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, sources told FCW.
Amazon officials would not confirm the existence of the contract, and a CIA spokesperson likewise declined to comment on the matter.
"As a general rule, the CIA does not publicly disclose details of our contracts, the identities of our contractors, the contract values, or the scope of work," a CIA spokesperson told FCW.
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.
The strategy's language suggests other intelligence agencies may benefit through shared information from the private cloud created through the CIA-Amazon deal.
Industry experts, while stressing that they were not privy to the deal's details, told FCW that such a move would be a "game-changer" in federal IT, and that it would show the CIA is acting intelligently with regards to emerging technologies and tightening budgets.
And Dave Powner, director of IT management issues at the Government Accountability Office, told FCW he was unfamiliar with the CIA-Amazon deal, but stated it would make sense – especially given spending cuts across the board at most agencies.