AWS Public Sector Blog

10 years of government cloud innovation with AWS GovCloud (US)

Ten years ago, the federal government was only just beginning to adopt cloud computing services. In the early days, there were concerns about how much cloud services would cost and whether they’d be secure enough for sensitive government data.

Those were early days for the AWS public sector business, too. When the public sector business launched in 2010, we focused almost exclusively on the US federal government. And though few people knew what cloud was at the time, we focused on listening to our customers and working backwards from their needs.

In listening to our government customers, we heard their concerns about cost and security. They also needed to innovate ahead of demand, and required a highly secure and compliant infrastructure to do it.

That’s why we launched AWS GovCloud (US) in 2011. AWS GovCloud (US) is isolated cloud infrastructure and services, subject to Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) High and Department of Defense (DoD) Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guidelines (SRG) Levels 4-5. Additionally, government agencies with data subject to regulatory requirements such as International Trade and Arms Regulation (ITAR) needed a cloud environment that is physically located in the US and accessible only by US persons. With the launch of AWS GovCloud (US) ten years ago, we became the first cloud provider to build cloud infrastructure specifically designed to meet US government security and compliance needs.

One of our earliest customers was NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Using AWS GovCloud (US), NASA JPL was able to move quickly, acquire IT resources on-demand, and save money by paying only for the resources they used.

For example, the Mars Curiosity Rover, which landed in 2012, has been leveraging AWS GovCloud (US) to process and share images from Mars and use data analytics to assist in course correction. AWS GovCloud (US) continues to support JPL’s Mars missions, including by processing and hosting science and engineering data from Perseverance’s Mars 2020 mission.

Over time, we’ve continued to innovate and offer new capabilities through AWS GovCloud (US). For example, we launched a second AWS GovCloud (US) infrastructure region in the United States, AWS GovCloud (US-East), in 2018. Last year, we announced that AWS Outposts is supported in AWS GovCloud (US) Regions, extending AWS infrastructure, services, APIs, and tools to virtually any customer datacenter, co-location space, or on-premises facility. And we continue to innovate to meet the demands of new regulatory requirements. For example, last year we introduced our Compliant Framework for Federal and DoD Workloads in AWS GovCloud (US), a new AWS Solutions Implementation to help customers accelerate their Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) and DoD SRG compliance, while reducing the level of technical effort, cost, and risk.

We’re also seeing government agencies modernize how they deliver their critical services. For example, to help bring the decennial census online, the US Census Bureau moved its website to AWS GovCloud (US).

For Amazonians, AWS GovCloud (US) represents a deep and lasting commitment to give government agencies and their contractors the tools and solutions to address mission-critical functions—and begin to innovate in ways they couldn’t using traditional on-prem systems. We’re proud to be a leader in this space and to innovate on behalf of our government customers.

We’ve come a long way over the past ten years, but still consider these early days for government cloud innovation. As we like to say—it’s always Day One. As the US government continues to modernize the way it delivers its critical services, AWS is committed to be a part of that mission by providing the most innovative, efficient, and effective solutions.

Learn more about AWS GovCloud (US) and read more stories of how our customers are using AWS GovCloud (US).

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