Microsoft has announced the availability of Microsoft Azure Stack for Azure Government customers. This announcement comes in the midst of a battle among top cloud providers to win the $10 billion Pentagon JEDI contract.
With the new offering, Azure Stack can be integrated with the Azure government, providing customers with a hybrid cloud solution for government-specific applications.
The new Stack for government also offers expedited compliance with the FedRAMP High certification, delineating data security requirements that must be met for government cloud applications. This new functionality will be offered in addition to existing cloud security features previously available to Azure Government customers.
According to Microsoft’s announcement, the new Azure Stack release was created to address challenges specific to the federal government, including legal and regulatory requirements as well as technical conditions such as connectivity and latency.
The primary benefits of adding Azure Stack to Azure Government include consistency, as customers can develop and deploy applications in the Government function, then deploy them on-premises using the Stack. This not only speeds up the development cycle, it also helps users to meet compliance and regulatory requirements.
The Azure Stack also enables data processing in the field and on the edge, without concern for connectivity or latency. This provides data gathering and analysis capabilities that are particularly attractive to the military, specifically, the Pentagon.
The JEDI contract, sent out for bids just last month, has already been hit with a pre-award protest from Oracle. The Oracle complaint contends that the Pentagon’s intention to award the entire cloud contract – expected to run for a decade and amount to billions in revenues – to a single company is improper.
Deborah Hellinger, spokesperson for Oracle, said that the decision to make the entire contract a single award is “contrary to the industry’s multi-cloud strategy, which promotes constant competition, fosters innovation and lowers prices.”
The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the agency responsible for evaluating Oracle’s complaint, previously sided with Oracle in a similar complaint. In February, Oracle filed a complaint with the GAO over a $950 million contract that it argued was awarded to REAN Cloud without following competitive procedures.