Unisys introducing software for private clouds

The offering is targeted at companies that are still wary of public clouds for security reasons

Unisys announced Monday software and services that will enable organizations to deploy and run their own internal private clouds, as part of its strategy to offer customers a variety of cloud computing options.

The private cloud offering addresses the requirement of organizations that prefer a private cloud for mission-critical applications that use sensitive data, so they can retain greater control over their own and their customers' information, Rich Marcello, president for Consulting and Integration Solutions at Unisys Technology, said in a telephone interview on Thursday.

In a poll of customers conducted in June by the company, 72 percent said security was their biggest concern about moving workloads to the cloud. Although there is no technical reason for this, some customers are still not convinced that an external cloud is reliable or robust, and are likely to move in stages, Marcello said.

The new Unisys Secure Private Could Solution, which will be available from next month, follows the company's introduction earlier this year of technology and services for a managed cloud service on shared IT infrastructure that is hosted by Unisys. The company also plans to launch next year a hybrid cloud that combines private and public cloud capabilities.

Customers will be able to run many of their applications unchanged in a private cloud, and Unisys is also offering these companies services to help move their workload into the cloud, Marcello said. Customers can also use their own hardware, or buy hardware from Unisys, he added.

Organizations of any size can set up their private clouds with an up front investment of US$50,000 for the management server, software, and services, Marcello said. The software will include provisioning, virtualization, and management software that provides for features such as a self-service portal, he added. Ongoing maintenance will involve extra fees for hardware and software support and updates.

Unisys' Stealth technology, that cloaks data through multiple levels of authentication, encryption, and bit-splitting into multiple packets, is also available for private clouds though at an extra price, Marcello said. He did not however expect customers to deploy Stealth on private clouds, as they would have their own firewalls and other security mechanisms in place. Stealth is a key component of Unisys' managed cloud service.

Unisys has also announced that its managed cloud service will support new platforms including Microsoft's .Net, IBM Websphere, and Oracle software platforms from this month, so that customers can move their applications that were developed on these software stacks unchanged to the cloud. When the service was launched earlier this year it supported only Java, Marcello said.

The company has also added disaster recovery as a service for customers of its managed Secure Cloud Solution. This new service provides business continuity and disaster recovery services on a subscription basis, it added.

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