Microsoft and French defence electronics group Thales have committed to create a common defence cloud that is designed specifically for use by armed forces.
Based on Microsoft's Azure Stack platform, the "flexible cloud application platform" will allow armed forces to keep sensitive data inside their own portable IT infrastructure.
Azure Stack is an appliance made by several vendors that allows users to effectively run a local, on-premises instance of Azure.
Thales is effectively giving Azure Stack military-grade security and resiliency capabilities, in an effort to make the technolog more attractive to defence agencies.
In particular, Microsoft said in a statement that it hoped to encourage "armed forces to securely store sensitive data within their own infrastructures" based on Azure kit.
"Microsoft’s Azure Stack platform will be delivered as an integrated system and will form the foundation on which Thales will integrate its connectivity and end-to-end cybersecurity and encryption solutions," the two firms said.
"[It] will provide armed forces with a flexible cloud application platform that goes far beyond the basic functionalities of data storage and management, offering functionality that existing secured defence clouds do not currently possess."
Thales will undertake on-the-ground configuration of the new systems.
"Each integrated system will require a level of autonomy, and must be capable of working offline in case of a connection loss due to conditions on the ground," Thales said.
"Systems must also be portable (as opposed to large data centre infrastructures typical of commercial clouds), and be ruggedised and hardened to ensure resilience when deployed in the field."
In Australia, Microsoft is working to meet security standards set by local defence authorities in order for its Azure public cloud to be allowed to carry classified government data.
iTnews contributed to this report.