CSC lays its cloud cards on the table

By Brett Winterford on Feb 15, 2010 1:48 PM
Filed under Hardware

Lofty plans, but no customers just yet.

CSC Australia has announced the vendors it will partner with and services it plans to offer as part of its 'cloud computing' strategy, laying out a roadmap for journalists and analysts at an event in Sydney late last week.

During 2010, CSC Australia plans to launch an exhaustive number of 'cloud' services - covering the full gambit of infrastructure-as-a-service (server compute and storage on demand), virtual desktops, application development and testing in the cloud, plus the online delivery of a range of collaboration, communication and office productivity applications from Google and Microsoft.

Infrastructure

CSC said it planned to launch infrastructure-as-a-service (servers and storage on demand), using a similar pricing model to Amazon.com, before the close of 2010.

CSC already resells the Terremark cloud compute service in the United States, but its local operation is yet to decide whether to adopt the same strategy in Australia or build its own interface.

CSC has chosen to base its infrastructure service on virtualisation software from VMware, server and networking hardware from Cisco Systems and storage hardware from EMC - (collectively known as the "VCE alliance") - in what CSC is branding its 'V-Cube' service.

CSC chief technology and information officer Bob Hayward said the integrator had already purchased equipment from these vendors to launch cloud services from its Australian data centres.

CSC would also recommend VCE kit to customers to build their own 'internal cloud', he said, provided that they did not have a preference for competing solutions.

"We have come to the conclusion that VCE together is the best technology on the market commercially to build the platform," Hayward said.

 "We will work with whatever infrastructure our customer has," he said. "We will still work with Juniper, with Brocade, with HDS, with NetApp, whatever the customer wants. But in the absence of our customers having a preference, we believe [VCE] is the optimum platform. We need to have a point of view, something with which we have experience."

The beauty of the VCE cartel, he added, was that "none [of the vendors] were in competition" with CSC - in contrast to other infrastructure vendors such as HP, IBM and Dell, which all have IT services arms.

Platform

CSC would also assist customers to access and use platform-as-a-service offerings, such as web-based application development environment Skytap or application testing environment, SOASTA.

The company has also made a strategic investment in the resale of Cordys, a software vendor based in the Netherlands, which attempted to extend the working life of existing investments in business software from the likes of SAP and Oracle.

CSC also planned to introduce customers to Google's AppEngine, VMware-owned Springsource and Microsoft's Azure platform.

Software

CSC has struck a deal with Google to offer consulting and systems integration services around Google Apps (Gmail, Google calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Groups, Google Video and Google Postini).

The company was also set to offer Microsoft's Collaborative Online Services - multitenant versions of Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint, from within a "secure CSC data centre" in Australia - pitching CSC head to head with Telstra's T-Suite.

Further, CSC will resell access to Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Service (BPOS) - which was essentially the delivery of Microsoft's traditional Office suite on a utility basis from Microsoft's Azure data centre in Singapore.

Services

CSC was also putting together a consulting practice around cloud computing to ease customers into using the technology.

Hayward said CSC did not have any customers in Australia currently consuming cloud services from CSC, but he claimed to be in discussions with around 40 Australian enterprises interested in cloud computing that were not on CSC's books.

Meanwhile, CSC's pipeline for traditional systems integration and IT outsourcing was "as good as it's ever been," he said.

He expected some time to pass before cloud computing became the norm. For now, he said, CSC would focus on developing a "trusted cloud" model to help migrate enterprise customers into consuming cloud services.

While it was "no use trying to compete with the economies of scale a company like Google or Microsoft can achieve using virtualisation in the cloud," systems integators wouldl still be required in a cloud computing world, he said. Where Google brought "product leadership" and scale, CSC brought customer intimacy, he said, referring to its domain-area skills in vertical markets such as financial services, natural resources and the public sector.

Transitioning a customer from traditional email services to cloud-based services, he said, still required high levels of skills that usually don't exist in-house.

"The transition from an enterprise suite like Novell Groupware or Lotus Notes [to the cloud] is not trivial," he said.

Helping migrate customers to the cloud "could hurt us in the short term," he said, as customers discover easily-consumed services that were otherwise offered by the outsourcers.

"But if we don't do it, someone else will do it to us."

 
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