RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – IBM’s targeting of what it sees as a trillion dollar opportunity tin cloud computing following its acquisition of Raleigh-based Red Hat in 2019 has earned an early big deal: Part of a huge contract with the CIA and the wider US intelligence agency.

Big Blue is one of five firms that will divide the multi-year high-profile contract worth tens of billions of dollars.

Also landing part of the deal were Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Google and Oracle.

The news triggered a very positive response from IBM.

“IBM is proud to further its collaboration with the U.S. federal government with this strategic award to provide the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) with IBM’s hybrid cloud flexibility and sophisticated security features to support mission-critical workloads,” said Jay Bellisimo, IBM’s General Manager, U.S. Public and Federal Market.

In a statement provided to government-news focused website Nextgov, Bellisimo added:

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“Our position as a commercial enterprise open hybrid-cloud global leader has sharpened our expertise to help our clients seamlessly move to a multi-cloud ecosystem in compliance with cloud security standards. We look forward to putting our knowledge into the service of the IC and their key national security partners.”

The contract award comes just days after IBM announced two acquisitions focused on cloud technology and services.

The CIA deal is described as the Commercial Cloud Enterprise, or C2E.

Data center news site Data Center Dynamics reported that the deal stretches for more than a decade and is worth billions.

“Under the award, each company will be able to compete for specific task orders at various classification levels for the CIA and the 16 other agencies in the intelligence community,” the news site reported Monday.

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“We are excited to work with the multiple industry partners awarded the Intelligence Community (IC) Commercial Cloud Enterprise (C2E) Cloud Service Provider (CSP) contract and look forward to utilizing, alongside our IC colleagues, the expanded cloud capabilities resulting from this diversified partnership,” CIA spokeswoman Nicole de Haay said, according to Nextgov.

Amazon Web Services has a contract with CIA right now, the news sites reported. It runs through 2023.

Unlike the previous contract, the CIA selected multiple vendors.

“Under C2E, the CIA will shift to a multi-cloud posture, picking the best cloud provider for specific workloads. It will also pick cloud providers on behalf of the other intelligence agencies,” DataCenterDynamics reported.

Nextgov noted that the vendors will “compete for specific task orders at various classification levels of up to top secret. Through the multiple-award indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity C2E contract, the CIA seeks foundational cloud services, including infrastructure-, platform- and software-as-a-service capabilities, as well as professional services.”

A multi-billion dollar cloud contract awarded to Microsoft Azure by the Pentagon is still be challenged by Amazon.

IBM employees thousands of people across North Carolina, runs one of its most modern data centers at its large campus in RTP and is the corporate parent of Red Hat.

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