CIA reportedly makes $600M deal with Amazon to build cloud computing system

amazon-annoucement-stageAccording to a recently published report at Federal Computer Week, a website that breaks news on “the business of federal technology,” Amazon might be working on a private cloud infrastructure for a very big client. Amazon has reportedly been granted a $600 million contract from the CIA that will have the company working for the intelligence agency for more than 10 years. 

Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) are known for hosting the Web-based tools of a lot of well-known websites including Netflix, Pinterest, Foursquare, and Reddit, which is why cloud outages involving these companies are almost always big news. In 2011, many websites hosted on AWS were left only partially functional for days, and in January of this year, Amazon had to apologize for a Netflix outage that happened on Christmas Eve of 2012. AWS is a public cloud service provider, and using the service itself goes against everything we know about the secretive organization. The private cloud that Amazon is making for the CIA, however, will be protected by the intelligence agency’s firewall. 

The CIA predictably refused to comment about its supposed deal with the e-commerce company, so we still don’t know if the agency’s having the infrastructure built for a specific purpose. Up until now, the agency has been using small-scale private cloud infrastructures built by other companies, but Amazon’s technology might have paved the way for the agency to expand its private cloud at a much more affordable price.

Dave Powner, the Government Accountability Office’s director of IT management issues, told FCW that he’s unaware of the alleged contract, but that he thinks it makes sense. He told FCW that “in times of reducing budget situations you would expect to see agencies that haven’t considered cloud solutions extensively in the past would be looking more and more of doing something along those lines.” So, although it’s still not confirmed, it seems reasonable that Amazon could be in cahoots with the CIA. What do you think?

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