So, why Azure for defence? The key thing was hybrid capability, Mcleod said.
Particularly in New Zealand, the challenge in the past has been with data sovereignty and latency.
Hybrid had really filled that gap but there was still a capability gap in the field, until JEDI pulled that together and provided seamless governance across all deployment scenarios.
Ragg said COVID-19 had sped up the adoption of tools such as unified communications, remote technologies, and collaboration much more broadly.
Customers would typically do these projects over three to six and maybe nine months, he said.
Now everyone was trying to get on and systems were falling over because capacity had not been planned.
Demand for Microsoft Teams had been huge. Roughly 280,000 people were licensed to use Teams under the all of government contract, he said, but many were still in the process of implementation.
Once they get on, they can then turn on other features, such as security, to collaborate across agencies or outside with NGOs, and from home and office.
That adoption had led to changes in operating models and skill-sets within IT for both customers and partners, often with a hybrid or blended approach used to manage both the legacy and new environments.
Mcleod said adoption of Microsoft 365 very widespread and that helped customers to get their heads around cloud before wholesale migration to Azure.
One big advantage of that was that Microsoft was probably biggest connectivity provider in world, not over the open internet, but over the company's own, proprietary wide area network.
Microsoft's new cloud region, a set of two datacentres initially in the Auckland area, would offer three clouds, Microsoft Azure and 365 and later Dynamics 365, the company's enterprise applications suite.
These would be new builds and not repurposed existing datacentres because Microsoft had a "very definitive blueprint" about how it built to deliver the services it delivered.
The time-frames for go-live would firm up as the project progressed.
Ragg said the project had been seen as a "vote of confidence" from Microsoft in New Zealand as a safe and stable place and held up by the Prime Minister as an example of foreign investment.
He said he fully expected workloads in Australia and probably some from Singapore coming to New Zealand for those reasons as well.
Some New Zealand organisations in or going into Microsoft's Australian datacentre regions could also be repatriated when the local facilities were commissioned.
With two local datacentres, there would also be separate "availability zones" within the region, McLeod said. Australia would provide another point for site recovery outside the local geography for extra resiliency.
The focus was on working with defence and across government to help people move to the cloud, "starting now", the presenters told the virtual attendees.
Readiness was key, said Mcleod.
Microsoft was working with government customers to help them plan and prepare their cloud shifts and had partners ready to help accelerate that, building migration and application modernisation plans and more.
IDEAS2020 was organised by the New Zealand Defence Industry Association.