Penguin: The CIA About To Sign $600 Million Deal With Amazon — Six Years After Robert Steele Proposed Amazon as the Hub for (an Open) World Brain

Advanced Cyber/IO, Architecture, Cloud, Government
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The CIA Is About To Sign A Game-Changing $600 Million Deal With Amazon

The CIA is on the verge of signing a cloud computing contract with Amazon, worth up to $600 million over 10 years, reports Frank Konkel at Federal Computer Week.

If the details about this deal are true, it could be a game-changer for the enterprise cloud market.

That’s because Amazon Web Services will help the CIA build a “private cloud” filled with technologies like big data, reports Konkel, citing unnamed sources.

The CIA is pretty closed-lipped about its business, as spies are apt to be. This is no exception. It won’t confirm the deal or comment on it, so details are sketchy. But the contract is expected to be for a “private” cloud, which is not what AWS is known for.

AWS is the largest “public” cloud provider. In general, the term “private cloud” means using cloud computing technologies in a company’s own data center. Public clouds are in hosted facilities, where the hardware is shared with many users. Sharing the hardware saves money.

Amazon hasn’t been very interested private clouds. Years ago, it even argued against them.  If companies want private clouds based on Amazon’s tech, they often go to startups like Eucalyptus Systems.

Amazon’s approach has been its “Virtual Private Cloud.” This still uses hardware hosted by Amazon, but adds extra security to make it behave more like a private datacenter.

If Amazon were really to enter the private cloud business, this could be a big threat to VMware and Citrix, the two biggest players in this market. (Also to HPIBMCisco, and other hardware vendors pushing private clouds.)

Whether Amazon has had a massive change of heart about private clouds or not, gaining the CIA as a customer is a major coup. Competitors like IBM, HP, and Rackspace say their clouds are more reliable and far more secure than Amazon’s.

Looks like the CIA disagrees.

Related:

CIA’s Gus Hunt On Big Data: We ‘Try To Collect Everything And Hang Onto It Forever’ — And a Few Things He Does Not Compute

Phi Beta Iota:  CIA has made a good choice with Amazon and is certainly wise to avoid Google.  The other options are not even close — and that is just from a technical point of view.  From a structured content point of view, Amazon is the only real deal on the planet, in the English language, that offers CIA a foundation for a World Brain and Global Game.  The chances that the CIA Open Source Center (OSC) might actually be thinking about this are remote, but if, per chance, they are actually thinking about leveraging Amazon to create open source councils across every topic, then CIA merits vastly more credit for this decision than those in the technical world can appreciate.  The private cloud is typical CIA, what they really should be doing is creating an M4IS2 cloud, but that can come later.  If this is a baby step into the future for CIA, it is a very good one.

See Also:

2007 Amazon as Hub of World Brain