Microsoft courts U.S. government cloud users with Azure Stack integration promise

Microsoft courts U.S. government cloud users with Azure Stack integration promise

At present, Microsoft has a huge array of central government clients, including the Small Business Administration (SBA), US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the US Air Force and numerous USA's city and state governments.

The pairing of Azure Stack, Microsoft's localised cloud product, and Azure Government, the government-tailored version of Microsoft's cloud, comes as competition against Amazon for major clients in the public sector ramps up. Last November, for example, AWS secured a lucrative contract worth a reported $600 million to provide a secret cloud region for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Because of the stringent compliance and security requirements of government agencies, the Azure Government cloud typically receives new products and updates several months after they land on the public cloud. McAfee CWS for Azure became available earlier this year, it added. She promised Azure Stack would be made available in "mid-2018", without providing an exact date.

Everything can be managed from one place, including identity, subscription, billing, backup and disaster recovery and the Azure Marketplace for access to even more apps and services. Among the authorized services is an SQL server database that along with application development tools would allow government customers to build applications and move data between internal servers to the cloud while scaling virtual machines.

"Agencies can continue to leverage their existing infrastructure and share data seamlessly across platforms, easily integrating with next-generation services and innovating rapidly", wrote Tom Keane, head of global infrastructure at Microsoft Azure, in a blog post.

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"Traditionally the competition for the public sector infrastructure as a service load was addressed with dedicated data centers, but that can not address state load and demands", Mueller said. The two new regions can accommodate government data classified secrets, noted Keane.

Azure is a popular cloud platform for business, but firms need to ensure their applications, underlying cloud infrastructure and data are protected.

Third, Microsoft announced that two new ExpressRoute locations are coming soon in the US.

Azure Stack essentially allows organizations to run a little piece of the Azure cloud computing platform in their own data centers and tap into Microsoft's public cloud resources if they desire. Amazon's reveal of its AWS Secret Region came on the heels of Microsoft's own announcement of Azure Government Secret, which also supports classified workloads.

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