Microsoft's Government Cloud Comes Online
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (Photo: Microsoft)

Microsoft's Government Cloud Comes Online

Dedicated Azure infrastructure hosted in U.S. data centers, separated from non-government servers

Services on Microsoft’s cloud computing infrastructure designed and built specifically for serving government clients are now in general availability. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made the announcement at the company’s event in Washington, D.C., Tuesday.

The infrastructure that supports Microsoft Azure Government is physically and virtually separated from non-government cloud infrastructure and lives in data centers within the U.S. It is operated by personnel that has gone through specialized screening.

The cloud is for federal, state, and municipal government agencies. Government cloud is a huge market opportunity for cloud service providers. Agencies at every level of government are looking to cut cost and optimize IT operations by transitioning to cloud services.

The federal government has had an official Cloud First program for more than three years. It requires agencies to consider cloud for any application deployment before they consider any other hosting options.

Microsoft is competing with a pool of strong competitors for federal cloud dollars. Amazon Web Services has a data center dedicated to government cloud infrastructure; IBM SoftLayer is working on bringing two dedicated government cloud facilities online; HP has launched a government flavor of its Helion cloud services; QTS has opened a data center specifically for hosting government cloud infrastructure. There are numerous other examples.

FedRAMP Certification in Future

Azure Government offers compute, storage, data, networking, and applications. The company is leveraging its ability to give users a consistent experience for applications hosted on premises and in the cloud to differentiate.

Microsoft is working on securing a certificate of compliance for Azure Government with the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) – a must for hosting federal agencies’ applications. The company’s big public cloud service, Microsoft Azure, has been FedRAMP-compliant.

Azure’s FedRAMP-compliant competitors include CGI, HP, Lockheed Martin, Oracle, AWS, Salesforce, and Verizon, among others.

Cloud CRM for Government Coming Up

Microsoft also said Dynamics CRM Online for Government will be generally available in January. Like the IaaS offerings, it will be hosted on isolated infrastructure and operated by cleared U.S. personnel.

Agencies will be able to integrate their Office 365 and Azure cloud assets with CRM Online for Government.

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