CIA signs onto the Cloud – Amazon provides the juice!

In a move sure to send ripples through the federal IT community, FCW has learned that the CIA has agreed to a cloud computing contract with electronic commerce giant Amazon, worth up to $600 million over 10 years.

Amazon Web Services will help the intelligence agency build a private cloud infrastructure that helps the agency keep up with emerging technologies like big data in a cost-effective manner not possible under the CIA’s previous cloud efforts…

Amazon officials would not confirm the existence of the contract, and a CIA spokesperson likewise declined to comment on the matter…

CIA Chief Technology Officer Gus Hunt would not respond to FCW’s questions about the Amazon deal, but did drop the firm’s name in relation to software procurement during a conference…in February. Hunt was quoted by Reuters as saying, “Think Amazon – that model really works,” regarding the purchasing of software services on a “metered” basis for which Amazon is well-known for. Hunt has also spoken publicly in the past about the potential for leveraging public cloud infrastructure for non-classified information.

Historically, the CIA’s cloud computing strategy centered on a number of smaller, highly specific private clouds. While the full scope of its current contract with Amazon is not yet clear, it is likely this contract essentially brings a public cloud computing environment inside the secure firewalls of the intelligence community, thereby negating concerns of classified data being hosted in any public environment.

I wonder if they ever discuss policy, strategy and tactics. After all, the CIA stands to the Left of Jeff Bezos. :)

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