Optus readies cloud computing play

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Optus readies cloud computing play

Alphawest announces huge investment in cloud computing.

Optus-owned IT services company Alphawest plans to launch a large-scale enterprise class cloud computing service early next year.

Alphawest was front and centre at this week's Cisco Networkers conference, committing 90 staff to the event and announcing a series of firsts around the technologies of its major vendor partners.

Alphawest managing director Rob Parcell said the company's 'Infrastructure as a Service' (IaaS) offering would most likely be ready for release in Q1 next year.

Alphawest was pitching its suitability as a cloud services provider via an integrated approach with its parent company, Optus.

Alphawest's general manager of marketing Liam Fraser confirmed that it was "certainly the plan" for Optus/Alphawest to offer a cloud compute service.

"We're part of the vCloud beta trial... that's all about building out infrastructure-as-a-service - allowing computing resources to be available on demand."

Alphawest, he said, has the skills, certifications and processes to connect a customer's environment to enterprise-ready clouds while Optus provided the reach of a network carrier plus an overarching support model.

Alphawest's first goal, however, was to convince customers to build out the right internal infrastructure such that they can burst onto external cloud-based infrastructure services with relative ease.

"Alphawest is focused on getting its customers ready for the computing platforms of the future - cloud computing in particular," Fraser said.

"At the moment, we are focused on making sure customers have the right infrastructure in their own data centres, that they are moving to the next generation of telecommunications networks like the Optus Evolve network, and getting ready to take advantage of cloud services when they become available in the near future."

Tim Hartman, alliances manager at VMware, said "his money is on Optus" as the first Australian telco to market with an enterprise-ready cloud computing play.

"The first to market is Melbourne IT - they have already stood up a service as an entry point into running cloud services," he said. "From an enterprise point of view, my money is on Optus."

Melbourne IT is also building a cloud computing capability as a beta participant in the vCloud Express program, which the company's chief technology officer Glenn Gore describes as "offering early access to a limited subset of vCloud".

Melbourne IT already has 40 customers using vCloud Express, he said.

First to market

Alphawest used its huge presence at Cisco Networkers to announce that it was the first Australian company certified as an authorised technology provider for Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) platform.

UCS is a new suite of data centre products from Cisco, combining a unified network fabric (Ethernet and Fibre Channel) with a line of Intel Nehalem-based x86 servers loaded with up to 384GB of memory. The platform has specifically been built with virtualised environments in mind.

Alphawest already has Cisco's B-series blade servers in production, but claimed another first by showcasing a prototype of the first rack-mounted version of the UCS range - the C-series.

Parcell said he expected the UCS platform to have "a profound effect in the industry".

Addditional reporting by Sholto Macpherson.

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