There has been an exponential rise in the adoption of cloud computing by private businesses over the past several years as they become more aware as well as appreciative of its benefits. This year, the public cloud market is expected to experience a 17.3 percent growth with an estimated total of $206.2 billion; this is markedly different from 2017 which had an estimated total of $175.8 billion and 2016 with a total of $145.3 billion.
Until recently, however, military as well as other government agencies did not utilize the cloud for any other services. Limited knowledge about cloud computing, security concerns, and the fear of loss of control were some of the reasons for the reluctance by government and military agencies to embrace the cloud. After these issues were addressed, government agencies became more comfortable with embracing cloud computing; in 2013, the CIA and other intelligence agencies offered Amazon Web Services (AWS) a $600 million contract to develop and maintain a private cloud for the exclusive use of the various United States intelligence agencies. In addition to the AWS private cloud, other government clouds are the milCloud and the Commercial Cloud Services contract which are two of the largest government clouds.
What Is The JEDI Contract
In 2018, the Department of Defense (DoD) requested that interested cloud service providers should submit their proposals for the complete transition of its IT services to the cloud. Known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI for short, this cloud would serve as the primary network infrastructure for the entire Department of Defense. Worth $10 billion over 10 years, the plan is to award the JEDI contract to a single cloud service provider who will be solely responsible for the development and maintenance of this private cloud network for the Department of Defense; this cloud is expected to cover both Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service cloud offerings. The winner of this contract will have the task of consolidating as well as modernizing the existing IT computing infrastructure into a single, highly secure, cloud umbrella.
Benefits Of JEDI
There are several benefits that the Department of Defense expects to reap from transitioning their network infrastructure to the cloud:
- Enhanced cybersecurity: One of the major challenges businesses and government agencies face is the shortage of skilled cybersecurity personnel. This shortage leaves these businesses and agencies ill-equipped to counter network threats and enhance the security of the network infrastructure. By contracting out its network infrastructure to a cloud vendor, the Department of Defense will no longer have the responsibility of securing the network; this will be handled by the selected cloud vendor who typically has more and better-skilled cybersecurity resources at its disposal.
- Information sharing: Once the private cloud has been fully developed, all data will be stored in a central location that can be accessed depending on each user’s rights and permissions. With a central storage location in the cloud, data can easily be shared with other users. At present, the lack of a central database for the Department of Defense means that data is fragmented and may not be easily shared.
- Access to cutting-edge technology: Since most up and coming technological advances such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Virtual Reality (VR) are cloud-based, they can be more easily adopted by the Department of Defense once the JEDI cloud is complete.
Current State Of Affairs
At present, a final decision has not been made regarding which cloud vendor will be awarded the $10 billion JEDI contract. When the contract was announced, interested vendors had a deadline of October 12 of last year to submit their bids. Some of the big-name vendors that expressed interest in the contract were Amazon, Microsoft, and Oracle. It has been speculated that AWS is currently positioned as the frontrunner to win the JEDI contract because until recently it has been the only cloud vendor with Impact Level 6 capabilities. Microsoft Azure also recently announced earlier this month that they will soon meet the requirements for the JEDI Contract, allowing two vendors who can fulfill the contract. Google, however, has since dropped out of the vendor-selection process over concerns centering on the department’s use of artificial intelligence.
For large enterprises such as the Department of Defense, engaging directly with the major cloud service vendors is not much of an issue when seeing to transition to the cloud. For small and medium-sized businesses, it is advisable to use the services of a cloud service broker; they serve as intermediaries to ensure that businesses get the cloud services optimal for their business needs. For more information about cloud service brokers and what we have to offer at DoubleHorn, contact us.