Cloud Computing

Amazon's other secret cloud win

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In mid-August, the Interior Department announced it had selected 10 vendors to carry out its Foundation Cloud Hosting Services contract, valued at up to $10 billion over the next decade. The announcement set off a storm of press releases and media attention.

Lost in the shuffle was that Amazon Web Services, the world's largest cloud service provider and an increasingly prominent player in the federal space, is not a prime on the contract but will be a partner or subcontractor in some capacity with half the vendors in the DOI deal.

The 10 contract awardees are Aquilent, AT&T, Autonomic Resources, IBM, CGI, GTRI, Lockheed Martin, Smartronix, Unisys and Verizon. Each stands to earn as much as $1 billion over the next decade from the deal.

FCW confirmed that AWS fits into the offerings of Aquilent, Autonomic Resources, Lockheed Martin, Smartronix and Unisys. Each partnership will be slightly different, but AWS clearly is positioned to get a piece of a potentially very large pie through the DOI deal.

Systems integrators Aquilent and Smartronix are AWS's premier consulting partners. Both companies partner with other cloud companies as well, but AWS's cloud platform will almost certainly figure into solutions they will offer DOI.

Autonomic Resources owns and operates its own cloud solution called ARC-P, and was the first to attain compliance with the Federal Risk Authorization and Management Program (FedRAMP), the federal government's standardized approach to cloud security assessments. But an official for the company said working with AWS positions them to integrate portions of AWS's technology into their solutions when beneficial to the customer, improving the final product. AWS achieved FedRAMP certification in May.

Lockheed Martin's SolaS cloud solution also has earned FedRAMP compliance, but per its plan to serve DOI as a broker, Lockheed Martin will provide AWS as one of its offerings. In that capacity, Lockheed Martin would select AWS when it is the optimal cloud for DOI's needs, based on factors like availability, security or duration.

Unisys, which captured the first task order under the contract -- a $44 million project to take Interior's financial and business management system to the cloud -- also confirmed its partnership with AWS.

There's no way to know exactly how much business AWS stands to gain – Amazon officials would not comment on the matter, and declined to speak on the record about why AWS chose not to bid directly on the DOI contract. But while AWS gets only a portion of the money that flows to any prime contractor, it is not subject to the $1 billion cap that applies to the primes.

AWS' secondary role in this public-sector cloud deal further signals its intent to secure federal business through a wide range of channels. AWS already counts 300 local, state and federal agencies as customers, and is engaged in a battle with IBM to build the Central Intelligence Agency's cloud infrastructure, which was one of the big DOI contract winners.

Given the barbs tossed between those two tech giants following a successful bid protest by IBM of AWS's $600 million contract with the CIA, and subsequent lawsuit filed by AWS, it should come as no surprise that the two firms will not be partnering on IBM's share of the Interior contract.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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