At the end of September, Windows Azure received an important government certification paving the way to new opportunities for Microsoft to provide Cloud services to US government agencies. With the certification under its belt (the first for a public cloud platform with IaaS capabilities), Microsoft set out to customize Windows Azure for US government use.
The Windows Azure U.S. Government Cloud is the result of Microsoft altering Windows Azure in a way that meets government restrictions and policies, yet still provides full Windows Azure infrastructure and platform services. In a carefully worded post, Susie Adams, Federal Chief Technology Advisor for Microsoft, suggests that while they have announced the new service, it is still being architected, and the government is still reviewing the options that Microsoft will eventually provide.
Interesting to me, the also article states that the US government has adopted a Cloud First policy for new technology investments. That's similar to Microsoft's development investments.
As stated, the Windows Azure U.S. Government Cloud must meet specific restrictions and policies. The one's outlined in Susie's announcement cover:
- Redundancy: Two separate datacenters will be constructed with logical, physical, and network isolation.
- U.S. Based: Data, services, and hardware will all be located in the United States.
- US Government-only data: The only data that will be stored in the new offering will be from US federal, state, and local government customers.
- Government approved US citizens in IT: Those operating and managing the service will be US citizens who have gone through Public Trust clearance.
Read the full announcement: Coming soon: Government-focused cloud services