Microsoft has announced the Preview for Azure Government Department of Defense (DoD) regions. The release is an Impact Level 5-ready cloud infrastructure and platform. In its announcement, Microsoft points out that it is the only hyperscale cloud provider to offer such a high level support to the DoD. The company adds it expands its commitment to the Azure Government platform.
The company has doubled down on its Azure Government strategy this week during the 5th annual Government Cloud Forum. Microsoft announced the platform has grown three times in 2016. Operations Management Suite (OMS) and Government Marketplace were also made widely available.
Through this preview, Microsoft is giving customers early access to DoD regions. With the ability to explore the infrastructure, the company is hoping for customer feedback to improve the platform before full launch. In the blog post, Microsoft confirmed general availability will come early 2017.
Microsoft has previously detailed the capabilities of Azure Government DoD regions in a previous post:
Department of Defense-specific Office 365 and Azure. By the end of 2016, physically isolated versions of Azure Government and Office 365 US Government Defense specifically for the Department of Defense (DoD) will be available in two new dedicated regions. These regions will also connect to Department of Defense (DoD) networks via Microsoft Express Route.
DoD Information Impact Level 5. These versions of Office 365 and Azure are built from the ground up to meet DoD Impact Level 5 controls. DoD agencies and companies managing controlled information will be able to use this platform for Department of Defense National Security System data. Microsoft is on track to achieve a DoD Impact Level 5 Provisional Authorization for both Office 365 and Azure.
Two additional Azure Government regions in the South West and South Central United States. Today we're announcing our intent to expand Azure Government from new regions in Arizona and Texas. Slated to be generally available in 2017, the new regions will add to our existing regions in Virginia and Iowa and are new additions beyond the Department of Defense regions mentioned above. Now, Microsoft has a total of six dedicated regions for government customers – significantly more than any other cloud provider. Combined with dedicated Government ExpressRoute options, Microsoft offers government agencies broad choice of where they host their data and where they connect directly to Microsoft's infrastructure.
To access DoD regions, customers need to pass a pre-qualification process. Microsoft says this is to verify that the organization is secure and to check its intended use of the platform.