Page 22 - FCW, September 15, 2016
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MARCH 2013
In 2013, FCW reported that the CIA had signed a cloud computing contract with e-commerce giant Amazon worth as much as $600 million over 10 years.
The deal, which had survived months of protests by rival IBM, marked a watershed moment in overcoming agency reluctance to consider cloud technology for sensitive and mission-critical systems.
In fact, the CIA’s aim was to collect information in a private cloud behind an intelligence community firewall where it could be preserved forever.
“The value of any piece of informa- tion is only known when you can con- nect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time,” CIA Chief Technology Officer Gus Hunt said at the time. “Since you can’t connect dots you don’t have, it drives us into a mode of... fundamentally \[trying\] to collect every- thing and hang on to it forever.”
The project also provided a refer- ence model for other agencies looking for ways to bring their operational data into the cloud. That’s been the case for members of the intelligence community, the group of 17 agencies for which the CIA has helped manage the Amazon Web Services acquisition.
Last summer, National Security Agency officials said the new cloud infrastructure was already helping intel- ligence agencies smooth the transition from older legacy systems, making them easier to secure.
The project went live in August 2014, and industry experts say its success so far will encourage other agencies to forge new cloud partnerships.
“They will say, ‘Well, if the security and performance \[are\] good \[enough\] for the CIA, then it’s probably good enough for us,’” Andy Jassy, senior vice president of Amazon Web Services, told Fortune magazine. n
There could have been far more than six watershed stories on this list, of course. Back in June 1989, for example, FCW might well have been the first publication to report on a commercial application running on the internet. And a case can be made that the Desktop IV procurement in 1991 marked the beginning of category management and the government’s attempts to take advantage of its consolidated IT buying power.
We’re confident that 30 years from now, the six stories above will still be central to federal IT. But we’d love to hear what readers think we overlooked. So if there’s a moment that looms large in your memory, please let us know at
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