IT services provider CSC has announced a significant expansion of its cloud services offerings. By consolidating old systems into new, multi-core servers, CSC wound up with a lot of empty space in the data centers. So what else to do with that floor space but put in more hardware?
"When you do a lot of virtualization as we've been doing, you get a lot of space back and a lot of energy back. We're using that to launch new services next to our existing hosting services," Siki Giunta, vice president of cloud computing and cloud services at CSC, told InternetNews.com.
Customers can access these new services through CSC Gateway, an e-commerce Web store and portal that simplifies online purchasing of CSC's offerings and provides self-managed administration and reporting for cloud and hosting clients. Clients can manage their services through functions like auto-provisioning, pay-per-use and electronic purchase orders.
"Gateway is the port of entry. It has the catalog of all of the solutions in cloud we offer. There, the customer can see the solution, the price, and buy as well as manage the service, such as who can access it," said Giunta.
The first of the new services is CloudLab, a virtual development and testing environment for building and testing software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps. CloudLab provides on-demand access to a precisely configured, highly scalable and secure environment for quick development and testing of applications. It can be used for application development, developing product demonstrations or for training. By using it as a service, firms can save on the time and money normally spent on setting up and tearing down test environments, CSC said.
The second service is CloudExchange, a service that includes software, platform and infrastructure as-a-service for mail and document sharing and collaboration. CloudExchange supports Exchange 2010 for e-mail and allows employees anywhere to work together to complete a presentation, proposal or contract in real-time while holding a video chat.
CloudExchange provides global access to mail and collaboration services through a browser, with on-demand provisioning of servers and infrastructure and quick expansion of the services to expand as needed. Resources can also be pooled to serve multiple users and teams as needed.
The services are built on CSC's Trusted Cloud Services customer agreement, a service level agreement (SLA) that guarantees uptime and responsiveness. CSC has made this a point of differentiation in the past over its cloud competitors, that it offers the same level of SLA for cloud services as hosted services, with financial penalties on its part should it fail to meet them.
"Customers can be assured the same excellence of delivery we offer for app hosting will be delivered for a cloud environment," said Giunta. "I have talked to a lot of customers, and I would challenge you to find anyone who will meet the penalties on a SLA. They will give you a credit, and what can you do with that? You can't put it on a balance sheet."
In addition to its services, CSC is also offering more of its own home-grown applications, originally sold as hosted apps, as SaaS-enabled apps. One will be a supply chain management program written in Salesforce.com's Force.com platform, which is targeted for September release.
There will be other vertical apps, said Giunta, such as a mortgage application and management app and health care apps. Custom apps are frequently developed for a single customer, and when that customer changes their mind or wants something else, CSC will repurpose it as a SaaS offering and make the app available to all of its customers as a service.