June 05, 2013, 12:08 PM — Amazon pulled off a coup a few months back, reportedly securing a $600 million contract to build a cloud for the CIA.
According to Federal Computer Week -- which first reported the contract award in March -- IBM has protested Amazon winning the deal. IBM was one of the initial bidders on the contract and filed a protest, plus three supplements between March and April.
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It's not terribly surprising that IBM would protest such a deal. FCW notes that bid protests are common on government contracts and the size of this deal made it even more likely that competitors would attempt to delay the project. it isn't the first time this massive contract has been protested, either. According to FCW, AT&T and Microsoft both objected to the initial request for proposals -- a prequel to a contract being awarded -- in mid-2012.
News of IBM protesting the contract reinforces the significance of AWS winning it in the first place. Amazon focuses almost all of its efforts on public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and does not typically build private clouds for customers. Amazon, along with other cloud providers like Verizon Terremark, have made efforts to target their offerings specifically toward government workloads (Amazon's is called GovCloud). Amazon also recently won FedRAMP certification from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, which the company said will lower the cost of implementing its cloud services among government organizations and agencies in the U.S.
IBM has filed its protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which FCW reports will review the complaint and render a decision about whether the contract will have to be re-bid by the CIA.