Oracle Lodges Formal Protest Over Pentagon Cloud Contract


Oracle has long been steaming about the Pentagon's looming multi-billion-dollar cloud computing contract, and weeks into the bidding process the company has filed a formal complaint with the federal government.

The software giant is challenging the winner-take-all nature of JEDI, a massive initiative to modernize IT resources by migrating the military to public cloud infrastructure. Oracle has argued the RFP appears crafted to give Amazon Web Services a leg up in the bidding process.

Oracle has led a coalition of tech vendors in voicing opposition to awarding the contract to a single provider, and on Monday officially filed a bid protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

[Related: AWS CEO Jassy Pledges 'Very Competitive' Bid in Jedi Pentagon Contract]

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The JEDI program is expected to amount to $10 billion over 10 years.

The Pentagon confirmed a single award last month, despite vocal pushback from across the industry.

In May, military leaders defended that plan.

A coalition of tech giants has gelled around Oracle's protest, including Microsoft and IBM, two of Amazon's most-prominent cloud rivals, as well as hardware giants Dell and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

The Information Technology Industry (ITI) Council's IT Alliance for Public Sector, a consortium that's comprised of all the cloud providers involved in the dispute, has argued a multi-cloud approach would adhere to best practices for ensuring price competitiveness and avoiding vendor lock-in.

At a media event at Oracle headquarters in May, Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd vowed Oracle would be "very active" in the bidding process once the final RFP is released.

"I think it would only make sense for the government to leverage its installed base … I'm sure they will do it fairly on who can bring the government the furthest along, modernize and certainly at the same time save them money," Hurd said.

Heather Babb, a Department of Defense spokesperson, told CRN via email that while the JEDI Cloud is a full and open competition that will result in a single-award contract, it does not preclude multiple vendors from participating in the project.

"Multiple vendors may form a partnership and offer a solution to compete for the single-contract award. Extensive market research has shown that multiple vendors are capable of meeting the requirements of the department," Babb wrote.

"The JEDI Cloud is a critical first step toward an enterprise cloud solution that enables data-driven decision making and allows DOD to take full advantage of applications and data resources. While JEDI Cloud is an initial step toward a department-wide cloud solution, DOD will continue to operate in a multi-cloud environment due to diverse mission needs," she wrote.