020, so we’re looking to continue that expansion,” Davis said.

Germany looks like a particularly appealing country. That’s where iXsystems sees the second-highest downloads of its core TrueNAS product, behind the United States.

“I can speculate that Germany seems to be pretty open to open-source solutions, comparatively,” Davis said. “They’re kind of on the faster adoption side of leading-edge technology.”

That trend could bode well for channel partners targeting that region in the coming year.

The iXsystems channel program also includes deal registration, technical and sales training, product demonstrations, sales engineering support and tiered pricing discounts.

Meanwhile, Davis said the partners with whom iXsystems piloted the reciprocal leads initiative were “very successful.”

“We’re looking forward to expanding that,” he added.

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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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