UPDATED 12:30 EDT / AUGUST 08 2018


Oracle formally challenges the Pentagon’s controversial $10B cloud contract

Oracle Corp. has filed a formal protest against the Pentagon’s $10 billion JEDI cloud contract in a bid to change the structure of the controversial project.

The complaint, reports of which emerged late Tuesday, focuses on the government’s plans to award the deal to a single company. Oracle is pushing for JEDI to be revised so that the project will be split up among providers. Other cloud  players including Microsoft Corp. have also come out against the winner-take-all format.

Notably absent from the list of the detractors is Amazon Web Services Inc., which is widely perceived as the front-runner for JEDI. This is what stands at the center Oracle’s push to change the deal.

The company’s 40-page complaint lays out a detailed case against the current single-provider approach. For starters, Oracle argues that the structure of JEDI “virtually assures” the Pentagon will be locked into a single platform for an extended period of time. The contract is slated to run for up to 10 years and cover all branches of the U.S. military across multiple classification levels.

“DoD is a complex, heterogeneous computing environment driven by unique (in many cases, non-commercial) requirements for security, scalability, performance, and government-specific purpose built features,” Oracle’s complaint reads. “Standardizing on a single cloud today makes no more sense than standardizing on a single on premise computing architecture decades ago.”

Another element of Oracle’s argument is that awarding the project to one company would run afoul of best practices. In particular, the company pointed to regulations that call on government procurement officials to prioritize a multiprovider approach with certain types of contracts.

Oracle’s complaint goes on to say that JEDI “falls far from meeting the rigorous legal standards required” for a winner-takes-all deal. The company wrote that the government is required to clearly define the tasks to be done and break down the costs, criteria which it argues haven’t been fulfilled. Oracle said the rapid evolution of the cloud computing landscape makes it impossible to establish prices in advance.

The company has already scored one victory its efforts to prevent AWS from nabbing  the entire JEDI contract. A complaint filed by Oracle earlier this year led the Pentagon to cancel a $950 million cloud migration deal that had been awarded to AWS partner Rean Cloud LLC. Rean, which last month got acquired by Hitachi Ltd., was seen as too close to the cloud giant.

The DoD, meanwhile, continues to stand by JEDI’s single-provider structure. It argues that bringing multiple providers into the fold would prolong bidding and increase management complexity, raising costs in the process. But the Pentagon has also acknowledged the benefits of a multicloud approach, saying that it plans to use several different platforms as part of its broader technology roadmap.

Photo: gregwest98/Flickr

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