Hoping to take cloud computing mainstream
SunGard Availability Services has unveiled SunGard as a Service, a fully managed private cloud platform.
The company says that the suite is made up of five main components – connectivity, security, load balancing, computing power and managed tiered storage. Each component is individually scalable and customisable, giving customers the choice to set-up their private cloud as they need.
The platform will be delivered on a shared infrastructure operating across SunGard’s data centres throughout the UK. The firm has doubled its data centre capacity over the last 18 in preparation for the new cloud operations.
The company says that by using SunGard as a Service, companies will be able to reduce capital expenditure on IT projects and run them on an operation expenditure basis instead. The new platform should enable CIOs to keep their teams focused on managing processes and apps within the organisation, as the IT systems will be managed by a team of SunGard specialist engineers.
Keith Tilley, UK managing director of SunGard Availability Services told CBR that the platform is an ideal starting point for companies looking to embrace cloud computing, due to the cost savings it offers. “It’s a great story for a new entrant,” he said, “because otherwise they are looking at raising the capital for hardware and software. With this you just pay per month or year.”
Tilley added that SunGard as a Service is based around resilience and security, two factors that are often listed as potential barriers to widespread cloud adoption. “We have multiple data centres so there is no issue with data loss, and backup is built-in but customers can still use additional backup if they require,” he said.
SunGard as a Service is the first step on a full cloud strategy at SunGard, Tilley added, with the ultimate aim of creating a cloud platform that enables customers to provision what they need whenever they need it through a portal. Tilley said that the finished product is a few years away.
Tilley added that he hopes potential customers will be swayed by the fact that SunGard is vendor agnostic, meaning that clients do not have to worry about which hardware vendor they use and can change suppliers without any disruption to the SunGard service. “We have also been doing this for 30 years,” he added, “so we bring a certain experience and reputation to the market.”
The first customer, a big name in the financial services market, has already been signed up to SunGard as a Service. Tilley hopes that the deployment will give cloud computing the kick it needs to cement its position as a viable IT platform. “Deployments like this will add gravitas to cloud computing – something that is not going away,” he said.
“Cloud computing is proving of interest to organisations of all sizes looking for high quality, flexible server and storage capacity. To meet this demand, providers of cloud services need to ensure that their offerings are scalable, easy to implement, readily accessible and, of course, secure,” said Bob Tarzey, analyst and director, Quocirca. “Those providers that achieve this will help their customers attain the ultimate goal of highly available computing resources at a cost, which is hard to achieve in-house and can be funded out of operating expenditure.”
Mats Lillienberg, chief technology officer of SunGard Financial Systems, said: “We recognised that in order to offer true cloud-based Software-as-a-Service solutions to our blue chip customers, we needed to assure them that we have the secure cloud infrastructure in place to protect their data at all times. Now, with SunGard Availability Services’ network of highly resilient data centres, we are able to offer fully scalable, high performance computing, managed by experienced and highly skilled engineers.”