As JEDI Contract Looms, Microsoft Reveals Azure Stack for Government


Microsoft on Monday released Azure Stack for Government, a new program that gives government customers a familiar set of cloud services in a hybrid model.

The move to make the Azure Stack available to government customers comes on the heels of the Pentagon in July releasing its final call for proposals for its $10 billion cloud contract known as JEDI, which will be rewarded to a single vendor.

The Pentagon's looming multi-billion-dollar cloud contract has drawn harsh criticism from a variety of tech giants, including Oracle, which is leading the coalition. Other vendors standing alongside Oracle include hardware providers Dell and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, as well as cloud rivals Microsoft and IBM, which are rallying for a fair opportunity for the contract.

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Microsoft in March first announced its plans to integrate Azure Stack with its government cloud offering so that government customers could have connections into services such as Azure Government identity, subscription, registration, billing, backup and disaster recovery, and Azure Marketplace, whether in a public or private cloud environment.

Microsoft has not said specifically whether Azure Stack for Azure Government Customers will be available immediately through its channel partners.

Using Azure Stack for Azure Government, customers will have access to the same infrastructure and services as they do with Azure, including the same APIs, DevOps tools and the portal. At the same time, meeting strict regulatory, connectivity, and latency requirements, according to Microsoft in a blog post.

"This means directives can be met faster because government customers can make a strategic choice about where to run their workloads and applications. Government customers can develop and deploy applications in Azure Government and then deploy on-premises using Azure Stack … They can also move seamlessly with consistency between public, government-only, and on-premises cloud environments as the mission requires," said Natalia Mackevicius, program director for Azure Stack, in the blog published Monday.

For government customers that aren't ready to move certain workloads to the public cloud, Azure Stack for Azure Government lets agencies move these applications without making any change in code, DevOps tools, or processes. Azure Stack for Government will introduce these customers access to services and features such as containers and serverless computing, which will allow these customers to modernize any on-premise, legacy applications, Microsoft said.

Microsoft also took to its blog post to reveal it completed a third-party FedRamp certification process for cloud security, a critical feature for attracting more government customers faced with compliance and privacy requirements.

Oracle last week filed a formal complaint with the federal government challenging the winner-take-all nature of the massive cloud contract, which Oracle has long thought that Amazon Web Services is favored to win.