back to article Like the Death Star on Endor, JEDI created a ton of fallout and stormy weather in cloud market

Late on Friday, word broke that the US Department of Defense had decided to award the massive 10-year, $10bn Joint Enterprise Defense Initiative contract to Microsoft. Coming at the tail end of the Friday news dump period, the decision caught everyone a bit off guard. Now, having had a weekend to digest the news, where do …

  1. pinkmouse

    Erm, B5 pic with a JEDI related story? Fire that sub-editor! :-)

    1. n10cities

      IKR?? Yesterday, they showed a picture of Spock (A STAR TREK CHARACTER) while mentioning another JEDI article.

      Someone needs to turn in their geek card (or we are being trolled by El Reg, knowing the amount of weeping, wailing and knashing of teeth that would ensue).

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Hi ho the Dario, a trolling they will go!

        1. Ordinary Donkey

          But do you ever wonder whether the commenters who object to the pictures are on the level themselves?

        2. bobdehn

          When they use a still from Battle Beyond The Stars, THEN will I be impressed.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            John Boys Ship

            But if they used the Spaceship from Battle Beyond the Stars then they would have had to put a NSFW icon on it.

            (Dont deny the thought has never occurred to you)

            Space Boobies.

            1. Robert Helpmann??

              Re: John Boys Ship

              I'm hoping for something from the live action version of Space Battleship Yamato.

            2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

              Re: John Boys Ship

              Or for those differently inclined, the Lexx spaceship.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            By Grabthar's hammer that would be a sight to behold.

            1. Stevie

              By Grabthar's hammer that would be a sight to behold.


          3. Teiwaz


            SpaceHunter : Adventures in the Forbidden Zone

            After all, somebody much like the Overdog currently runs the US, and the Khemist also did nasty things to children.

            1. IT Hack

              Re: Nope (space hunter)

              Good grief! You and I are probably the only people to have watched that...blast from the past that!

              Also Barbarella.

              /mic drop

              1. Fungus Bob

                Re: Nope (space hunter)

                Nope, I'll admit to watching it too.

          4. pinkmouse

            Hmm, now I get it. Sorry, I've been away.

            But now I'm waiting for the picture on the next story of a giant red robot, that instead of the article when clicked on takes you to a recording of the cover version of Starfleet, (80's anime redub, sorry I forget the name of the original series), performed by Brian May and Eddie Van Halen.

            I think my copy of the 12" is filed next to my geek card...

        3. Luiz Abdala

          I hope this story keeps going, so El Reg can post pics from Firefly, Battlestar Galactica (both), Star Trek (all of them)... and perhaps Lost In Space. Hell, whatever live-action came out... Flash Gordon?

          Lost In Space would be perfect.

          Some Picard facepalms too.

      2. cdrcat

        I thought the Borg was the traditional M$ reference. Or is that reference too dated*†, or taken over by Gooplle?

        * I have never received a geek card, so I can't hand mine in.

        † Where can I buy a geek card? Preferably electrically and physically S100 compatible.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

          Here We Go Again.

          El reg has been trolling us by (usually) using a publicity still from B5 every time JEDI gets a new story.

          It still catches people out.

          1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

            Re: Here We Go Again.

            Some people just don't get El Reg's humour.

            Where's the Modaratrix when you need her?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Here We Go Again.

              "Where's the Modaratrix when you need her?"

              Some say she lives alone on an island in the Pacific, shooting and eating anyone who tries to make contact

              Others say she went was surprised by a gaggle of commentard fan's and in the ensuing melee-turned-murderous rampage was subsequently captured and imprisoned, never to see the cold, harsh light of a English winter again.

              Others say she was just a normal person who managed to escape the madness of ElReg forums.

              Who will ever know?

              1. Ordinary Donkey

                Re: Here We Go Again.

                She wrote a book or something.

          2. John 104

            Re: Here We Go Again.

            Reminds me of the T-shirt with the pic of the Dalek on it and the quote "R2-D2! I loved him in Star Trek!"

        2. John 104


          One does not 'buy' a geek card. It is earned. If you didn't earn it, you can't have one. Sorry.

          1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

            One does not 'buy' a geek card.

            One does not simply 'buy' a geek card.


            1. John 104

              Thank you!

      3. Benchops

        WHERE'S GATE?

        B5 deserves to be on any page, but everyone knows that Gate is the 3rd best "Star" franchise?!

        RDA! RDA! RDA!

      4. macjules

        And tomorrow I fully expect to see a Blake's 7 image,

        1. Fungus Bob

          Dark Star!

    2. Alister

      B5 pic with a JEDI related story?


      Have you not been following this story on El Reg?

    3. Matthew Smith


      Get the hell out of my galaxy

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Whoosh.

        10/10 reference. And now I feel old.

      2. Luiz Abdala

        Re: Whoosh.

        The "get the hell out of my galaxy" was delivered by Tron himself.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I agree entirely- anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the past forty years ought to know that the Jedi were a part of "Star Wars", not "Babylon 5".

      Captain Kirk must be rolling in his grave.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        See, it's people like you with no sense of irony who utterly spoil the joke I was preparing, about how those silly elReg editors had mistakenly put a picture of Buck Rogers when they meant to use one of the spaceship Serenity from Star Trek.

    5. Tom Melly

      "That's the joke," as Cartman would say...

  2. Dynamite

    They would probably have used the cast of DS9 if they went with AWS as it is also a product built by someone else that the government techies will need to take control of (at least their little corner of) and then bring in someone else to manage for them.

  3. Daniel B.


    So just like the Jedi, they got owned by the Dark Side?

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Ewww

      So in your analogy, the US Department of Defence, an organisation who's main purpose is killing people, is the light side?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ewww

        Ah yes, those famous pacifists the Jedi…

  4. Zog_but_not_the_first


    Jump NOW!

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      Re: Jump!


      1. LenG

        Re: Jump!

        Lorien, if I remember correctly.

        1. Michael Hoffmann

          Re: Jump!

          I'd have to watch that episode again (In the Shadow of Zha'ha'dum(sp?) part 2, IIRC? can't believe I can remember that without looking it up), but I always thought it *was* indeed Kosh, whose "soul" had somehow entered or become part of Sheridan after the former's assassination.

          I thought the voice was distinctly Kosh and not Lorien. Seeing as I have them all on VHS(!) still, it'll be a bit of an effort to check (yes, I bet I could get them all from less legal venues).

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Jump!

            It is time to pull out the DVD collection again. I re-watch it every couple of years.

          2. Steve Kerr

            Re: Jump!

            From memory - It was Kosh that said jump not Dorien as Kosh was the bit of soul still stuck in sheridan

          3. Just Saying 132

            Re: Jump!

            Yes, it was Kosh who said, "Jump. Now!" If you recall, the Vorlon could "break off a piece of their consciousness" and place it in another individual so there was a piece of Kosh still alive in Sheridan at the time. It later had to be drawn out of him by Lorien to fight the not so nice Vorlon. (Sorry, I just got done watching the series. I have it on DVD.)

            1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

              Re: Jump!

              My use of the Kosh? should perhaps have been a !.

              The original intent was the moment when Sheridan wakes after having been linked with & while Kosh was being torn apart.

              Icon - As that's how the Vorlons are\like to be seen.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Might not be all positive press for MS

      "what backdoors will the Pentagon have demanded?"

      I would be highly surprised if they demanded any backdoors into their own system for which they have the front-door keys!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Might not be all positive press for MS

        >I would be highly surprised if they demanded any backdoors into their own system for which they have the front-door keys!

        But into any other systems.

        A suspicion of quid-pro-quo might go along with any order this big.

        Microsoft might turn over the keys to the Dems email server, while all Amazon could offer was Bernie's Christmas wish list

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Might not be all positive press for MS

      AFAIK the DoD system will be a separate cloud - it won't host someone else's machines too.

      And I'm quite sure the DoD also required for itself a version with its own backdoors removed....

  6. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    Legal action ?

    Will Amazon sue on the basis that Trump interfered with the bidding process ? They would appear to have a reasonable case.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Legal action ?

      ..Mattis, reportedly, did not follow the order and instead directed staff to decide the contract on its merits.

      Going by this, Amazon would have to prove that Trump by-passed Mattis.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Legal action ?

        When Bezos becomes the technology czar under some future democrat administration

  7. earl grey

    i'm just waiting

    to see if this gets the same care and feeding as win x (doesn't get).

  8. vtcodger Silver badge


    Is anybody around here actually familiar with what JEDI is supposed to do? I did some Googling and found lots of articles about the process of awarding the contract, but very little about what the $10B actually is to buy. The closest I could come was from the BBC

    The Department of Defense wants to replace its ageing computer networks with a single cloud system.

    Under the contract, Microsoft will provide artificial intelligence-based analysis and host classified military secrets among other services.


    It is hoped that Jedi will give the military better access to data and the cloud from battlefields.

    That looks to me to be quite nebulous. They're going to draft Clippy and send him off to fight ... Who? How? Why would anyone even think that might be a good idea? They are going to make battlespace management dependent on some sort of AI entity/entities at the end of a probably questionably reliable communications link?

    This sort of reminds me of the 1960s era USAF Automated Logistics System which managed to burn through $250M (big money back then -- a couple of billion in current dollars) on a poorly defined mission and ended up with pretty much nothing to show for it.

    I imagine that Microsoft will make money off this. But I wouldn't be shocked to find that in the long run there will be a lot of folks at MS who will end up wishing Amazon had been awarded the contract.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Been there, done all of that already long ago. Time to move on quickly into NEUKlearer Spaces

      Howdy, vtcodger,

      Do you see any difference and all of the similarities in what are certainly surely competitive contemporaries into Advanced Warefighting Experiments?

      A rhetorical question easily asked after reading .... They are going to make battlespace management dependent on some sort of AI entity/entities at the end of a probably questionably reliable communications link? and of its renegade rogue/private pirate parallel revealed here ...... Programs running changed worlds making Initial Connection with Quantum Communication Control Systems and introducing themselves to you here. Hi. What would you have AI and IT do for you too.

      Are you ready for Machines Broad Band Casting Virtually Anonymous Decisions with Future Paths Presented via Media for All to Follow …. and Witness/Experience?

      Welcome to the Experimental Augmenting Reality that are Live Operational Virtual Environments. .... Re: Secretive companies and Holy Orders ...... for they both say essentially practically the same virtual thing.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Whaaa?

      Is anybody around here actually familiar with what JEDI is supposed to do?

      It's the usual challenge with 'cloud' and users. Especially manglement users who see 'cloud' and want it because it's the latest buzz.

      Pragmatically, it should provide DoD customers with a catalogue service where they can order compute resources with pre-defined security templates, OSs* that the users can run their applications on. So basically outsourcing the need to procure, configure and house dedicated tin, and dedicated network capacity.

      *Probably also why MS won, because a lot of DoD users still want/need the regular business apps we all know and love. So standardising packages of plain'ol Windows and Office and deploying that. Amazon can do the compute part of the cloud, but would've still needed to buy MS licences.

    3. D@v3

      Re: Microsoft will provide artificial intelligence-based....

      Isn't that the plot for the new terminator movie...?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whaaa?

      I've followed this reasonably closely since 2012 when AWS/Google started to make significant in-roads into DoD IT infrastructure.

      Lets start with the simple stuff - this is not public cloud. It is a combination of GovCloud facilities meeting very stringent hosting requirements combined with specialist resources available only to parts of US government (i.e. as Google doesn't have full GovCloud acreditation, a lot of their facilities are basically dedicated solely to the NSA/DoD/CIA/NRO). This hosting model has been used by the DoD since the late 90's when they first started outsourcing data centre management so it is nothing new. The DoD has around 60 vendors managing more than 200 of these data centres and it is expensive.

      Where JEDI comes in is as a 3rd (possibly 4th) attempt at rationalising spending on these managed data centres. Previous attempts have been met by uncooperative vendors - yes they reduce costs, but then any changes cost significantly more leading to a higher overall spend. In 2012, Google and AWS were given small projects to start to develop the groundwork for JEDI - this involved reviewing and updating access, security and vendor demarcation for a large-scale multi-vendor outsourced hosting environment which became GovCloud. Note that AWS/Google were not the only participants in this process, but they initiated a lot of the early changes to allow the DoD to clean up what was arguably a multi-vendor security nightmare.

      Since GovCloud has been active, all existing vendors have had to bring their infrastructure up to the required level and it has been expensive for the DoD who have absorbed the cost of poor standards on the vendors side and poor contracts on the DoD side. Where possible, the DoD has been decommissioning data centres rather than bringing them up to GovCloud specs because they see a requirement for around 100 data centres in a model with a few large cloud providers, one data centre per state for low latency access to local resources and a few specialist data centres for projects such as the F35. All connectivity between DoD sites is via dedicated circuits and Internet access is only available via very tightly controlled locations. Just to restate - this is not public cloud.

      With the move to decommission data centres, A LOT of existing systems and the majority of new systems were moving into GovCloud hosting, particularly IBM/Oracle/AWS/Azure. The cost of this hosting is currently ~$1.5bn/year and growing at ~10% per year.

      To control this massive cost increase (, the JEDI contract was created - the intention is to avoid paying for 4 providers with significant geo-redundancy (DoD GovCloud requires East cost/West coast locations plus one other) and instead pay for one provider for a significant amount of contracted capacity at a flat rate of upto $1bn/year over 10 years. The key points are:

      - providers with existing facilities have a major advantage. This effectively limited JEDI to IBM/Oracle/AWS/Azure as Google does not have the accreditation and publicly withdrew from JEDI. I do not believe that IBM or Oracle have the necessary infrastructure to support JEDI requirements today.

      - any delays to the project start (i.e. waiting for vendors to acquire/build data centre space) would likely result in the DoD incurring significant operational costs as GovCloud spending continued to increase

      - it is estimated that more than half of existing GovCloud hosting is with AWS

      - rumours were that the larger plan was to distribute office tasks (O365 etc) to Azure GovCloud and other back office systems to AWS and there was evidence that this had been happening over recent years.

      - JEDI is the first contract, there are likely to be more, although whether the existing vendor will have an advantage is unclear.

      - JEDI is likely to result in faster decommissioning of legacy data centres as savings are sought. affecting a number of big military vendors. These vendors include IBM and Oracle and benefit from significant revenue from these, so a delayed migration is a bonus.

      While I can understand IBM/Oracle being unhappy at the tender favouring AWS and Azure, their tenders asked for a two year period to build out new infrastructure - something that would likely cost the DoD $1bn+ versus AWS/Azure who already had a significant presence in the right locations (basically Virginia plus a west coast locations with multiple availability zones and plans to expand to include a southern US location).

      In addition, following "old style Government contracts", Oracle and IBM expected the DoD to fork out around $200 million to develop the new facilities.

      I'm not entirely surprised that Azure got the contract given the issues raised and level it reached in the US Government, but I suspect it will make little real difference in the longer term as a JEDI2 run between AWS/IBM/Oracle/Google would likely see AWS win and avoid the DoD paying to move stuff between cloud providers with minimal cost savings (versus the cost savings of legacy to cloud migrations due to high overheads of running legacy DC's).

      TL;DR: DoD trying to save money. DoD wanted AWS, got Azure and its likely good enough to achieve what they wanted. Expect a sequel in coming years.

      1. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: Whaaa?

        "I've followed this reasonably closely since 2012 when AWS/Google started to make significant in-roads into DoD IT infrastructure. ..."

        Thanks -- vtc

  9. Mark 85 Silver badge

    For over 40 years, Microsoft has delivered innovative, proven and secure technologies to the US Department of Defense

    Now this was a surprise: "the innovative, proven and secure technologies" part. My BS meter went off the scale.

    On the other hand... is MS security better than AWS? Hmm.... <tosses coin in the air>

    1. Anonymous South African Coward

      "For over 40 years, Microsoft has delivered innovative, proven and secure technologies ....

      My BS meter just broke! I now have to procure a new one, and that's a real pain.

      Bah and humbug.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >For over 40 years, Microsoft has delivered innovative, proven and secure technologies

        Flight simulator

  10. sbt

    "... execution is important and I sure wouldn’t want to be that staff."

    Nor me. Well, you'd have to be pretty desperate to resort to execution as a way of motivating people, pour encourager les autres, but in this case I have no objection.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: "... execution is important and I sure wouldn’t want to be that staff."

      "The beatings will continue until morale improves"

  11. Julz

    Bye Big Red

    Well, unless Larry and his cohorts can do something different than they have been for the last few decades (don't hold your breath), their doomed I tell ya, doooomed...

  12. Lloyd

    Can anyone tell me

    Do I need to have watched Wrath of Kahn in order to understand the new Star War film?

    Full credit to the man previously known as Zowie.

  13. Zog_but_not_the_first

    The avalanche has already started

    It is too late for the pebbles to vote.

  14. big_D Silver badge

    40 years?

    For over 40 years, Microsoft has delivered innovative, proven and secure technologies to the US Department of Defense (DoD).

    So, they've never provided the DoD with Windows or Office then.

  15. fishman

    Rob Enderle

    Any article that uses quotes from Rob Enderle gets an automatic ignore by me.

  16. EnviableOne Silver badge

    All That for nothing

    the contract is only guarenteed for 2 years and $1million, admittedly DoD intend to spend atleast $210million in the first year, but whats the betting that under the new administration in 2021 they get AWS in and migrate everythign accross.

    Larry and IBM have lost out because they didnt get in on the ground or even 1st floor of Cloud, and their legacy infrastructure is what is getting replaced.

    Still i am supprise GCloud ddidnt make it to the final

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All That for nothing

      "Still i am supprise GCloud ddidnt make it to the final"

      Google withdrew from JEDI voluntarily after employees campaigned against DoD work.

      In addition, Googles hosting platform is only approved to FedRAMP moderate accreditation ( meaning that it is currently ineligible for general purpose DoD workloads requiring high level accreditation - there are naturally ways around this but they are treated on a case-by-case basis rather than being easily accessible.

  17. J. Cook Silver badge

    Came here for the 'B5 WTF?!?!' conversation, was not disappointed. A+++ EVERYONE.

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