AWS vs Azure heats up in federal market

Amazon Web Services is the market leader for cloud services to the government but Microsoft is applying the pressure as it adds more public sector customers.

Although Amazon Web Services enjoys the lion's share of government cloud infrastructure market, Microsoft is ramping up efforts to attract public sector clients.

In March, the company announced availability to handle classified workloads through Azure Secret along with two new regions that would handle classified data for civilian, defense and intelligence agencies. In July, Microsoft made the Azure Government cloud available in its Arizona and Texas data center regions.

Microsoft Azure Stack was recently made available for Azure Government customers, following plans announced in March to integrate the two services.

Azure Stack is described by Microsoft as an extension to the Azure cloud for running hybrid applications on-premises. In that March announcement, Microsoft said "Azure Stack will integrate with the Azure Government cloud, enabling connections to Azure Government identity, subscription, registration, billing, backup/DR, and Azure Marketplace."

The Azure team followed through on that goal, announcing the integration in August, along with providing government customers with documentation to help Azure Stack workloads become certified at the high level by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.  .

"Azure Stack for Azure Government directly addresses many other significant challenges our top federal government customers face," Microsoft said in announcing the Azure Stack/Azure Government integration. "This includes tough regulatory, connectivity, and latency requirements. This is possible because Azure Stack extends the best of our intelligent edge and cloud innovation and delivers those services anywhere in the environment through a hybrid approach."

Meanwhile, AWS quickly followed up on Microsoft's announcement with a program to help public sector partners leverage the Amazon cloud.

To that end, the company announced the AWS Public Sector Partner Transformation Program, providing assessment, training and enablement services in a 110-day effort to move to the cloud.

"The AWS Public Sector Partner Transformation Program provides partners with the guidance to accelerate the development of their AWS skills and expertise to better serve their government, education, and nonprofit customers’ journeys to the cloud," AWS said.

The two-part program includes two phases consisting of a guided review of an organization's cloud readiness and identification of goals to be met with the transformation plan and a follow-up customized action plan to help achieve those goals.

Organizations completing the plan, AWS said, can:

  • Accelerate business growth by unlocking additional revenue opportunities
  • Enhance credibility through defined and validated cloud capabilities
  • Build a robust go-to-market strategy with AWS to stand out to customers
  • Differentiate their practice for a competitive edge in the market
  • Become eligible for advanced resources, programs, tools and support

In the race for government market dominance, AWS offers AWS for Government, described as a high-availability cloud platform sporting the security and reliability needed by government organizations across all classification levels, including Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret and Top Secret.

Microsoft's Azure Government, meanwhile, provides government agencies with security, protection and compliance, promising to help them modernize legacy infrastructures with flexible, hybrid environments.

This article was first posted to AWSinsider, a sibling site to GCN.

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