Thunderbirds’ Thunder Diamond formation (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

JEDI

Vendors keep up pressure on JEDI strategy

The Defense Department is continuing to get pressure from industry to back away from its single-award strategy for its massive JEDI cloud computing initiative.

Bloomberg is reporting that several companies such as SAP America, General Dynamics, Red Hat and VMware are coordinating their options. Bloomberg cited emails it obtained as the source.

Amazon Web Services is considered the frontrunner for the award, but Microsoft is expected to mount a bid with its Azure offering and IBM announced its intention to pursue the $10 billion contract in early June.

Many across industry are opposed to the single-award approach. They say it will deny DOD access to innovation and there are concerns that a single cloud isn’t the best way host a broad range of systems and applications.

As sources have told me, one cloud doesn’t fit all applications. Some clouds are better at business processes and others are better at processing video data, for example.

But DOD is pushing for a single cloud because they are concerned about stove-piped systems. As evidence they have pointed to the more than 500 cloud initiatives underway across DOD.

What kind of pressure industry can exert on DOD to change JEDI remains to be seen. More effective pressure will likely come from Congress, which placed several reporting requirements on DOD to make sure it can justify to their satisfaction that a single award is the best approach.

DOD has slowed down the JEDI process in recent weeks. May came and went without a final request for proposals. Officials have continued to stand by a September award but that timeline seems highly unlikely.

Once the RFP is released, we may well see protests over the solicitation, which will slow the process and we’ll likely see protests after an award.

We’ll likely be deep into 2019 before a final JEDI award is in place.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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