The solution will be based on Microsoft's Azure Stack platform, which is delivered as an integrated system, into which Thales will integrate its connectivity and end-to-end cyber security and encryption solutions. This will handle the most sensitive data, while keeping it hosted at defence headquarters or deployed in the field.
The resulting system will couple the cloud computing power and functionalities of Azure Stack with Thales’ cyber security functionalities, necessary to guarantee the security of all data deemed sensitive and classified by armed forces while reinforcing interoperability and operational excellence.
Because of the unique environment this cloud platform will operate in, such as theatres of operations and forward operating bases in remote locations, the platform will need to be configured differently than a commercial system. Each integrated system will require a level of autonomy, and be capable of working “offline” in case of a connection loss due to conditions on the ground. It will also require systems to be portable and be ruggedised and hardened to ensure resilience when deployed in theatre.
In future applications developments, Azure Stack, augmented by using the Guavus Reflex analytics platform, could give users the ability to analyse large amounts of data in real-time for intelligence gathering, to use military IoT applications involving various types of sensors on the field or even to exchange data with mobile applications for augmented soldiers.
Jean-Philippe Courtois from Microsoft global sales said the partnership with Thales will help speed up the process of digitising the defence sector.
“We are thrilled to announce our unique partnership with Thales to accelerate digital transformation in the defense sector. Our solution, Microsoft Azure Stack, will help armed forces in the analysis of huge volumes of sensitive data in order to make break-through developments," Courtois said.
"Together with Thales, we will be able to provide a flexible cloud platform with an unequalled level of security that will help overcome challenges within the defence industry."
Philippe Keryer, executive vice president, strategy, research and technology at Thales, echoed these sentiments.
“This preferred partnership reflects the shared spirit and passion for breakthrough technologies between our two groups and our teams. We are glad to reinforce our strong relationship with Microsoft through this new venture. Together, we will shape this new technological construct perfectly suited to support the evolving security needs of modern armed forces as they accelerate their digital transformation," he said.