Microsoft today made available two new Azure cloud regions \u2013 Central 1 and 2 \u2013 aimed squarely at government and its suppliers.\nThe regions, announced in August last year, are located in two Canberra Data Centres facilities in Fyshwick and Hume.\n \nInitially only a \u201crestricted community\u201d of approved critical national infrastructure clients including banks, utilities, telecommunications, healthcare, transport and other sectors will be admitted to the Azure Australia Central regions.\nThe Canberra regions have been launched offering a range of services, including infrastructure virtualisation, data management, security management and application services as a platform. The range and capability will continue to grow.\n\u201cA unique difference of these Azure regions is the capability to locate existing systems, private clouds, specialised networking or safety-critical systems within the same facilities as Azure, and indeed directly connected to Azure. The hybrid flexibility, performance and security this delivers enables the modernisation of even the most complex applications,\u201d the company said.\nAs well as offering direct connectivity within the facilities and direct connectivity over the private Australian Intra Government Communications Network (ICON), Microsoft Azure now offers high-performance, very low latency networking between the two new regions.\n\u201cMicrosoft is deeply committed to Australia and New Zealand and our continued and significant investment in mission critical cloud is testament to that. We expect Azure Australia Central to play a catalysing role in accelerating the transformation of the public sector and through that, enhance the government services millions citizens in both countries utilise every day,\u201d said Steven Worrall, managing director, Microsoft Australia.\n\u201cOrganisations can leverage Azure Australia Central, they benefit from our open approach to computing, and they can use an extensive and growing array of Government-certified Azure services. At the same time, they can co-locate private clouds or other infrastructure right alongside Azure within Canberra Data Centres, with no compromise of trust or performance,\u201d he added.\nThe new Azure regions are intended to serve both Unclassified and Protected data. Australian Signals Directorate \u2018Protected\u2019 level certification was awarded to 25 Microsoft Azure cloud services and ten Office 365 services today.\nThe vendor in late 2014launched its first two Australian Azure regions: Australia East and Australia Southeast.\n \nThe new regions join Microsoft\u2019s global cloud network announced in 50 locations around the world. \nMicrosoft recently announced two new Azure Government regions in the United States for data classified Secret, the availability of France Azure regions, and the intention to deliver new regions in Switzerland, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.\n \n\u201cMicrosoft continues to expand its cloud infrastructure in response to growing customer demand and rapid innovation of cloud services,\u201d said Tom Keane, head of global infrastructure, Microsoft Azure. \u201cAs we drive innovation globally, we listen locally to tailor our approach to serve the specific needs of our customers, as we have for the governments and critical national infrastructure sector in Australia and New Zealand.\u201d\n \nAs part of the announcement, Microsoft revealed a list of 47 launch partners, including global systems integrators, local IT service providers, consultancy firms and software vendors.\nThey include SAP, Telstra Health, AXON, DXC, Accenture, Dimension Data, Veritas, Citrix, Leidos, Intelledox, Gravity, GIS People, Ralleo, RedHat, Cloudera and MapR.