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Coming soon: Government-focused cloud services

It has been a busy few weeks for Microsoft in the cloud space.  Last Monday, we announced that Windows Azure has received a FedRAMP JAB P-ATO. This week, I am able to share that Microsoft is announcing its plans to offer a public cloud environment designed to meet the distinct needs of U.S. government agencies.

The Windows Azure U.S. Government Cloud will be a community cloud available for U.S. state, local, and federal government agencies hosted in Microsoft datacenters located in the U.S. and managed by U.S. citizens.

The U.S. government is eager to realize the benefits of the cloud, adopting a Cloud First policy for new investments. Microsoft is committed to supporting these initiatives and is uniquely positioned to offer the flexibility U.S. government agencies need. This includes the ability to design and deploy a combination of on-premises, private, public or hybrid cloud environments based on their security requirements. The Windows Azure Government Cloud will add the ability to leverage the cloud for higher security workloads, like those of the Department of Defense, ensuring that Microsoft can meet the diverse needs of the U.S. government.

Working with partners like Lockheed Martin, who help us meet the government-mandated requirements, key elements of the Windows Azure Government Cloud will include:

  • Physical, Network, and Logical Isolation: Two specially constructed datacenter collocated in Boydton (VA) and Des Moines (Iowa) with logical, physical, and network isolation from Azure Public Cloud.
  • U.S. Location: All data, hardware, and supporting systems will be in the continental United States.
  • Limited Community: Data will reside on servers that only contain data from other U.S. federal, state, and local government customers.
  • PPT-Moderate Personnel: All operating personnel will be U.S. persons screened for PPT-Moderate clearance

This news comes as part of a larger announcement by Microsoft about new products, programs and partnerships to help organizations capitalize on the opportunities of cloud computing. Complementing Office 365 and other cloud services, these new offerings deliver on Microsoft’s hybrid cloud strategy that connects IT and data infrastructure, application platform and development, and device management and business solutions.

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