back to article Pentagon scraps $10bn JEDI winner-takes-all cloud contract

The Pentagon has killed off the $10bn JEDI IT contract that Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, and others spent years fighting over. The US government's Dept of Defense announced today the decade-long, single-vendor, winner-takes-all cloud deal would be scrapped. "With the shifting technology environment, it has become clear that the …

  1. Paul 33
    Coat

    Obligatory Star Wars MisQuote

    This is not the contract you were looking for....

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Obligatory Star Wars MisQuote

      My first thought too, quickly followed by "The Last of the Jedi"

    2. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Obligatory Star Wars MisQuote

      "I've got a bad feeling about this." Might be appropriate also.

    3. Mog_X

      Re: Obligatory Star Wars MisQuote

      Commander Cody, the time has come.

      Execute order 66

  2. UCAP Silver badge

    Oh no ...

    Amazon and Oracle have spent the last 2 years fighting to get the contract award overturned.

    MS will now spend the next 10 years fighting to get the contract cancellation revoked.

    It does not matter what you do, the lawyers will always win.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh no ...

      They may not always win, but they always turn a profit.

      Except those working for Trump, of course, I think he can only get any if he pays upfront now.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Oh no ...

        The Former Guy will no doubt be going ape shit about this, especially as his family is about to go down thanks to Manhattan District Attorney. Then it will be him for a jump suit to match his fake tan.

    2. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Oh no ...

      "MS will now spend the next 10 years fighting to get the contract cancellation revoked."

      I suspect that the MS folks will probably be way too busy padding the bill they will send the government for work already performed and for contract termination costs to waste effort trying to get the contract reinstated.

    3. HildyJ Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Oh no ...

      MS and AWS won't be in court, yet, but I assume Oracle's lawyers will sue within the week for being deemed unqualified. Again.

  3. Robert Grant Silver badge

    For once the most obvious outcome actually occurred

    Now get someone sensible to design a useful vendor-agnostic setup, and then get vendors to bid on that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: For once the most obvious outcome actually occurred

      Vendor agnostic == lowest common denominator. If you go down that route you may as well build your own infrastructure as you'll get a horrific pile of legacy and lose all the value of cloud

      1. Robert Grant Silver badge

        Re: For once the most obvious outcome actually occurred

        Lowest common denominator is pretty amazing these days. Postgres, Docker, Kubernetes, nginx, HAProxy, rabbitmq, Kafka, Hadoop? These are the technologies dreams are made of, unless you're a cloud provider looking to lock in the government forever.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: For once the most obvious outcome actually occurred

          Yeah, go back and read the earlier articles on this smorgasbord of FAIL. The whole point was to deploy a solution with particular requirements reasonably quickly, and at a reasonable price. Microsoft won because they met those requirements. Amazon and Oracle lost because they literally fought to have the requirements changed instead of delivering what was needed, among other very good reasons.

          This is nothing other than the egos of overfed swine trying to squeeze out a competitor from a feeding trough of government money. In a saner world Larry Ellison would be in jail and Oracle would be banned from government business for the systematic over billing and extortionate pricing of contracts the US taxpayer is stuck footing the bill for. Worst is that this was intended to address actual needs, and this fiasco has jammed up the works for what was to be a fast track project for a decade.

          1. Robert Grant Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: For once the most obvious outcome actually occurred

            I don't see why you think one competitor is better than another here. It's likely the Trump-Bezos feud is what got AWS replaced with Azure.

            But anyway. Your post reminds me that vendors don't just want technical lock-in. Emotional lock-in means you'll keep choosing them no matter what.

            Sherlock Holmes icon in lieu of Doctor Phil.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: For once the most obvious outcome actually occurred

          "Postgres, Docker, Kubernetes, nginx, HAProxy, rabbitmq, Kafka, Hadoop? These are the technologies dreams are made of..."

          Uhh, how many of those technologies have you designed, deployed, and supported through production at any kind of nontrivial scale? I believe I can answer yes on 5 of them and I'd characterise the experience as being more of a nightmare. nginx was the best, but that may have been because we weren't asking much of it; I think I only had to fix a few bugs to make it usable. rabbitmq and postgres, the less said the better. K8s, no. Just no.

          Maybe this was meant tongue in cheek?

        3. GraXXoR

          Re: For once the most obvious outcome actually occurred

          As Yoda would say, "Bunch of assorted technology does not a guaranteed solution make."

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: For once the most obvious outcome actually occurred

          "Postgres, Docker, Kubernetes, nginx, HAProxy, rabbitmq, Kafka, Hadoop? "

          Almost all of which require you, the customer, to have an infra team managing the legacy IaaS platform those things sit on top of. Replace Hadoop with Databricks and you gain a lot of efficiency for spark workloads because it's running as a service. Admittedly Azure has a managed Postgres, and maybe the others too, but could you guarantee that the versions are feature compatible? No, of course you can't, and neither can the cloud providers. That leave you installing it manually on a Linux VM at 8pm on a Friday while I'm out drinking because I decided to go with real cloud services and commit to vendor lock in in a good way.

          Sure, it's harder to leave, but that's not as hard as maintaining two or three clouds so the juice is worth the squeeze. Anyone telling you different doesn't understand the question.

          1. Robert Grant Silver badge

            Re: For once the most obvious outcome actually occurred

            I don't quite understand your point. Saying "use postgres" doesn't mean "don't use hosted postgres". Only mentioning Azure, and calling non-MS "legacy" presumably makes you a MS-specific person, but there's no need to be threatened by Postgres.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: For once the most obvious outcome actually occurred

              The point is that if you're managing your own system images and infrastructure then you've lost all of the value of cloud computing. All of the clouds have managed offerings, and generally those are incompatible so if you're going multi-cloud then by definition you'll be using IaaS and legacy architectures which increase operational costs and complexity.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: For once the most obvious outcome actually occurred

      useful vendor-agnostic setup

      A big problem with vendor-agnostic designs is that it makes it very easy to swap between vendors, and the vendors hate that. As a result they invariably implement the design (which tends to be lowest-denominator) as specified, and then add some "extensions" which make their solution more appealing to their customers, but which are of course incompatible with the additions from other vendors. The result is that the agnostic part is buried under a bunch of proprietary extensions which create the same vendor-lockin as before. Apple and Microsoft are past masters at the "embrace, extend" model.

      1. Robert Grant Silver badge

        Re: For once the most obvious outcome actually occurred

        I agree. But with $10b I think something could be done.

    3. Mage Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: For once the most obvious outcome actually occurred

      Perhaps Military IT shouldn't be outsourced at all.

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: For once the most obvious outcome actually occurred

        Because jarheads make the very best systems architects. (Said with much love for those who did not serve in the Chair Force.)

        Does the military build its own aircraft? Tanks? Guns? Shoes?

        A JEDI-like system is one of the most complex things on the planet. It's doubtful that the military even has the chops to properly spec out such a system. (A fact that Amazon attempted to exploit to lock up the contract.)

  4. martinusher Silver badge

    The government should own its own cloud

    Although its fashionable for governments to privatize and outsource there are core functions that cannot be left to a commercial provider. One important one is archiving, the preservation of information that's essentially the institutional memory of the country and its society. Since much of that storage is now in electronic form its important that governments control that storage and the infrastructure that serves it.

    Our (US) government already has a significant investment in storage and computing through the NSA. This organization is dedicated to the security of the country but has wildly misunderstood the nature of threats to our society. It expends enormous resources capturing and categorizing every iota of communication -- that is, spying on everything and anything -- but what it should be doing is developing secure archiving for not just the government but for all of us. (It, along with the CIA, should also be taking a proactive role against malware instead of trying to develop it in the hope it could be weaponized against an adversary.)

    We're learning the hard way that the price of convenience (which turns out to be not that cheap anyway) is a lack of resilience.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The government should own its own cloud

      There's an idea: free cloud storage from the US Government. Call it "drive.gov".

      Of course they'll probably hire a former Microsoft Azure exec to run it, so uptime will definitely be a problem.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The government should own its own cloud

      It has several. Not everyone can or wants to use them for every project though.

    3. Anon

      Re: The government should own its own cloud

      I thought that the government was meant to be the consolidation and supplying of the people's requirements, for the benefit of the people. (And the people include those suppliers.)

    4. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: The government should own its own cloud

      But then they wont be able to receive "benefits" from contractors whikst simukataneouksy bunging their mates lots of dosh.

  5. Dwarf Silver badge

    Clouded their judgement was.

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Every Cloud has a Silver Lining they say.

    Who would deny that is an AWEsome opportunity for some folk ..... who both know what they are doing and how to do it with IT Command and Control and what needs to be done. Default on any of those requirements and failure is guaranteed ... swifter than a speeding bullet :-)

  7. Franco Silver badge

    The Pentagon

    You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: The Pentagon

      > You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.

      While I understand the sentiment wrt the goverment, in the context of this article, that quote would be better applied to the cloud providers:

      PHB: "Let's do a request for tender for cloud services, send it to the usual big cloud providers"

      BOFH: "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious."

  8. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Who's got a bigger lawyer?

    At this point it is a lawyer size contest.

    If you are a smaller player, better not submit as that will attract a swarm of lawyers willing to penetrate your bank accounts!

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Who's got a bigger lawyer?

      You mean its a case of Willy Waving?

  9. Omnipresent

    Biden seems to be downsizing

    Biden, and the US, may be trying to cost cut after pulling from Afghanistan in the middle of the night, and selling off its hi tech fighter jets. I think they are looking for revenue sources, and the military spending is being downsized a little. JMO

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Biden seems to be downsizing

      I suspect that Biden is going to be rifling through the couch cushions for every thin dime that can be freed up, but the sales of the F-35 aren't a big part of that. We will sell the damn things to almost anyone at this point, in the hopes of staving of the probably inevitable death spiral of the old flying turkey.

      Every sale to a current(and perhaps soon to be former) ally offsets some of the planes the US government is forced to buy on their own dime. Planes that still don't meet the basic airworthiness and performance requirements of their specifications and contract. They never will. It was never designed to deliver on it's promises, it's just a bottomless pit designed to siphon off budget from the DOD.

      Sadly, when bad actor vendors will happily cripple projects like JEDI even when their bids lose on their merits, it makes it hard to hold down costs or get anything done. So we will blunder into our next conflict under prepared and with less resources than we should.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Biden seems to be downsizing

        "Sadly, when bad actor vendors will happily cripple projects like JEDI even when their bids lose on their merits, it makes it hard to hold down costs or get anything done.

        Perhaps, if those bad actors spent less on litigation and more time as well as money, on ensuring the quality of their output, everyone would be happier.

        As it is, I suspect they will milk any contracts they do win, until the cash cows are dried and wizened.

        I would like to be a fly on the wall at Oracle right now!

    2. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Biden seems to be downsizing

      Its about time the USA stopped throwing away money on so called Defence, when the true term is Offence.

      When was the last time anyone invaded the USA? "December 7, 1941"

      How many countries has the USA invaded or infiltrated in some way since ten?

      1949 Syrian coup d'état

      1949–1953 Albania

      1951–56 Tibet

      1953 Iranian coup d'état

      1954 Guatemalan coup d'état

      1956–57 Syria crisis

      1960 Congo coup d'état

      1961 Cuba, Bay of Pigs Invasion

      1961 Dominican Republic

      1963 South Vietnamese coup

      1964 Bolivian coup d'état

      1964 Brazilian coup d'état

      1966 Ghana coup d’état

      1967 US manufactured coup in Greece

      1971 Bolivian coup d'état

      1970–73 Chile

      1980 Turkish coup d'état

      1979–89 Afghanistan, Operation Cyclone

      1980 -1988 material support for Iraq against Iran

      1981–87 Nicaragua, Contras

      1996 Iraq coup attempt

      2001 Afghanistan

      2011 Libyan civil war

      2011–present Syria

      IRA

      1. Millwright
        Mushroom

        Re: Biden seems to be downsizing

        You missed (doubtless among others but I have reasons for remembering this one):

        Grenada 1983

        1. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: Biden seems to be downsizing

          Thanks for that one, now included, and you are probably correct but I cba to look. What I like are the downvotes because it proves quite a few people can't stand facts and the truth.

          I get the same from Flat Earth cultists, AGW deniers and Creationists who are all basically the same in that they are biblical literalists and mainly 'Muricans i.e. not all Americans.

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It could give them an opportunity to carve off a couple of small bits for the losers, rather like leaving an unloved child a shilling in the will. It stops them complaining they were overlooked.

  11. Mr Booth
    Joke

    Obligatory B5 misquote

    "And so it begins....again." Kosh (the good one)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obligatory B5 misquote

      Microsoft or AWS?

      "Yes"

      Oracle?

      "You do not understand. Go."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obligatory B5 misquote

      Mr Morden to all of them.

      "What do you want?"

      1. Ordinary Donkey

        Re: Obligatory B5 misquote

        Waves

        1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: Obligatory B5 misquote

          That scene had the potential to be perhaps the best ever. Unfortunately, the multi-season gap between the setup and delivery meant that the director felt compelled to add the flashback. I mean, I get it from a marketing/pr perspective, but it destroyed the art of that moment.

  12. John Savard Silver badge

    Reflection

    Comparing SQL Server from Microsoft to the serious and professional databases from Oracle and IBM, the idea that Microsoft and Amazon were competent to provide what the Pentagon needed but Oracle and IBM were not struck me as ludicrous.

    But if it was clear that what the Pentagon was a buzzword-compliant cloud thingy, which Microsoft and Amazon tried to offer, while Oracle and IBM were instead trying to flog off their old-fashioned on-prem traditional database technology, they got what they deserved, right?

    After that though struck me, though, another one came along. What if what Oracle and IBM were offering was something that would actually meet the operational requirements... and something using the new cloud style technology could not meet them or be made secure given the state of the fancy new cloud stuff now or in the foreseeable future?

    Then it's the Pentagon that's getting what it deserves for turning up its nose at what would work from Oracle and IBM.

    1. ST Silver badge

      Re: Reflection

      > Comparing SQL Server from Microsoft to the serious and professional databases from Oracle and IBM [ ... ]

      DOD wasn't looking to buy database licenses. I am quite certain they already have plenty of those.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Upside

    On the upside, Oracle are still not allowed to play. I look forward to seeing Larry Ellison explode, Mr Creosote style.

    1. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

      Re: Upside

      Is his cloud 'wafer thin'?

  14. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Coat

    Someone is not getting their uber mega-yatch this Christmas.

  15. aldolo

    is the new wikileaks?

    all us army documents in the cloud. what could go wrong???

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: is the new wikileaks?

      Don't forget, the New Cloud™ is on prem rented servers at a premium.

      So the DoD will get the best of both worls; in house servers but no control over them.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    D'oh! Could have seen this coming

    Then: Uncle Sam decides to give out a TEN YEAR contract for services in the fast-moving technology environment.

    Now: "With the shifting technology environment, it has become clear that the JEDI Cloud contract, which has long been delayed, no longer meets the requirements to fill the DoD’s capability gaps,"

    In the words of Homer Simpson: "D'oh!". It didn't take a genius to work out that even 'back then' technology changes fast, so the capacity for change should be built in... eejits, the lot of them.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Spin

      More likely it's all spin for DoD to save face. Avoids them admitting they didn't specify the contract properly in the first place.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Spin

        You mean admit Trump pressured them?

      2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: Spin

        That's because AWSers were writing the spec, remember?

  17. steviebuk Silver badge

    And the lawyers win

    Whoever gets the next contract, the other will argue over it and sue.

    Why does The Register, keep randomly signing me out!

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: "randomly signing me out"

      It's a hint.

      Pretty soon the fire pole will stop working and the robot dog (Spot perhaps) will start growling at you.

      Mine's the one with the book in the pocket.

  18. IanRS

    Indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity

    The supplier does not know when they will deliver and the customer does not know what they want.

    So, a standard government contract then.

  19. Return To Sender

    Yeah, sure...

    > Microsoft focused "on our customer, and not politics or litigation,"

    Amazing how virtuous you can be when you won the damn contract. Bet you many $ that had the contract gone the other way there'd still be the litigation, just with a different name attached. sed 's/Amazon and Oracle/Microsoft/g'

  20. luis river

    to considerer

    Great error by government on had two or more software suppliers, the fierce competition between them to decrease security and deep soft compatibility, is more efectiveness and easy the hard control, suggestion and supervision of an unique supplier source.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

    Hasnt Jeff Bezos just stepped down from Amazon and then this happens, call me suspicious but is it a coincidence?

  22. tekHedd

    Sideburns

    What I hate about the Star Trek stock image is that the sideburns are wrong. Season 1/2 sideburns should be concave towards the ear, not convex. They made them flat in season 3 out of laziness, and only became convex in TNG.

    Sideburns are important.

  23. Omgwtfbbqtime
    Facepalm

    IDIQ?

    Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity -

    Would anyone care to wager that there will be a fundamental difference between what the Pentagon thinks this means and what the vendors will apply to the contract?

  24. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Happy

    Simply Business

    Jeff Bezos always knew that ousting Trump via his Washington Post would pay off big time.

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