Microsoft touts its coming top-secret cloud certification ahead of $10 billion JEDI contract deadline

Microsoft is stepping up its government cloud campaigning just ahead of the closing of the bids for the Pentagon's $10 billion, winner-take-all JEDI cloud contract.

Google has dropped out of the race for the Department of Defense's $10 billion, 10-year cloud contract, but Microsoft is still all-in. In fact, Microsoft is stepping up its government-cloud campaigning just ahead of the October 12 deadline for request-for-proposal (RFP) submissions for the so-called JEDI contract.

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Credit: ZDNet

The biggest cloud companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle, all have been jockeying for bidding position for the winner-take-all Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract. Google opted out of the JEDI bidding on October 8, claiming the contract might fail to align with its AI principles -- and (more importantly) because it didn't have some of the required government certifications.

On October 9, Microsoft officials said in a blog post that the company was on track to achieve the Top Secret U.S. classified data (Defense Information Systems Agency Impact Level 6) certification by the first quarter of 2019. That certification is necessary for hosting the most sensitive and classified information.

Microsoft officials announced plans to expand its Azure Government Secret service for handling classified data last October but didn't provide at that time a deadline as to when the updated service would be available. Azure Government Secret is meant to provide multi-tenant cloud infrastructure and cloud capabilities to U.S. Federal Civilian, Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, and US Government partners working within Secret enclaves.

Microsoft also is planning to expand FedRAMP High coverage to its Azure public cloud by the end of the year and to bring its growing Azure Data Box family of migration appliances to government customers, as well, as noted in today's blog post.

On October 11, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will be speaking at Microsoft's Government Leaders Cloud Forum, an invitation-only event for government customers in Washington, D.C.