Summary:

A cloud orchestration layer comprising VMware components integrated by Capgemini will help businesses create vertical cloud service suites to meet their needs, says a Capgemini executive.

If the number of alliance announcements flowing from vendors is any indication, cloud computing really is gaining traction.  On Thursday, VMware and Capgemini said they’re working together to build a cloud orchestration layer.  That news comes just days after systems integration giants CSC and HCL Technologies unveiled a global alliance to move legacy applications to cloud and Google announced plans for a revised cloud partner program.

VMware and Capgemini have worked together before — indeed Paris-based Capgemini partners with an array of cloud providers. The difference now is they are collaborating to build joint intellectual property.  This “cloud platform will enable business orchestration that could not be done otherwise,” said Raf Howery, the Capgemini senior vice president leading the charge.

Enterprise customers can use that cloud layer to pull together services from an array of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers including Amazon Web Services, VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Services (VCHS) and potentially Microsoft Azure.

This joint platform, now in pilot, will incorporate several VMware components including vCloud Automation Center, vCenter Operations Management Suite and  IT Business Management Suite. VMware and Capgemini will go to market together but Capgemini will have exclusive rights to sell it for the first year, Howery said. General availability is set for the first half of this year.

In the scenario Howery described, there are three cloud layers. At the base there is infrastructure — provided by the aforementioned AWS, VCHS, Microsoft Windows Azure clouds. Then there’s a middle layer, like the one described above, that lets the customer aggregate base services needed from the infrastructure providers. Then atop that there’s a business application layer that will likewise aggregate Software-as-a-Service applications from many providers — say Salesforce.com for CRM; BMC’s Remedy OnDemand for help desk ticketing, and business intelligence tools from the SaaS vendor of choice.

Using these layers, a company can create its own cloud vertical for specific solutions, he said.

The appeal for big businesses is that this could alleviate worries of relying overly much on a single cloud provider — although admittedly they will be using Capgemini as a single integration partner and also on a ton of VMware technology to accomplish that. So it’s sort of pick your dependency, I guess.

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