There is further evidence this morning that cloud computing is getting specialized with reports that Microsoft may be in the process of developing one or more versions of its cloud operating system customized for government users.
Microsoft Government Cloud OS?
The report that Microsoft is in the process of doing this surfaced in a report by ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley who, citing unnamed sources, says that a new specialized version of Microsoft Cloud OS’s platform is currently under development.
While this probably won’t be confirmed until the final product is ready for release, it does correspond with an emerging trend that we saw last week with ClearData where verticals that are managing sensitive data, and who want to move to the cloud, are looking for specialized, secure products.
In last week’s example ClearDATA developed a HIPAA compliant cloud for those in the health sector. By the same reasoning it would make sense for the government and government agencies to do the same.
According to Foley work on the new government cloud OS would include Microsoft's set of public, hybrid and private offerings, and may end up being called "Fairfax" -- Fairfax being the home of the US government’s General Services Administration.
Last year, Microsoft unveiled an Office 365 version for government, which provided all the services of Office 365, on a separate, multi-tenant community cloud for the government.
As such, the precedent is there and with the government looking for economic savings across all its departments and agencies, a separate cloud for the government that would reduce costs in the long term seems like a winner.
Cloud Computing Getting Specialized
The move to specialized cloud offerings seems almost inevitable for industries that have rigorous data protection guidelines. Health service provides are moving to the cloud, and even banking is moving to the public cloud according to a recent post on American Banker, although how long before it starts looking for specialized products is open for speculation.
Meanwhile, the recent revelations by Edward Snowden around the National Security Agency’s practice of harvesting third-party information will cost the U.S. cloud computing industry between US$ 22 to US$ 35 billion in the next three years, according to the non-governmental Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
All of this is likely to push some verticals towards specialized and highly protected clouds and result in the evolution of a number of different cloud services to meet different requirements and regulatory environments. Definitely a trend to watch.
Title image courtesy of Vacclav (Shutterstock)