Microsoft announces Azure Government’s general availability

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After being in preview state for more than a year, Microsoft’s Azure Government cloud computing service is now generally available to government clients.

Redmond had announced plans for a government cloud offering back in October 2013, and had made available the private preview of Azure for Government, codenamed “Fairfax,” in March this year. The company claimed more than one hundred government customers and solution providers tested and evaluated the cloud service offering.

Now, after more than a year, the service is finally ready to roll out to the masses of government agencies and departments, particularly US public sector customers in federal, state and local organizations. The full capability includes Azure, Microsoft’s community cloud platform; Dynamics CRM Online, a customer relationship management tool; and Office 365 for Government.

“Through the completeness of this cloud, it really facilitates and will enable a transformation: that interconnectedness of security, your directory and putting together the solutions in a way that will really help propel you forward,” said Microsoft’s Vice President of the U.S. Public Sector Curt Kolcun.

According to Microsoft, Azure Government is capable of providing compute, storage, data, networking and other services under the government’s rigorous security standards, including the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. The cloud offering will maintain all data within the United States, and in actual data centres and networks physically isolated from the rest of Microsoft’s cloud computing solution.

Furthermore, in order to maintain the highest security levels, only preapproved government agencies and their service providers will be able to access the Azure Government infrastructure.

“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,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft.

“We are proud to offer Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online to the growing number of government agencies that are ready to deploy leading-edge cloud computing solutions.”

Microsoft confirmed Dynamics CRM Online for Government will be generally available in January 2015.