Amazon’s CIA Cloud – Cloud Privacy In Question Again3 min read
Amazon is contemplating building a private cloud for the CIA. This has got a lot of tongues wagging and has created quite a buzz about Amazon Web Service Plan. Does this mean Amazon Web Service is recanting on its vehement stance of private clouds being senseless?
The answer to that question depends on how a private cloud is defined and perceived. AWS was questioned about rumors that it’s constructing data centers outside of USA specifically for use by government agencies. No official reply was issued from Amazon. However, it was made obvious that Amazon has GovCloud and FinQloud which are categorized as community clouds. These clouds can be customized and built for groups or organizations that have very specific requirements.
Wired magazine’s Cade Metz analyzing the statement came to the conclusion that there’s a significant difference between GovCloud and AWS can achieve for CIA. GovCloud and FinQloud would both be housed in AWS data centers, on the contrary CIA cloud would be on premises in CIA data centers. This seriously puts the current definition of private cloud in question. The management side would be dealt with by AWS but what about where the cloud is actually housed? Would it still be categorized under private cloud or would it fall under the public cloud class?
AWS rationale behind it seems to be that when a company manages and has ownership of the hardware and software, it can be termed as a private cloud irrespective of where it’s housed. Such a configuration cannot be classified under public cloud category. Moreover, it also does not fully qualify as AWS “community cloud” segment, since those clouds have multiple tenants. This cloud setting is akin to managed private cloud services that vendors like Rackspace are offering.
The common perception is that AWS is just mincing words to avail this unique opportunity which is simply irresistible. The cost projection of this project is around $600 million after ten years and it will also come accompanied with other benefits. Some industry experts are of the opinion that CIA contract if bestowed upon AWS would play an instrumental role in resolving security concerns which most companies have while signing up with AWS. If a hyper sensitive organization like CIA sees it fit to place their trust in AWS, most enterprises would follow suit.
If the CIA cloud deal materializes it will herald the coming of more creative cloud architectures from AWS. It’s guaranteed that AWS would ride the success of CIA cloud and offer similar private clouds for other government agencies and enterprise clientele. However, many large scale enterprise customers might lay down specific conditions before hosting their significant applications onto AWS. Those specific terms would mostly be data location, security, uptime etc. Private clouds are ideal for such and make it all more appealing.
Amazon is now very keen to transcend from hosting startups and forge deals with enterprises. Being accommodative and adopting a flexible approach like they have for CIA cloud might just do that for them. CIA cloud would be first but certainly not the last of its kind of cloud architecture that we can expect from AWS.