Microsoft taps Fujitsu for UK-based Azure

Fujitsu plans to bring Azure capabilities into its Stevenage datacentre next year and to start offering migration services for Microsoft's cloud platform

Fujitsu is to open the first UK-based Windows Azure datacentre, as part of a cloud-computing partnership with Microsoft.

The Japanese company plans to bring Azure capabilities into its Stevenage Tier 3 datacentre "within the first half of 2011", the companies said on Thursday. This will allow the partners to offer conversion and replatforming services to British software providers, to help them migrate applications into Microsoft's public cloud service, Windows Azure.

"This announcement says for us that we're very clearly aligned with Microsoft," Andrew Braban, chief technology officer in Fujitsu's apps division, told ZDNet UK. "This isn't just us going out there and offering services on a public Azure platform."

The move builds on a strategic partnership between the two companies announced in July. The alliance focuses on joint provision of services and hardware for Windows Azure, Microsoft's answer to cloud-computing platforms like Amazon Web Services' Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Rackspace's Compute and OpenStack.

Fujitsu is already providing replatforming services for trial customers, and it intends to offer the services generally from the first quarter of 2011, according to Braban.

This will mark the first time that Azure services are available from a UK-based datacentre, as they are currently served from Microsoft's European node in Dublin, he added. That could be important to British companies bound by data protection regulations that require data to be located within the legal borders of the UK.

Pricing for the replatforming services depends on the scope of the project, according to Braban. The cost of moving an application into Azure will be calculated for each project using a Microsoft-developed program that assesses the code's "maturity for migration to the Azure platform", backed up by Fujitsu consultancy services, Braban said.


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