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.
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.