VHA looks into the cloud

VHA looks into the cloud

Summary: Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has started considering cloud computing services to help serve its technology infrastructure needs as part of a planned wider consolidation of its datacentre environment.

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Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has started considering cloud computing services to help serve its technology infrastructure needs as part of a planned wider consolidation of its datacentre environment.

According to the company's general manager of business support systems, Ruth Bradley, the company currently has four main datacentres and four extra "rooms" — "if you want to think of it like that". The mobile telco will be looking to move to a simplified structure as part of an ongoing consolidation of its assets after its merger between the previous Vodafone and Hutchison businesses in Australia.

In an interview yesterday, Bradley said it was the sort of consideration that anyone in the technology space would be going through at the moment — what infrastructure would sit in public clouds and what in private. The executive said an "explosion" in stored data was hard to keep pace with was one rationale behind cloud computing options being considered.

The news comes as many major organisations located around Australia have cloud computing projects either underway or on the drawing board. Several of the major banks, such as Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, have already deployed extensive private cloud infrastructure inside their operations, while the Federal Government recently released a key consultation paper outlining a new approach to the cloud computing phenomenon across the Federal Government.

VHA's datacentre consolidation project will be its next major internal IT initiative in the wake of a decision announced yesterday by the telco to appoint Indian IT services giant Tech Mahindra as its new IT managed services provider, in a deal that the Australian Financial Review valued at around $250 million.

The contract will cover day-to-day IT operations and infrastructure such as servers and datacentres (including break/fix support) across both of VHA's mobile brands — Vodafone and 3 — in addition to application maintenance and management. However, it doesn't cover corporate desktop services or software development, with VHA planning a new panel of suppliers for future development work.

The IT services were previously being provided, Bradley confirmed, by Ericsson and Tata Consultancy Services on the Ericsson side of the business, and by HP and IBM on the Vodafone side.

Bradley said that the procurement process for the Tech Mahindra deal kicked off close to a year ago, with a good level of competition from suppliers for the deal through a competitive tender process.

Some in Australia's technology services market have painted the raft of Indian services firms operating locally as cut-price operators, with cheaper prices due to their use of offshore labour. However, Bradley pointed out that most major IT services firms, including HP and IBM, also operated offshore facilities.

Throughout the tender process, she said, Tech Mahindra had consistency demonstrated understanding of VHA's requirements, especially the telco's desire to improve its services to its customers through the contract. "The way that we would describe them is as very customer-centric," said Bradley.

Topics: Cloud, Data Centers, Storage, Telcos

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