Amazon intros AWS GovCloud for U.S. government agencies, contractors

AWS GovCloud debuts as a special U.S. government-focused version of Amazon Web Services.

As the United States government proceeds to shutter 800 data centers and move further into the cloud, a new solution from Amazon could help fill some gaps.

Amazon's senior vice president of Amazon Web Services Andy Jassy introduced the AWS GovCloud at the NASA IT Summit in San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon. The solution is specially designed for U.S. government agencies and contractors for uploading and moving sensitive data to the cloud.

Teresa Carlson, vice president of Amazon Web Services' global public sector, said in a statement that over 100 government agencies are already taking advantage of AWS. Thus, it's no surprise that Amazon is trying to beat its cloud competitors to the punch with a customized option as government agencies make major strides towards cloud adoption.

Amazon has drawn in some of its existing solutions and resources from its Web Services division for this cloud, including the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and its Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC). Much like enterprise and individual personal cloud accounts, these are available with flexible pay-as-you-go and scalable rates.

Naturally, one of the big hurdles for Amazon to secure any government customers is going to be security, and AWS GovCloud is touted as a solution that addresses regulatory and compliance requirements.

The AWS GovCloud skirts around requirements such as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which prevented uploading any data to the cloud that the federal government stipulated can only be accessible only by "U.S. persons." AWS GovCloud is only accessible in the United States, thus apparently it fits the bill.

The AWS GovCloud has already been launched. Agencies with a need to access the AWS GovCloud must sign an AWS GovCloud Enterprise Agreement. Anyone else (i.e. government contractors, software integrators, and service providers) will need to demonstrate access before admittance.