By GCN Staff

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CIA big data appetite

CIA's big data plans lead it to the Amazon cloud

CIA chief technology officer Gus Hunt told a tech industry audience March 20 that the agency had a nearly limitless demand for big data surrounding its intelligence targets.

Hunt’s remarks might help explain the impetus behind news broken by Federal Computer Week two days earlier that CIA had cut a $600 million deal with Amazon Web Services to build a private cloud infrastructure to help manage its big data demands.

"Since you can't connect dots you don't have … we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever,” Hunt told a GigaOm conference audience, according to a Huff Post Tech report.

The CIA has made no secret of its aim to become a more data-driven organization, a goal Hunt has been citing for several years.  “We are going to have to get analytics and visualization [tools] that are so dead-simple easy to use, anybody can take advantage of them, anybody can use them,” he said at a recent conference.

Posted by Paul McCloskey on Mar 22, 2013 at 9:39 AM

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Reader Comments

Sat, Mar 30, 2013

A closer look: "to build a private cloud infrastructure to help manage its big data demands." Private Cloud. It is more about the scalability and ease of use of the platform behind Amazon. The above comment by Sherryanne Meyer AND the title of this article both are misleading. The other aspect that is missing from this analysis is that the underlying cloud infrastructure can be open source software, and is easily an order of magnitude more cost effective compared to other platforms (notably VMware, xenserver, and Microsoft hyper-v). The leader in virtualization, VMware, is becoming notoriously expen$ive, and is moving towards a model that increasingly looks a lot like Microsoft's heyday of captured customers. Once you become a VMware junkie, you will never kick the habit.

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 Sherryanne Meyer Pennsyulvania

The discussion that arises from this is: If the CIA says the Cloud is safe, then what's stopping the rest of us from hopping on board? For a global company - there still exists the question of local privacy regulations. Eventually - we'll solve that issue too. What else would stop you from doing cloud? Investment cost? Long-term subscription costs? Or do we all just follow the crowd?

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