Cloud

Microsoft extends fed-only cloud

Shutterstock image: cloud hands.

Microsoft's Azure cloud platform and Dynamics CRM will now be available governmentwide, according to an announcement made Dec. 9 by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the company's Government Cloud Summit in Washington, D.C.

"The Microsoft cloud for government is the most complete cloud for any government organization aiming to be more productive, agile and efficient in today's mobile-first and cloud-first world," Nadella said in a prepared statement.

Greg Myers, vice president of Microsoft Federal, said the "general availability" of Microsoft Azure means agencies will have access to infrastructure and platform capabilities, as well as third-party offerings, in a fully enclosed government cloud.

"Our public Azure has already been FedRAMP-certified," Myers told FCW. "This is a government-only tenant environment with dedicated U.S. data centers."

According to the Microsoft announcement, "Azure Government provides hybrid ... enterprise-grade solutions that enable government agencies to run the operating systems, languages and applications of choice in Microsoft's government cloud, public cloud or their own data center with a consistent platform and the flexibility and capacity to scale up or down on demand."

The Navy, for example, is deploying Microsoft's Office 365 cloud-based productivity tools to a first wave of 8,000 Navy reservists under a plan to deploy it to 40,000 or more in all. Microsoft said Office 365 will help Navy personnel perform training, administrative and operational tasks regardless of where they are located.

The second part of the announcement is that Dynamics CRM Online for government will be generally available in January. Agencies can use existing on-premises investments and Azure and Office 365 government community clouds to securely access applications and workflows from any location.

"The real value is that it's integrated with a single foundational stack, enabling things like Active Directory and single sign-on -- all of this driving complexity out of the implementation of cloud solutions for our government clients," Myers said.

He added that the trio of tools -- Office 365, Azure and Dynamics CRM -- will make federal employees' lives much easier. It might also be an opportunity for agencies to "rebrand themselves," he added.

The new tools support the "idea of creating a consistent identity strategy [and] a consistent collaboration strategy," Myers said.

About the Author

Colby Hochmuth is a former staff writer for FCW.

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