Microsoft reveals plans for a government cloud platform

Summary:The rumored Microsoft 'Fairfax' cloud platform gets its official unveiling.

Microsoft officially announced plans for its rumored government cloud service during a press and analyst briefing on its cloud momentum in San Francisco on October 7.

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That government cloud service, codenamed "Fairfax," is a cloud offering for U.S. government customers specifically. (Fairfax, Virg., is the home of the General Services Administration, and close to other U.S. government agencies.)

Currently, Microsoft sells the same set of Windows Azure and Windows Server offerings to government users, alongside all other types of users. But Microsoft already sells a version of its Office 365 hosted app platform that's customized for government. Office 365 for Government is a multi-tenant service that stores US government data in a segregated community cloud.

Microsoft's new government cloud offering -- officially christened Windows Azure US Government Cloud -- is Azure-hosted in Microsoft's data centers in Iowa and Virginia and managed by U.S. personnel (similar to the way Office 365 for Government is). Though the core offering is Azure-based, federal, state and local government customers still will have the ability to choose public, private or a hybrid solution based on the needs of their data set, officials said.

The new Azure government cloud is "coming soon," the Softies said.

In other Microsoft cloud-related news, Cloud Cruiser announced today that Microsoft will be including a "customized Express version" of Cloud Cruiser's cloud-financial-management solution with Windows Server 2012 R2 "via Windows Azure Pack." (I think this means it's bundled somehow, but can't get confirmation from either Microsoft or Cloud Cruiser.)

The idea is Cloud Cruiser Express will be able to work directly from the Windows Azure Portal, allowing users to manage both the operational and financial aspects of their Azure cloud simultaneously. 

Topics: Cloud, Data Centers, Government, Windows Server

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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