Cloud News

The 10 Biggest Cloud Computing News Stories Of 2020 (So Far)

Donna Goodison

CRN breaks down the top cloud news midway through the year—from coronavirus-fueled cloud spending to cloud leaders decrying racial injustice to the explosion of cloud-based videoconferencing.

10. JEDI Controversy Continues

The controversy surrounding the U.S. Department of Defense’s award of the potentially $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud computing contract to Microsoft last October continued through the first half of 2020.

The latest salvos came last month, when Microsoft Corporate Communications Vice President Frank Shaw wrote a blog asking rival Amazon Web Services to “stand down” from its litigation and protest of the commercial cloud transformation contract.

AWS, which was considered a favorite to win the contract, filed a lawsuit in November, alleging President Donald Trump politically interfered in the contract deliberations due to his "disdain" for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post. AWS is seeking court-ordered depositions of Trump and U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

“… The Department of Defense’s decision to source a Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract to deliver the latest advancements in enterprise cloud could be a great step forward,” Shaw wrote. “But only if Amazon gets out of the way.”

AWS had filed “yet another protest” about Microsoft’s win with the Department of Defense, which Shaw characterized as “likely yet another attempt to force a redo, because they bid high and lost the first time.” AWS said it’s seeking clarity on how DOD officials are amending a request for proposal (RFP) that a federal judge found deficient on at least one factor related to how source-selection was evaluated for the JEDI initiative.

“The only thing that’s certain about Amazon’s new complaint is that it will force American warfighters to wait even longer for the 21st century technology they need—perpetuating Amazon’s record of putting its own interests ahead of theirs,” Microsoft’s Shaw wrote.

AWS responded with its own blog post by Drew Herdener, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide communications, who said AWS wouldn’t back down.

“We don’t think the JEDI award was adjudicated fairly, we think political interference blatantly impacted the award decision, and we’re committed to ensuring the evaluation receives a fair, objective and impartial review,” he wrote. “To be clear, we won’t back down on this front regardless of whether Microsoft chooses to try to bully its way to an unjust victory. We also won’t allow blatant political interference or inferior technology to become an acceptable standard. We have great respect and admiration for those who serve and are honored to support the DoD, but we will not sit idle nor apologize for doing what we believe is right, fair and just.”

In February, Judge Patricia E Campbell-Smith, who sits on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, ordered Microsoft not to move forward with task orders and implementation of the cloud transformation initiative, citing a deficiency in Microsoft’s nearline storage capabilities. Campbell-Smith gave the DOD 120 days to further look into Amazon’s complaints about the evaluation of six technical criteria in the JEDI source-selection process. The DOD subsequently amended the RFP, but the changes were not made public.

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