Fujitsu Australia has launched an enterprise-grade cloud computing service from two data centres in Sydney, with government and financial sector organisations clearly in its sights.
Once signed up, the locally-based infrastructure-as-a-service platform offers IT administrators the ability to spin up virtual machines within minutes, with granular control over the amount of processor, memory and storage required for any given application.
Fujitsu general manager Cameron McNaught said the service should appeal to large government and finance sector organisations restricted by regulations on the offshoring of data.
"It is important for us to say that it is Australian, it is hosted in Australia and managed by Australians," he said.
The solution is built on enterprise technology from Cisco, VMware and Microsoft, comes with "five nines" of availability within service level agreements, and is backed by several key accreditations.
The two data centres were accredited T4 by ASIO (the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation). Fujitsu's services group was accredited ISO20000 and the security management at the data centres certified ISO20001.
Further, the company had engaged third parties to help Fujitsu achieve DSD (Defence Signals Directorate) certification to potentially secure government data rated "in-confidence" or "protected" in the local Fujitsu cloud.
Fujitsu Australia had also engaged in discussions with APRA (the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority) to ensure the implementation aligned with the latest guidelines set by the regulator in March.
McNaught showed how a virtual machine could be up and running in around five minutes, with several adjustments in variables such as processor and memory each taking a few minutes extra each.
But the sign-up, the creation of a software template and several other functions still required human intervention by Fujitsu staff. The solution included an ITIL-based service desk application for support tickets to be generated.
Fujitsu could have pre-built templates available within 24 hours, McNaught said, with more complex software templates taking two to three days to upload to allow time for Fujitsu to review them for "validation and security".
He said the company was looking into having pre-packed modules such as out-of-the-box builds of SQL or Exchange or LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) in the future.
PAY PER USE
True to cloud definition, the company touted the service as "pay-per-use", but customers will be required to sign up to minimum 30-day terms and pay a "small monthly service fee" regardless of what they are using.
McNaught said that compute resources would "not be billed" whilst any app was in shutdown state. But any storage allocated would still be billed.
"It's also important to note that we don't charge at the high watermark of [server] use," he said. "We charge on average consumption for the month."
McNaught said the cloud compute enabled organisations to "scale up for peaks in computing demand".
But at any one time, Fujitsu will only carry 20 percent more capacity than what a given organisation has provisioned or ordered.
"Let's say you have 100 VMs - we will always carry enough committed to scale to 120," McNaught said. "Any more than 120 and we would ask for a notice period."
Built on Fujitsu hardware and software, McNaught said the company had built the cloud compute to handle "the next five years of growth", and that the company has extra hardware on board that could be provisioned, plus access to more Fujitsu hardware from Japan and Germany if required.
"The size of the SAN alone is 4.1 petabytes in its initial configuration," he said.
McNaught gave journalists a walk-through of the cloud interface - assuming a customer was already signed up and a software template uploaded.
Using a fairly simple interface, the customer chose what operating system the application will run on (Windows and Linux flavours are available from day one), the amount of storage required and in which data centre or data centres the service should be based.
The customer could then designate the minimum CPU and minimum memory required and choose to add additional storage.
The system collected the resources required from the software template and this combination of factors and builds the system - which as mentioned, takes little more than a few minutes.
Storage could also be chosen according to tiered levels (premium versus commodity), whilst data could automatically be replicated between the two data centres (for an additional charge) or backed up by Fujitsu (charged per total protected data per month).
Finally, the customer could specify how long they want this environment to run - scheduling its operation down to the hour.
"You could have 50 VMs provisioned ready to go live at the start of a campaign, which then automatically switch off at the end of the campaign," McNaught said.
This, he suggested, represented extremely tight cost control for IT managers.
Read on for information on Fujitsu's wider cloud computing plans - including a Microsoft Azure platform and a global commodity cloud compute.
ONE OF THREE
The local platform was one of three Fujitsu was rolling out to customers.
By April 2011 the company expected to roll out a commodity global cloud compute-on-demand service, built on the Xen hypervisor, from six data centres spread around the globe.
Fujitsu has also signed an agreement with Microsoft whereby it would support the rollout of the vendor's Azure cloud computing platform - starting with a consulting and resale arrangement initially, sales of Azure appliances once the product is available in Australia, and eventually deploying the Azure platform-as-a-service from Fujitsu's Australian data centres sometime in 2011.
McNaught said customers "wedded to Microsoft technology" might wait for the Azure platform.
Fujitsu Australia also planned to offer Exchange 2010 as a service by the end of October, with Microsoft's collaboration (SharePoint), CRM, unified communications and virtual desktop solutions available for rent by April 2011.