AMP moves into the cloud with CSC

CSC's heavy push into cloud computing services earlier this year has already paid off, with financial services group AMP this morning revealing it had selected the IT services giant to host its Microsoft-based email and collaboration needs.

CSC's heavy push into cloud computing services earlier this year has already paid off, with financial services group AMP this morning revealing it had selected the IT services giant to host its Microsoft-based email and collaboration needs.

In a joint statement, the pair said CSC would provide AMP with Collaborative Online Services (COS), which is a version of Microsoft's Exchange, SharePoint and Office Communications Server suites hosted within CSC's Australian servers, utilising underlying hardware and software from partners VMware, Cisco and EMC.

Critically, the service is believed to be "multi-tenanted", which means that multiple customers will use the same infrastructure, giving rise to CSC's description of it as a "private cloud" offering.

"For the past 18 months AMP has been exploring strategies to increase the use of cloud-based services. Starting with low-risk services, we embarked upon a multi-vendor pilot for email and collaboration services as our first production services to move to the cloud," AMP's IT director service management Sharmini Sivathas said in the statement.

"Financial benefits were a key consideration for us, along with interoperability with our current environment, and confidence in our chosen service partner. The Microsoft product suite, the COS solution and delivery by our long-standing IT partner CSC, are key components of AMP's technology roadmap."

AMP has long outsourced key components of its technology infrastructure to CSC including support for its desktops, mainframe and mid-range systems and email. The financial services group is seen as one of CSC's flagship customers in Australia, along with resources giants like BlueScope Steel.

The financial services giant has more than 3500 employees and also works with more than 2000 financial planners in Australia and New Zealand.

The news comes as interest grows from organisations of all sizes in Australia in adopting cloud email services. Many IT managers believe that email has come to be regarded as a commodity service that can safely be shifted to an external provider such as CSC or Google, which is also pushing strongly with its Gmail offering into Australia, although it does not offer servers hosted down under.

The announcement makes AMP one of the first large corporations to make such a massive shift to cloud-based email services since the technology entered Australia. Top-tier telco AAPT also revealed it had switched to cloud email, with the remainder of its 1200 staff recently moved off Exchange and onto Gmail.

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