Cebit 09 Fujitsu Siemens will launch an enterprise cloud offering this autumn, as it banks on the anything-as-a-service model to tempt cash-strapped customers and give it a raison d'etre once it is borged into new parent Fujitsu.
CTO Joseph Reger, speaking at Cebit, said that there was no point in hardware vendors fighting against cloud-based services. However, he argued, "public" or quasi-public cloud services, such as Amazon's S3, could throw up unexpected issues for enterprise customers.
The location of data has already become an issue, as companies and individuals grapple with the problems of data moving into different jurisdictions. But that's not all. While viewing photos held on a remote server is one thing, Reger argued, having a data intensive business application running applications between a remote server and the office means a very different data pattern. "A $50 a month per seat contract can become a $5000 contract," he Reger said. Comms charges dwarf the charges from the cloud's host.
FSC is betting on private clouds - which look somewhat like a managed services deal. The difference, Reger argued, is that customers will be able to pick and mix which elements of they want to float up in the clou, and will be able to switch partners more easily, rather than being locked into multi-year deals.
The German-based PC and server vendor will offer four levels of service, starting with a hosted basic desktop environment, dubbed Workplace-as-a-service for around €30 per month. Workplace as a service will launch this autumn. It will be followed by more complex offerings covering managed infrastructure, infrastructure solutions up to infrastructure products and services.
Reger said the focus, at least initially, would be on providing “infrastructure as a servive”, admitting that “platform as a service is not currently Fujitsu Siemens strength.” However, that could change as the firm is borged into Fujitsu.
While a €30 a month deal will not - unsurprisingly - include hardware, the vendor is pushing leasing models, so more hardware will be bundled into more complex deals. That means the vendor can still push the tin its factories pump out. Leasing deals also have the benefit that customers can tap operational spending for their software and hardware, rather than capital spending.
Reger insisted there was a role for the vendor's channel partners in pushing and providing the service. However, he was clear that there would be no role for channel partners in actually hosting services or parts of a service. This needed to be taken on by a vendor like, well, Fujitsu. "It's not just the consolidation, it's the high degree of integration."
Reger said the strategy was already in motion before the current global financial crisis erupted - and before Siemens backed out of the Fujitsu Siemens Computers joint venture.
"It's a recognition of the fact that the traditional way of delivering IT, ie selling stuff, is not very efficient."
And Reger does have form here, with the vendor having experimented with similar services aimed at particular groups in the past, including stripped down PCs for older users. ®