Aussie govt aloof on cloud: CSC

Aussie govt aloof on cloud: CSC

Summary: The global head of CSC's cloud business has this week met with the representatives from the Federal Government to talk about cloud, but feels that the company's not getting the same reception that it would in the US.

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The global head of CSC's cloud business has this week met with the representatives from the Federal Government to talk about cloud, but feels that the company's not getting the same reception that it would in the US.

Speaking at the Australian launch of the BizCloud product in Sydney today, Siki Giunta told journalists that while her conversations with the government had been productive, she sensed a wariness to deploying agency data into the cloud.

"AGIMO's position is that [cloud is] not safe, or ready for prime time, I agree. Not every workload is ready for cloud, but there is a lot of workloads already in the cloud," she said today.

AGIMO (the Australian Government Information Management Office) has come under fire from industry about its hesitance towards the stability and security of cloud computing, but said that recent service issues in the Amazon EC2 cloud had vindicated its cautious position.

Giunta said that she felt there is a lack of collaboration between the ICT industry and the government in Australia.

"Collaboration between industry and government on cloud in the US is very high," she said, with US government agencies working together with the industry on best practices. "I didn't see that in Canberra. I didn't feel that."

Giunta's comments came as the company announced the release of its BizCloud product in Australia.

BizCloud is a private cloud deployed on-premise by CSC and paid for by a rental model with three tiers of service: Standard, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus. The infrastructure as a service offering is already available in North America, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

"There is a model for every organisation — whether you want self-managed or a managed service option, or you want private, public or a hybrid cloud, CSC is following through on our promise of delivering the right cloud, the right way. With CSC, every organisation can easily make the initial move to "as a service" — infrastructure, platform and software on demand," Giunta said in a statement, adding that the service has an availability rating of 99.95 per cent.

CSC's management team said that the offering eliminates many of the barriers of entry into the cloud, including security and downtime concerns.

"Australian organisations have been uncertain about the move from traditional IT to the cloud. In an Australian first, customers can now take a safe first step to a pre-configured, integrated and tested private cloud on their own premises in just 10 weeks," CSC Australia's chief technology officer Bob Hayward said in a statement.

Giunta said today that CSC would work to integrate offerings of its other business units into the BizCloud offering to make it relevant to different markets, including the addition of iSoft healthcare software into the BizCloud suite for hospitals.

CSC recently closed the acquisition of Australian-based iSoft after much legal back and forth.

The BizCloud announcement also saw the appointment of Paul Gibbs to head up the Cloud Computing and Services business for CSC in Australia.

Gibbs told ZDNet Australia that while he has a big job ahead of him, he's confident that he can succeed in CSC's target markets, being the mining sectors of Queensland and Western Australia, where there is already a huge demand for data-intensive, 24/7 cloud computing services.

Recently, IBM Australia has also looked to muscle in on the Australian mining sector, after managing director Andrew Stevens told ZDNet Australia that the company would import the best talent into mining areas so that it could tap into the resources boom.

Gibbs said that while IBM Australia is a legitimate competitor to CSC's cloud business in resource-rich states, he feels that his company has a better cultural fit for miners to do business with.

Topics: Cloud, Health, Legal, Outsourcing

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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4 comments
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  • No wonder the government is wary when both CSC and IBM are, it seems, bound by US laws such as the patriot act that ignore other countries laws when convenient. I'm sure they'd be more receptive to a hosted fully owned and located in Australia.
    gr1f
  • Outsourcing by any other name is still outsourcing, you need have all your security policies, benefit management, business continuity planning, compliance models and contract management etc in place and working. This becomes a tad more problematic if you have no legal power in a foreign country. Watch them like a hawk. Seem to me that CSC are just using this article as means to lobby or pressure government into using their services. Of course there are advantages to a Cloud solution but they have to be weighed up against the disadvantages.

    Of course if you are running a Private Cloud or Community Cloud you have lot more control and can reap some of the benefits. The sweet sound of vendor promise soon dissipates post sales and then reality sets in. AGIMO is only doing its job in this case.

    An Australian based Government only community/private cloud may have a chance, but petty power politics between our three tiers of government give that little chance of success in reality. Little of the success criteria has to do with technology.

    If you think the Carbon debate has gone feral, can you imagine the debate if an Australian Government contemplates storing citizen data such as health in foreign countries not subject to Australian Law. Wide scale use of Public Cloud is a way off, but there is a case for its use in well understood circumstances.

    Use of Cloud services by Government are happening and will continue to happen but not as fast as vendors may like, they only have themselves to blame, after all they have never over sold and under delivered before have they?
    anonymous
  • Hi - I'm Glenn Archer, First Assistant Secretary at AGIMO and I lead AGIMO's Cloud Strategy work.

    The Australian Government Cloud strategy allows agencies to take advantage of cloud-based services where they provide value for money and adequate security. AGIMO encourages agencies to explore the suitability of cloud-based offerings and to strike the balance between delivering the potential financial and business benefits of cloud computing to government with the risks to operations and information in an evolving marketplace. A number of agencies are already making use of Cloud.

    However, given that cloud offerings are still maturing, we are certainly taking a considered approach. Specifically, the strategy outlines a number of activities we will undertake over the next year for us to progressively make greater use of Cloud – and we are making progress against all of these.

    Notwithstanding the comments attributed to Ms Giunta, AGIMO has, in fact, been working very closely with industry for many months now through the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) Cloud Task Force. The AIIA is assisting us with the development of the better practice guides and we have recently agreed to establish several joint working groups to address a number of issues in relation to the use of cloud computing - such as the development of a minimum standard SLA for use by agencies when procuring IaaS and PaaS services.

    The Cloud Strategy can be found at http://www.finance.gov.au/e-government/strategy-and-governance/cloud-computing.html
    glenn_archer
  • Hi Luke

    Thanks for attending CSC's BizCloud launch this week. As you would have seen from the comment made by Glenn Archer on this story, much progress has been made by the AGIMO and AIIA in the area of cloud procurement guidelines.

    To put Ms. Giunta's comments into context, she was making some personal comments about her observations having visited some agencies in ACT (which did not include AGIMO) in contrast to her experiences in the USA, where the federal government has led the way with cloud adoption. These were her own personal experiences she was talking about, where Siki may not have been totally aware of the major difference between the USA and Australia where the major public clouds in the USA are in-country, which has not been the case here, which has led to an entirely appropriate different stance on risk being adopted.

    I am personally heavily involved in the AIIA-AGIMO work to put in place informed guidelines for federal agencies around cloud and would be happy to provide you with some additional context on this initiative.
    bob_hayward