Microsoft is partnering with the U.S. Government in the journey to the cloud, providing both infrastructure (IaaS) and platform (PaaS) offerings to enable digital transformation. Our government customers are responsible for the most sensitive data and the most critical applications in the country. We are committed to delivering the broadest array of services to meet government regulatory requirements and security needs. Azure Government is the mission-critical cloud, providing more than 7,000 Federal, State, and local customers the exclusivity, highest compliance and security, hybrid flexibility, and commercial-grade innovation they need to better meet citizen expectations.
Today at Microsoft Government Cloud Forum in Washington D.C., we’re announcing a number of important advances for Azure Government, the dedicated cloud for our U.S. Government customers and their partners. We’re expanding our support for highly-classified workloads, delivering advanced technologies like Blockchain and support for High Performance Computing, and increasing our available security capabilities with Azure Security Center. In addition, we’re launching Citrix VDI on Azure Government to help our government customers deliver user workloads from the cloud.
Introducing Azure Government Secret
At last year's Government Cloud Forum Azure Government was the first government-only cloud to be awarded Information Impact Level 5 DoD Provisional Authorization by the Defense Information Systems Agency. On our anniversary, we’re proud to be the only provider to deliver a physically isolated cloud that is DoD Impact Level 5-ready for infrastructure, platform, and productivity services serving every branch of the military and the defense agencies the greatest number L5 services in the market.
Taking the next step forward in meeting the mission-critical and data needs of our U.S. Government customers, we are announcing expansion plans to make Azure Government Secret available to support government agencies and partners who have Secret classified data. 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. 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.
Blockchain for Azure Government
We view blockchain as a major technological advancement with the potential for significant impact in many industries, including the public sector, through its ability to enable verifiable and immutable cross-party computation. At its core, a blockchain is a data structure that’s used to create a digital transaction ledger that, instead of resting with a single provider, is shared among a distributed network of computers. Blockchain technologies deployed on Azure are applicable to many complex problems facing government today, including distribution of funds after natural disasters, registration of property ownership, and other issues involving tracking ownership of funds or assets through multiple transactions. Today we’re launching Blockchain for Azure Government, which will support a wide array of our Azure blockchain and distributed ledger marketplace solutions. These solutions automate the deployment and configuration of blockchain infrastructure across multiple organizations, allowing our customers to focus on government transformation and application development.
Unified security management with Azure Security Center
While cyber threats affect every organization and every individual, governments face unique challenges. The recent Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Infrastructure, represents a key example of the increasing pressure on government agencies to increase their efforts around protecting highly sensitive data and systems. To help our customers address their security challenges, we’re bringing Azure Security Center to Azure Government. Security Center offers unified security management and advanced threat protection for hybrid cloud workloads, enabling government agencies to take on evolving security threats. Learn more about Security Center.
Expanding High Performance Computing in Azure Government
In today’s data-driven government, High Performance Computing (HPC) is increasingly being mainstreamed to apply to a broader range of problems. To address this demand, we’re extending our existing public sector HPC offerings, including the NC-series and Azure Batch, to include the H-series virtual machines. Azure H-series virtual machines, with InfiniBand and Linux RDMA technology, are designed to deliver cutting-edge performance for complex engineering and scientific workloads such as weather prediction and climate modeling, trajectory modeling, and other memory-intensive projects. By the end of the year, customers will be able to take advantage of this expanded offering in Azure Government.
New Virtual Desktop Infrastructure options in the cloud
The public sector is under a mandate to be more efficient and run fewer datacenters. To reduce on-premises infrastructure, many government customers are considering moving their Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) to the cloud. Today, we’re announcing new options with Azure Government, giving customers more flexibility in handling VDI requirements. With Citrix VDI on Azure Government, customers can now extend existing Citrix environments and deploy Windows 10 desktops into Azure Government from Citrix Cloud. Learn more about new VDI options.
We’re excited about all the new capabilities coming to Azure for the U.S. Government. To find out more about technology innovation and security for government customers, check out Azure Government. And for ongoing updates, follow the Azure Government blog.