BAE-Dell EMC partnership targets hybrid cloud market

Defense contractor BAE Systems Inc. and global IT giant Dell EMC have joined forces on a hybrid cloud offering to increase their shares of the market.

BAE Systems’ U.S. business and Dell EMC joining forces to offer a hybrid cloud computing environment in the federal government can be explained like other partnerships: a pair of companies working together to capture market share they both seek.

But for the defense contractor and the global IT giant, this is also about working together to give agencies a pre-built, ready-to-go environment with security built in at the start and the ability to use cloud technologies for the entire value chain. That ranges from everyday business applications to what they call mission-essential tools.

With increased funding and policy air cover for IT modernization, government agencies are increasing the scale of efforts to upgrade their infrastructures and bring in more tools from commercial environments. But that comes with caveats regarding size, specs and cost, BAE and Dell executives say.

“The government is in need of a secure cloud that’s powerful enough to fulfill these large agency missions, but flexible enough to support smaller, forward-operating organizational efforts as well,” said Steve Harris, senior vice president and general manager of Dell EMC’s federal business. “These secure, private clouds are a great option to help chip away at technical debt; the cost of running applications on legacy systems.”

Peder Jungck, vice president and general manager of the intelligence solutions business at BAE Systems Inc., said the companies did the engineering work, investments and certifications up front in order to have a pre-assured and cleared cloud environment suitable for all environments including those secured.

“This is a unique marriage in that Dell was pushing as well as was getting pulled” to also be more solution-centric and “just give the answer,” Jungck said. “We at BAE wanted to not be in selling by the labor hour… we have the capabilities to show up, run the services and run the cloud.”

BAE and Dell designed the cloud with more than 900 built-in security controls and that includes 30 stemming from the intelligence community. Also embedded within the cloud are VMware technologies and so-called zero-anonymity security features that work to help administrators know what and who is in the cloud at all times.

They are putting their joint offering out in the market at a time where one cloud storyline hovers over everything: the Defense Department’s almost $10 billion “JEDI” contract that is tracking for award in September with the final solicitation due sometime later this month.

Based on requirements in both draft solicitations so far, federal market executives and analysts see Amazon Web Services and Microsoft as the clear frontrunners with AWS as favorite.

To date, only AWS has been on record so far as a bidder after CEO Andy Jassy told CNBC in an interview Wednesday they will “bid on the JEDI contract when it comes out and it will be a very competitive bid,” as transcribed by commercial IT trade publication CRN.

AWS’ cloud competitors and IT industry trade groups have raised objections to DOD's decision to go with a single-award for the JEDI initiative.

BAE and Dell officials did not indicate whether their solution would specifically be offered for the JEDI competition. Jungck said the companies are eyeing customers interested in doing large cloud migrations including those in the defense sector.

“The main point from all of us on the Dell side and BAE is that there are further options in this consolidation to get to a better place for IT modernization at less cost,” Jungck said.

“The goal of this collaboration was to provide customizable cloud solutions for any intelligence community, DOD, federal or civilian organization that is looking to modernize its infrastructure and reap the benefits of secure hybrid cloud,” Harris said.

“Federated secured cloud can operate seamlessly on any Microsoft Azure, AWS or on-premise cloud, so agencies aren’t restricted in the ability to utilize the hardware and support services provided,” he said.

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