Announcing Dedicated Federal Cloud and Improved Pricing, Networking, and Identity Options

Enterprises frequently tell us that issues such as price / performance, identity management, security and speed are of utmost importance in their cloud computing journey, and our commitment to partnering with our customers on these issues has never been greater. Today, Satya Nadella reiterated this commitment with a series of announcements supporting our Cloud OS vision—including a number of updates specific to Windows Azure that address these concerns. 

Today’s announcements for Windows Azure are:

  • Enterprise Savings & Generous Terms. Starting November 1, we’re making it easier than ever for enterprises to use Azure. Their enterprise commitment to Microsoft will bring them our best Azure prices based on their infrastructure spend.  These enterprise discounts will be better than Amazon’s on commodity services like compute, storage and bandwidth (WindowsAzure.com will continue to match Amazon on those services).  We’ve also extended those same great rates to any unplanned growth they may have on Azure, so they are free to grow significantly in Azure as their organizations demand it.  Finally, customers can now pay us at the end of the year for that unplanned growth, as long as that extended use is within a certain threshold.  These changes bring significant value to enterprises looking to invest in a cloud platform that will allow them to evolve over time.
  • More choice for private, fast cloud access. Today we announced a partnership with Equinix to provide peering exchange locations for connections to the cloud which are low latency, fast and private. With more than 950 networks and over 110,000 cross-connects, Equinix has a massive global data center footprint that will enable our customers even greater reach and choice. This partnership will building from our recent AT&T announcement, as we strive to offer more choice than any other public cloud vendor and work to bring the cloud to our customers. We will on-board a limited number of early trial customers this year and open up for general availability in the first half of 2014.
  • Dedicated cloud environment for government agencies. Like enterprises, the U.S. government is eager to realize the benefits of the cloud, adopting a Cloud First policy for any new investments. Microsoft is committed to supporting these initiatives and today is announcing its plans to offer a dedicated public cloud environment designed to meet the distinct needs of U.S. state, local and federal government agencies. This announcement comes on the heels of last week’s FedRAMP JAB P-ATO for Windows Azure, adding to rapidly accruing momentum showcasing Windows Azure’s leadership in government and cloud security.
  • Enterprise-grade identity and access, for free. Last week we posted a blog highlighting Azure AD momentum. In addition, this month Microsoft will begin providing all Windows Azure customers enterprise-grade identity and access with Windows Azure Active Directory, providing a highly secure log-in experience and improved administrator capabilities for cloud applications. Every Azure subscriber will get a tenant for free, and multiple directories can be created under a tenant for maximum efficiency and scale.

Today’s announcements all support our Cloud OS vision, offering our customers consistency across environments and the ability to choose from a variety of clouds – Azure, service provider clouds, or their own data centers.  This provides a flexible, simple approach which no other cloud provider in the industry can match. And with more than half of the Fortune 500 using Azure, and a growth rate 2 times the speed of the market, it’s clear that demand for this unique approach continues to rise.

Check out a free trial of Windows Azure and see for yourself why enterprises like Aston Martin, 3M, Xerox, United Airlines, Starbucks, Toyota and more are betting on Microsoft’s cloud offerings.