DoD thinks it chose one cloud vendor for JEDI. Did it actually?

November 01 2019

After months of drama, the U.S. Department of Defense decided last week to choose Microsoft as the solitary cloud vendor for its $10 billion JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) project. This despite having previously endorsed a multi-cloud strategy.

After months of drama, the U.S. Department of Defense decided last week to choose Microsoft as the solitary cloud vendor for its $10 billion JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) project. This despite having previously endorsed a multi-cloud strategy.

At face value, a one-vendor cloud strategy makes sense for DoD: one highly-professional, well-vetted vendor; one cloud; one set of protocols, programs, and drivers; one address for security; one support hotline; etc.

Certainly, history has taught us the pitfalls of a one-vendor strategy. Yet, existing and emerging cloud technology and business models teach us something different: choosing one vendor today may not mean what it used to.

Welcome Back, Vendor Lock-In?

Vendor lock-in has a bad name, and organizations of all sizes – from the private and public sectors - have been fleeing in terror from it for years.

Especially in government contracts, which are always notoriously sticky, stories abound of the evils of vendor lock-in. Take for example the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which was paying £1.3m per year for over two million individual employee licenses for Oracle - when it actually had only 10,000 employees.

In the cloud too, vendor lock-in has been recognized as poor practice to such an extent that risk mitigation departments in major financial services companies, for example, simply will not allow it. New applications brought online in these organizations must be proven to run in multiple cloud environments before they are approved.

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