US Govt Takes Windows Azure for a Test Drive

Windows Azure is quickly becoming one of the more popular cloud solutions for organizations of all shapes and sizes. All of the positive attention that Azure has received of late has perked the interest of the US Government. Once the government and the Azure team made contact with one another, the parties agreed to setup a test drive of sorts for the new Windows Azure cloud that was made specifically for the US government.
Microsoft recently earned the FedRAMP accreditation for Azure which basically gives Microsoft permission to sell its cloud products to the federal government. While Microsoft has the permission, Azure itself is still not certified according to InformationWeek.
Greg Myers is the VP of federal sales at Microsoft. His candid comments at a recent expo in Washington DC highlighted his excitement for the government’s interest in Azure. In regards to the ever evolving security profile of this cloud offering, he said, “It is very labor intensive, very capital intensive. It’s not an environment for the weak.”
The government’s Azure will not be hosted inside of your typical Azure facility. In fact, the two datacenters that will house Windows Azure will be specifically built out for the project, and the placement  will determined strategically. These private Azure datacenters will host information that will require a high level security clearance to access the facility.
Although Azure in the public cloud form is still available to government clientele, the new private Azure will most likely be a new platform that the government uses when they decide to move workload hosting onto Azure. Analysts suggest that in spring 2015, you can expect a public preview of this cloud offering, but as of now there is no plans to debut the ‘Azure for government cloud’ product to the public. The test drive phase of Azure for government will allow the feds plenty of time to test out the security of Azure and better tailor the cloud for the government’s needs.