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Fujitsu unveils global cloud offering

Japanese computing giant Fujitsu has outlined its roadmap for global cloud computing - with Australia the first market outside Japan to trial the service.

Infrastructure as a service is the first service offered in Fujitsu's cloud, with the company also planning to offer applications as a service, activity as a service, and eventually content as a service to round out its cloud based offerings.

Trials of Fujitsu's standardised global cloud will begin in Japan in May with the service offered there commercially from October. Besides Japan and Australia, the other countries in line to offer Fujitsu's cloud services are Singapore, US, UK and Germany.

Cameron McNaught, general manager of solutions for Fujitsu in Australia and New Zealand , said that in Japan 29 pilots were already lined up. In Australia he said the company was 'talking to a couple of global operations,' but acknowledged that Fujitsu's cloud platform would not be deployed locally until the end of the year.

It will not be available commercially until the first quarter of 2011.

In Japan the company has also been pulling together vertical market solutions which can be offered as cloud based services - an agriculture focussed cloud service is one of the first cabs off the rank, along with transport and water. Although McNaught would not specify which vertical markets Fujitsu would focus on in Australia he noted 'We are strong in the public sector, and want to do a lot around Federal and State Government' suggesting that a g-cloud, or government-cloud, could be a local option.

Financial services were also a vertical market of great interest, he said.

As far as pricing was concerned McNaught said that the company was reviewing its strategy at present; 'Our aim is to get to global pricing.

'Australia is the pilot for the first non Japanese cloud,' and as such would play a key role in determining the best international approach to pricing, he said.

Last month Fujitsu announced its first iteration of local cloud based services when the company launched infrastructure as a service in both Australia and the UK, claiming that users could expect to achieve cost savings of up to 40 per cent when compared to owning and operating their own data centres.

McNaught said that the Fujitsu global cloud would be based entirely on Fujitsu hardware and software in the company's data centres around the world. He said that of the 12 data centres the company has in Australia, there were probably three which would be deployed as part of Fujitsu's global cloud network. Melbourne and Perth, along with either Brisbane or Sydney, seem the most likely candidates.

Asked whether clients would be able to select where in the Fujitsu cloud their data resided McNaught was non-committal. 'We totally understand the data and sovereignty issue. We will look at that with global customers,' he said.

Although the company would like to be able to offer choice as to where data was located, he acknowledged the challenges that might pose to Fujitsu in terms of the company's hopes to be able to deliver 'global elasticity to follow the shadow.' This refers to one of the fundamental tenets of cloud computing as far as vendors are concerned - they want to establish large global computing networks which can then be effectively rented out to users as and when they need computer power.

When users in Australia are asleep and demand for computer power is presumably reduced, Fujitsu might want to make the Australian cloud computing data centres available to Northern hemisphere users. While vendors acknowledge many users want to dictate where their data is stored and processed, allowing them to do that may compromise the cloud vendors' ability to deliver real elasticity.


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