back to article Competition? We've heard of it. MoD snubs cloud rivals to hand Microsoft £17.7m Azure hosted services gig

The UK's Ministry of Defence has handed Microsoft a £17.75m contract to run hosted services in the Azure Cloud – and rivals won't even get a chance to compete due to requisite "data sovereignty and reliability". The "ex-ante" deal which runs over 23 months from 1 June 2020 – awarded without competition – centres on cloud …

  1. oiseau Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Fish

    ... and this non-negotiable requirement can only be supported by Microsoft for these services at this scale ...

    Hmm ...

    Is it just me or does anyone else smell fish here?

    O.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Hook, Line and Sinker

      Is it just me or does anyone else smell fish here? ..... oiseau

      I'm thinking the MOD are well and truly phished, oiseau.

      Ah well, at least there be no argument or disagreement about who is to blame and carry the can whenever anything at all goes tits up, which is nice and convenient whenever scapegoats/villains/suckers are needed.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Hook, Line and Sinker

        "Ah well, at least there be no argument or disagreement about who is to blame and carry the can whenever anything at all goes tits up"

        According to TFA it's hosted partly by HP (?HPE) and partly on Azure, i.e. by Microsoft. Lots of scope for finger pointing there.

    2. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: Fish

      The usual stench of corruption and backhand that reeks from everything our civil service does.

      Why the hell doesn't someone sort it out? Millions that could have supported a really secure and independent uk system that the U.S. government couldn't listen to which would have created technology and expertise the Uk could sell abroad and are money from which would in the meantime have supported uk jobs has now been given to their second bum buddies. I wonder if it will be as successful as the millions given to Microsoft to develop a software apprenticeship scheme that never happened? Probably about the same, and just as that apprenticeship stab in the back it will kill one or two British companies.

      1. Will 11

        Re: Fish

        I'm not sure you understand the concept of cloud computing if you think the alternative is to build your own.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Fish

          Cloud computing is about taking advantage of the economies of scale.

          At the scale of the MoD you are going to get a good few of those (not as many as the really big players) and cast iron guarantees about data sovereignty.

          Or is everything we read about anything on Azure being subject to a court order from a US judge suddenly not true?

    3. Someone Else Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Fish

      Does "Windows for Battleships" ring a bell for anyone here?

  2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Yeah, f**k UK industry...

    I find it hard to believe that this couldn't have been awarded to a UK company.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeah, f**k UK industry...

      1. Having worked with some of the UK based so-called 'experts' in secure environments I don't.

      2. Nationalistic Protectionism, you don't get to squeak when the Yanks do it and ignore it when the Brits do.

      Anon due to the secure aspect

    2. hmmmhmmm

      Re: Yeah, f**k UK industry...

      Technically it will be awarded to a UK company, with UK staff and UK premises. Foreign-owned, but British registered - just like much of the "proper-British" competition would have been. From a subjective cultural point of view it's irritating but for the most part unavoidable, unless the MOD can find a way to invest in a small privately run British company to get big enough but would effectively be a one-client company. Granted the equivalent is done in Israel all the time, and is the reason for their tech growth, but the UK likes to keep corporate stuff at arms length.

    3. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: Yeah, f**k UK industry...

      If we don't have the expertise it is one we should be developing. Having other countries able to read your secrets and give them to others fuck the while point of having the MOD. The yanks shafted us over suez and would have done over the Falklands if they could have read and given our secrets to their friends in Argentina. Make no mistake a very significant number of Americans hate us even mire than they dislike the Russians. (And no, the Eu countries dont like us any better)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data sovereignty, eh?

    What about the CLOUD Act?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Data sovereignty, eh?

      Previously, Microsoft has contracted with a local third-party in Germany (Deutsche Telekom IIRC) to handle their German data centres. That way Microsoft don't have direct access to the servers containing localised client data, so the CLOUD Act cannot be used to compel such access. It would be reasonable to assume a similar thing could/will be done in this case.

      1. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: Data sovereignty, eh?

        Really? And you don't think the na or whoever are powerless to put people into Microsoft or just to threaten the CEO?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Data sovereignty, eh?

        You’re on the right track - you try deploying a resource in Azure to the UK North region you may find that it does not exist, but it’s listed on https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/rest/api/servicebus/regions/listbysku ;-)

      3. oiseau Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Data sovereignty, eh?

        ... would be reasonable to assume a similar thing could/ will be done in this case?

        There, fixed it for you.

        After all, it is Friday. =-)

        Ahh ...

        The answer you say?

        Hmmm ...

        No.

        O.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Data sovereignty, eh?

      This is the post-Brexit concept of sovereignty. EU rules can't contradict the US when they tell us what to do.

      1. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: Data sovereignty, eh?

        It's our civil service. All educated at Oxbridge to hate the Uk just as Burgess was. They would rather see the whole country prostrate than do anything for us. Why did we leave the EU? Because our civil service loved using the mantra of EU rules to screw us all over. They have been systematically destroying British industry since they started on our aircraft industry in the 1950s.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Data sovereignty, eh?

          Nurse - he hasn't taken his pills again!!

  4. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Only the beast of Redmond could meet 'data sovereignty and reliability' needs

    > Only the beast of Redmond could meet 'data sovereignty and reliability' needs

    What's this 'beast of Redmond' nonsense? Hasn't the Micros~1 memo done the rounds yet?

    [Icon - replacement for the El Reg office email system]

    1. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: Only the beast of Redmond could meet 'data sovereignty and reliability' needs

      One week of using Windows 10 proved beyond any doubt Microsoft has zero concept of reliability. When I worked for them the email servers on exchange were dead at least twice a day and we had a helium blimp to fly the it's dead and it's back up messages around the office

  5. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Yes, only Microsoft can do it. Usually by swallowing a suitable competitor.

  6. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Standards and Transferability

    OK - I'm not a database expert, so forgive what might be a dumb question, but is there no way that the data format and functionality can be standardized so that the host doesn't matter?

    In the US the defense department (their spelling, not mine) sometimes uses a "buggins turn" approach to procurement of expensive disposables like missiles. The initial development and first couple of manufacturing tranches are aggressively competed between the usual companies (Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, etc.). However, the development contract gives ownership of the design to the DoD, including a full technical data pack which includes everything needed to manufacture, test, deliver and maintain the missiles. In this way the DoD can compete future manufacturing tranches between the usual companies and sometimes, in effect, it becomes a sort of buggins turn. The advantages of this is that the DoD doesn't get locked into one supplie, with the resultant price hikes, and also that the money gets spread around the companies so that one doesn't end up as massively dominant or, as in the case of the UK, only one or two remain.

    So, back to my original question - is there a way in which the databases and functionality that the MoD requires for this cloudy stuff could be designed in a manner that means it could easily be transferred from one supplier to another in the spirit of both keeping costs down but also avoiding market dominance, developing local expertise, jobs, etc.?

  7. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Security??????

    Sharing all your data with the USA is secure????????????? Are they stark staring bonkers? Yet again the UK civil service screws British industry right up the arse. All those engineers in the UK can't put together a solution? Blocks as normal. The civil service just hates this country. Better to give the yanks all our secrets directly isnt it? It's a wonder they didn't choose a Russian or Chinese service but I guess they are selling our secrets to them as Burgess and his Oxford educated bunch did. Why the fuck does BoJo not hang the whole civil service as the traitors they are. Can't buy our own pie, can't buy our own police cars, helicopters, jet fighters, Nhs computer systems, tax systems, tanks (just bought some kraut ones). In fact I would love to know how many decades ago our civil service spent any of our money in ou country. Hang them all, traitors

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Security??????

      Nurse! Dave's been using the computer again...

      Actually "Dave" (or is it something more exotic?), although there may be a fair number of Oxbridge-educated SCS, the majority of civil servants went to other academic institutions. And banging on about Burgess is a bit tired now. The Civil Service doesn't hate this country, it's the thin not-blue line that keeps this country going through such as current events. If you're angry at anyone for past decisions about military purchasing and policy, look elsewhere. The clue is in the name: civil servants serve, and who do they serve? The public, but specifically the democratically-elected representatives of the public...

      Anon, natch.

      1. Ian Mason

        Re: Security??????

        "The clue is in the name: civil servants serve, and who do they serve? The public, but specifically the democratically-elected representatives of the public..."

        So you clearly haven't seen the excellent documentaries on the Civil Service: "Yes, Minister" and "Yes, Prime Minister". For those still under the mistaken belief that these were a series of comedy programs, find a honest friend or relative who works in the Civil Service and ask them which programme category they belong in.

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