VMware Opens Early Access To FedRAMP-Hopeful Public Cloud For Gov't Customers

VMware is giving federal government customers a chance to kick the tires on a pre-release version of a public cloud service that's designed specifically for them.

VMware launched Wednesday its Early Access Program for vCloud Government Service, a version of its public cloud that's run by Carpathia, a Dulles, Va.-based service provider partner with deep experience selling to federal government customers.

VMware said in March it would seek FedRAMP Authority to Operate (P-ATO) for vCloud Government Service and would work with Carpathia to achieve this. To get certification, VMware is delivering the service through Carpathia's data centers instead of its own.

[Related: VMware Unveils New Services, Pay-As-You-Go Pricing For vCloud Air Public Cloud]

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Most government agencies already use vSphere server virtualization in their data centers, including all 15 cabinet level agencies, military services and the legislative and judicial branches of government, Angelos Kottas, director of product marketing for hybrid cloud services at VMware, said in a blog post Wednesday.

With vCloud Government Service, VMware can offer government customers a "safe landing place" in the public cloud, which is how CEO Pat Gelsinger has phrased his pitch for the enterprise-focused vCloud Air service.

VMware launched a private beta for vCloud Government Service a few months ago, and civilian, defense, law enforcement and other federal agencies have been testing it out, Kottas said.

"The VMware vCloud Government Service Early Access Program will enable government agencies to better meet mission goals and serve citizens through new cloud-based and hybrid applications sooner, as well as be compliant and running when the service achieves its FedRAMP P-ATO next year," Kottas said in the blog post.

There are currently 16 cloud services that have received FedRAMP authorization, including offerings from Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and Salesforce.com.

Rich Fly, director of government programs at IT1, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based VMware partner, said the VMware-Carpathia partnership is "an excellent marriage of on-premise and off-premise capabilities."

VMware has established itself as the premier infrastructure virtualization partner with the Federal Government over the past decade, Fly said. That is why he expects vCloud Government Service to play well in this space.

"While I think that they are going to continue to face stiff competition, the wide-scale adoption of nearly all other facets of VMware’s offerings within most Federal agencies should provide them with the customer base that they need to receive the return that that are seeking," Fly said.

Kottas said the VMware vCloud Government Service Early Access Program is available for purchase in Dulles, Va. and Phoenix, Ariz. Pricing is similar to vCloud Air, with a "modest premium based on higher cost of service to meet federal government requirements," a VMware spokesperson told CRN.