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Monday, 01 March 2010 17:11

Cloud computing flies the green and gold


Australian organisations interested in cloud computing but unwilling to send their data offshore are among early targets for Fujitsu's first iteration of cloud based services underpinned by a network of 97 global data centres, 12 of which are in Australia.

The company today launched infrastructure as a service in both Australia and the UK. Speaking at Kickstart 2010, Fujitsu CEO Rod Vawdrey said that Government in particular could now feel more comfortable about the location of its data.

Customers of Fujitsu's cloud services could choose if they wanted to specify that their data be stored and processed in Australia. However the company expects that over time cloud computing users will become more agnostic about the physical location of their data.

Nevertheless Vawdrey acknowledged that although 'It shouldn't matter where they are (data centres) it still does because governments want to know where you locate your data. This is less of technical and more of a policy restraint.'

Fujitsu has developed a do it yourself cloud portal which allows customers to log on and order up the infrastructure they require.  It's this facility, and the ability to pay for the service online, is what distinguishes this offering from more traditional managed service provision according to the company.

Marc Silvester, Fujitsu's global chief technical officer, in Australia for the launch said customers; 'Could go on the web site, use a credit card or purchase order and select their configuration,  for something even as simple as a Windows server.'

Given Fujitsu's heritage as an enterprise supplier the credit card option does seem a little far fetched at present, although the company  did not rule out selling to small or even micro businesses in the future.

Like most cloud purveyors the company is pushing the potential economic benefits of the approach. In a release issued today Vawdrey claimed; 'By paying for computing infrastructure, data storage and applications as they go, customers can realise savings of up to 40 per cent.'

In Australia the company has yet to sign up a user for its cloud service, although Vawdrey said five active projects were underway. The first clients are expected in May. In the UK there are three full end to end users of Fujitsu' s infrastructure as a service, with another 30 signed up for storage as a service.

Locally the company has been building and overhauling its data centre network aiming to bring them up to Tier 3 standard.  Although the company has 12 local data centres, some of those were acquired through the KAZ takeover and there will be rationalisation, according to Vawdrey.

He said eventually Fujitsu would have nine local Tier 3 data centres. (Five of the 12 current Australian data centres are classed as Tier 3)

One of the next Tier 3 centres to come on line will be the company's new Perth facility.  The anchor client for that centre has not been announced, but it is believed to be either the Commonwealth Bank or its subsidiary BankWest.

CBA CIO Michael Harte has been the most vocal of the big banks' CIOs regarding his enthusiasm for cloud computing. The Perth data centre would provide him with an opportunity to effectively sandpit the concept - possibly with BankWest.

Although Fujitsu's adventures in the cloud kick off with infrastructure as a service, it also plans to roll out applications as a service, then business activity as a service, and finally a content as a service offering for which is it developing a brokered content model.

In the applications space the first cabs off the rank seem likely to be SAP's business intelligence offering and offered through Fujitsu data centres.



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