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Court rules against Oracle in Pentagon 'war cloud' litigation (thehill.com)
117 points by anigbrowl 6 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 63 comments

> Oracle’s cloud infrastructure 2.0 provides significant performance and security capabilities over legacy cloud providers

"Legacy" cloud providers. Nice try...

On a more serious note: has anyone used Oracles cloud offerings? I've heard they are very sub-par.

Yeah, used it in a PoC in the past (because it was supposed to be either equal to AWS but cheaper or better but equal cost; spoiler: it was neither). Problems are mostly bad integration and older style integration where it exists (think: older API types, very little code generation, unpolished SDK, mostly targeted at integrating with their own non-cloud stuff). Performance was not so bad, but equal performance somehow always came at a higher cost when compared to AWS or Google Cloud (did no comparison with Azure, wasn't used in that case). Not super much, think 1.2x, but enough to make you scratch your head and wonder if the extra effort for something that isn't making developers happy is worth it. The only thing that in some constructions was cheaper was their database offering, but when you build something that needs to work in a cloud, the same effort (depending on your own control of the stack) can be put in to making it work with Postgres. That's mostly because older style database-driven applications expect 1ms latency and less, and you simply can't do that over the internet or with a layered construction in a cloud. If you were migrating local oracle workloads to a hosted oracle setup (i.e. their cloud instead of an MSP) it would make sense. Otherwise not really.

One reason we take into account that others might not: our developers and ops simply don't "like" oracle. Doesn't really matter why, because the portion of people that don't like it is large enough that we'd rather spend more to make our teams work well vs. save a few pennies and make them work with sub-par tooling. Unhappy and unproductive teams costs money too.

At a previous company they used the Oracle SOA middleware. They suggested using one of their cloud APIs so we could use REST to connect to my app. The Oracle team sold it to them and then said it was at end of life 6 months later after they built stuff.

Having personally worked on the “classic” infrastructure at Oracle, it was a complete disaster. The end user experience is also what I’d imagine a cloud service would have been like circa 1995

The “new” stuff is better in comparison but that’s really just damning with faint praise.

In working with city governments, we occasionally run into their "cloud SOAP apis"...

Oh, SOAP, that bastion of high performance and improved efficiency.

I have no love for Oracle, but I do question the wisdom of awarding such a massive contract to a single supplier.

We have one branch of government that pursues companies for anti-trust, while another branch helps those companies cement their monopoly...

I work for a gambling company and the bet-pool/wager-resolution process happens with another company category called a 'tote'. For 49 of the US states we work with one particular company because we've identified them as being overall more competent and accurate. For the remaining state, regulations require that we work with a company with a 'local presence' in the state. There's only one company that fits that boundary, and they are somewhat awful to deal with. Not only do they constantly have problems, but they're not very responsive with business interactions. A good portion of our application infrastructure is dedicated to just handling the special case for this one state.

The state thinks it's doing good by forcing a monopoly for this one company with 'local presence', but the hilarious thing is that the company is HQ in Europe somewhere, and our preferred partner is actually US based.

What state if you dont mind me asking?

New Jersey. There's a long running joke that it's an interference point for the Mob.

Is it possible for you to share the state that does this?

I agree that a single supplier is always bad. It is basically walking into a customer lock-in situation.

However, among the major cloud computing providers Amazon is definitely one of the best in terms of offerings, maturity, and stability. Microsoft is not far behind Amazon, but I do not have any experience using Azure to know how it compares.

For "military-grade" cloud computing, I would choose Amazon.

I agree, but under the condition that controls and governance are put into place that ensure the DoD builds their infrastructure and applications in a way that allows them to move to another provider with little friction (this is less about being multi cloud and more about ensuring that the technology choices you make don't marry you to the provider).

We should not be headed down a path where AWS becomes "too big to fail" or considered a systemically important institution (for obvious reasons). Today's underdog is tomorrow's incumbent.

Pretty sure that is not possible because if this contract is anything like the previous 2 that AWS has won, they will literally be building entire airgapped datacenters for the government full of their custom server designs running all of their custom cloud software. You're not going to be able to just uninstall dynamodb, EBS, or S3 from the datacenter servers and expect to be able to spin up one of Azures or GCPs matching service using the same hardware.

Why would you not expect to be able to port your data and applications to another cloud provider? They all can run x86 virtual machines, they all can store data on iSCSI equivalents (EBS) or in object stores. No one is writing custom code to run on custom hardware at cloud providers (except perhaps to optimize for specific hardware extensions, GPUs, etc).

Sure you can probably port your code over just fine, but it's going to take 3 years for another cloud provider to build an entire airgapped datacenter and launch each internal service in it. Considering the CIAs 600 million dollar contract got an entire one dedicated for them, I wouldn't be surprised if this contract which goes up to 10 billion dollars ended up involving multiple new regions. As I said, another cloud provider won't be able to simply just take over those datacenters and install their software, they'll probably have to build their own airgapped datacenters which will take years.

So no, there is no way it's going to be easy for them to port over to another cloud provider.

If the DoD makes it a requirement that a new service provider can take ownership of the physical facility and it’s contents, a new provider could most certainly assume responsibility for the cloud system. It’s a contractual issue, not a technical issue, no different than China requiring AWS’ China data center region be operated by a Chinese company versus AWS proper.

I've worked for multiple major cloud providers and I assure you that launching the dependency chain to get most cloud services in production for 1 region takes 6 months minimum (they have entire teams dedicated to launching regions). That is after building the datacenter (years) and launching the main database services (which require custom server hardware as I previously mentioned) that power most of the main cloud services.

Google uses spanner, AWS uses dynamodb, and Azure uses Cosmodb which are all different database systems and thus they are all completely incompatible.

I hope that Amazon forces the US Government to renew the contract at a 1000% markup. Don't like it? Too bad, single source, good luck with your migration, we've already amortized the equipment. Oh, you only have X months to migrate before we stop patching security vulnerabilities? Well, you better get to migrating quickly!

Whoever thought this was a good idea, shame on them.

That's not how these contracts actually work. Certainly Amazon COULD act against their customer's interests but the customer will be around for a long time, so that would be really short-sighted.

The process for re-bidding them starts a long time before the contract ends, and often the incumbent will offer a temporary contract to cover the time between the end of the contract and the beginning of the next contract. The process is unpredictably long because one of the losers -- especially if it is the incumbent -- may protest the award.

A similar thing happened with a contract I worked a lot with and the new contract (much smaller than JEDI, but still ~$2BN). The contract was to replace legacy datacenters with cloud services and service management layered on top, and was an IDIQ (Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity) contract -- it was held up in protest so long after award that the government just ordered nothing, and came up with alternate strategies. The protesting entity was one of the winners of the bid (unlike JEDI, it was awarded to 4 parties, though they were all reselling AWS, Azure, Google, etc) and they ended up with nothing from this very expensive and time-consuming bidding process.

Why would they do that? Amazon is no match for the US government and military complex and pissing them off is the worst business move they could make.

10B over 10 years is really not that massive a contract. It would end up as something like 1/8th of AWS revenue, though more at Microsoft’s cloud division.

It’s also less than 0.2% of all federal government contracts, and assuming it’s the only contract they had it would not even place them in the top 50 government contractors. http://www.fi-aeroweb.com/Top-100-US-Government-Contractors....

I understand your point, but there is an entire makret for government contracting which is basically a monopsony. Difference complience, etc. But how much money can we really justify to deal with the hassle of a cross-cloud expense? Also, more providers = woder attack surface. The likelihood that at least one of two or three companies will screw up their security is greater than the likelihood that one of one will.

Is there anyone Oracle won't sue? I think most companies would take that as a signal they need to improve their offerings. Oracle on the other hand says, "Are our cloud offerings sub par? No, it's the customer who is wrong."

> Is there anyone Oracle won't sue?

Sure. Anyone who is not interacting with Oracle, provided they have sufficiently few resources.

Not defending Oracle, but in government contracting, it's par for the course and happens a lot more than you might expect. Given the magnitude of this contract and its single award nature, I would be even more surprised if no one protested.

Oracle should spend less time suing competitors and focus on actually building products for the modern world.

This is the same company that tried to damage the coding world by attempting to copyright API's. I have no sympathy for them.

Good. Oracle tried and is still trying to destroy the foundation of the global software ecosystem by copyrighting APIs. Anything that damages that company or costs it money is a good thing.

>cloud infrastructure 2.0 provides significant performance and security capabilities over legacy cloud providers

>secure hyperscale cloud solutions

It's just VMs and hosted services. I wanna gouge my fucking eyes out.

cloud hysteria seems to be representative of some kind of mass amnesia about how computers work. It is only successful because it allows business boys with no real technical understanding to make sweeping infra changes to pad their CV

I babysat servers for a couple of decades. Now I can concentrate on writing software, and some Terraform plans to glue all the components together, instead of screwing around with hard drive failures or power supplies or failing switch ports or [...].

If Amazon exploded tomorrow, I could rack up some white box servers and have a customer-facing cluster running by next week. You know, I don't want to do that stuff any more, though.

I'm totally with you there. But that's VPS functionality. We've been doing that for 15+ years.

I'm talking about paying $7k a year to put data in a cloud based DB node that can only handle 2k transactions a second.

My other gripe is more complex and is about being asked to migrate an existing incredibly complex series of high performance applications which require very complex dark fibre connections to a cloud env.

Herding servers is "meh". I don't care who does it.

I am legitimately excited by new divide & conquer strategies and meshes. (And some other stuff.)

My problem with "cloud" is the negative impact on "architecture" caused by the resurrection of legacy "services" like message queues. It feels like the 90s all over again. Data feeds, ETL, storage, batches, RPCs, omg just kill me.

At my last gig, one of the youngsters asked me why everything was so weird, hard to manage. I told her "Org is stuck with mainframe worldview. We're moving the data and we should be moving the code." Light bulbs.

This is exactly what's happening. People are building utter nonsense software gluing bits of total junk junk together at considerable cost.

Do you really believe that an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars got to that point purely through hype? No benefit to platforms like AWS and Azure at all?

I think the idea of being able to soon up instances of VPS is useful and some of the deployment tools useful. I find most "cloud native" crap to be so comically poor in performance that I just can't accept it makes sense to burn that many cpus to achieve so little.

Perhaps I'm just a dinosaur

Using your computing resources well is for old people, get with the times!

I wouldn't necessarily blame the business boys. Now that public cloud has existed for a decade, there's a whole generation of devops people who know nothing about infrastructure. (I assume most app developers never needed to understand it.) As long as the stork keeps delivering those VMs, who cares?

This article sure did a shitty, non-existent attempt at citing its references.

From the cow's mouth, here's the original JEDI Cloud solicitation[1]--which includes the latest amended SOO[2] and Oracle's pre-award protest[3]--and the actual court order[4].

Doesn't seem like anyone is really talking about it either, but it's worth noting that this isn't some gratuitous "here's $10B, we're locking ourselves in for the next decade, go buck wild" ordeal. This ID/IQ contract has a 2-year base with 3-, 3-, and 2-year options for the remaining years, and a maximum $10B cap iff the government exercises all options.

Here's to hoping the government doesn't royally screw themselves over by dropping the ball on CDRLs A007 and A014.

[1] https://www.fbo.gov/index.php?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=386...

[2] https://www.fbo.gov/utils/view?id=845d0652768ef4a4749231d39a...

[3] https://www.fbo.gov/utils/view?id=6cd8017d52d2b832855c41fb74...

[4] https://ecf.cofc.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2018cv...

Oracle poached a lot of AWS employees when it was first getting its cloud offering off the ground.

Looks like cargo-culting has its limits.

You can poach all the employees you want, nothing changes if the management is still thinking SOAP and XML is the latest in technology and alienating your customers is better than giving them a good product

Oracle appears to be ahead of IBM Cloud who poached almost nobody.

True, except IBM just poached all of Redhat.

I guess Oracle finally found someone they can't mess with.

To bad, I wanted to sue Oracle for not hiring me.

“But multiple Republican lawmakers and groups have raised concerns that the JEDI contract was built specifically with AWS in mind, raising concerns over market competition and unfair treatment. “

I am from east Europe. I know corruption when i see it. Suddenly if Oracle is left out of the game, up they pop with unfairness and other smoke grenades for the unaware.

Also as a technical person, integration at this scale between two providers can be a PITA exercise. Best to chose one.

Predictable result. I’ve never seen a protest go well for any company. You can win these protests and still lose the work.

The best case scenario is you win the protest and have to rebid the whole thing again. You’ll still probably end up losing. Now you walk away with more money spent, more exposure due to public court records, and a customer who’s pissed off.

> I’ve never seen a protest go well for any company

Went well for SpaceX, which won access to Air Force contracts through the courts. (It’s now re-litigating [1].)

In any case, this is commercial litigation. Not protesting per se.

[1] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-space-spacex-lawsuit/musk...

Probably the biggest one ever - Boeing successfully protested the awarding of the tanker contract to NG/Airbus [1]

[1] https://www.industryweek.com/public-policy/us-gao-upholds-bo...

edit: spelling

Except that this was with politics and America first politics involved.

> In any case, this is commercial litigation. Not protesting per se.

By this, what were you referring to?

Palantir protested the DCGS-A award successfully, then won the contract.

I have an extension that clears any visible "sticky" element on the screen and I had to activate it THREE TIMES over the course of reading the article. Each time the removed element covered a portion of the article, preventing me from reading it. What a frustrating website to use.

>Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Thursday sent a letter to President Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, asking the White House to delay the contract over concerns the procurement process has been unfair and biased toward Amazon.

A pork barrel military may not be a good idea. One that punishes political critics might even be worse.

With the current administration, despite accusations of the contract originally being designed "with AWS in mind", I'd take a 99-1 bet this goes to Microsoft. No way Trump will let this go to Bezos' company. And I myself find it incredibly sad how the fact that I think that will happen, with no or muted outrage, doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

> With the current administration, despite accusations of the contract originally being designed "with AWS in mind", I'd take a 99-1 bet this goes to Microsoft. No way Trump will let this go to Bezos' company. And I myself find it incredibly sad how the fact that I think that will happen, with no or muted outrage, doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

GovCloud is AWS and Azure right?

I don't understand why JEDI would be exclusively one provider.

> GovCloud is AWS and Azure right?


[1] https://marketplace.fedramp.gov/#/product/aws-govcloud/versu...


I don't get the hate for hearing Oracle challenge another large huge company in court.

That's the correct course of action in the US. If you disagree with something you take it to the courts!

It's not David vs Goliath here where Oracle is abusing it's deep pockets with lawyers.

Worse yet then people get upset at the outcome of the decision if it wasn't to their liking.

Oracle didn't challenge another huge company, they challenged the federal govt. They're well within their rights to do so, or the case wouldn't have moved forward at all. The hate for Oracle is that exactly nobody but Oracle thinks they ever stood a tiny chance, and nobody likes a company who's primary customer acquisition model is lawsuits.

The hate for Oracle is more about Oracle. Their tech has always been weak, their sales force rabid jerks who manage to be even more annoying that IBM's, and they have always taken an adversarial stance towards their own customers.

The best strategy to pursue with Oracle is never speak to them.

I haven't seen anyone contesting Oracle's right to challenge this in court, we're just saying it was a waste of time motivated solely by sour grapes. Absolutely everyone-- at Oracle, at the other cloud providers, and in the Pentagon-- knows that Oracle's cloud is a joke compared to AWS/Azure and that they didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning this case. We're making fun of them for frivolous litigation.

> frivolous litigation

Frivolous litigation that WE are paying for. It's our tax money paying for those court cases.

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