Microsoft announces Azure Government Secret service expansion at Government Cloud Forum

Microsoft recently announced it is expanding its Azure Government Secret service at its Government Cloud Forum. The service will provide the U.S. Government, along with defense agencies, the intelligence community and every U.S. military branch access to the Azure Government Cloud.

U.S. Government cloud contracts have become big money as more agencies move their legacy server applications and data centers to hosted clouds. Last September, for instance, Dell and industry partners General Dynamics and Microsoft landed a $1 billion contract with the U.S. Air Force to move 770,00 users in the military branch to a cloud-based system.

Microsoft currently manages six government-only data center regions, which the government authorized for impact level 5 data provisional authorization, two of which are dedicated regions for U.S. Department of Defense workloads. Using Azure Government Secret, federal civilians and defense agencies will have access to the Azure Government Cloud.

“Azure Government Secret will deliver multi-tenant cloud infrastructure and cloud capabilities to U.S. federal civilian, Department of Defense, intelligence community, and U.S. government partners working within secret enclaves,” wrote Tom Keane, head of global infrastructure for Microsoft Azure, in a company blogpost. “Customers with secret requirements can expect to gain access to new technologies at scale, including services such as cognitive capabilities, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics.”

In addition to offering infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service, Microsoft said it is bringing its Azure Security Center to Azure Government to offer security management and threat protection for hybrid cloud environments. According to the company, Azure Security will help Azure Government customers monitor security across cloud and on-premise workloads, and simplify investigation for threat response.

In this context, simplify is understood as enabling agencies to use the commercial cloud more often for sensitive data. Agencies will have more opportunities to deploy proofs-of-concepts in the cloud without having to finance a major infrastructure. Government users will have access to the Azure Security Center in early 2018.

Microsoft said it also intended to incorporate additional options for shifting office environments into a Citrix virtual desktop infrastructure and for high-performance computing. Users can leverage Citrix VDI on Azure Government to build upon current Citrix environments as well as launch Windows 10 desktops into Azure Government with Citrix Cloud.

The company currently provides Azure Batch and the NC-series instances in the government cloud for both engineer and scientific workloads. Azure H-series virtual machines with InfiniBand and Linux RDMA technology will be incorporated into the environment this December.

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