GoCloud's Weekly Hosted Desktop News Roundup: #9

EC releases cloud strategy, extended Win server 2008 support, IBM announce plans to attract MSPs

Last week we reported on the upcoming European Commission’s release of their cloud computing strategy, which was released on Thursday and was thought to include how the EU can “unleash[] the potential cloud computing in Europe”.

This week, the strategy is a reality and includes the EC’s thoughts on how the technology can deliver around 2.5m new jobs in the EU and boost the overall European economy by 160bn by 2020.

Key areas of the strategy include supporting EU-wide certification schemes for “trustworthy cloud providers”, the development of “safe and fair” contracts including Service Level Agreements and a “European Cloud Partnership with Member States” to ensure that cloud can harness public sector spending, which is around 20% of all IT spending across the region.

"Cloud computing is a game-changer for our economy. Without EU action, we will stay stuck in national fortresses and miss out on billions in economic gains. We must achieve critical mass and a single set of rules across Europe. We must tackle the perceived risks of cloud computing head-on," the EC’s Vice-President Neelie Kroes said.

Colleague Viviane Reding went on to say that “Europe needs to think big” and in order to achieve the cloud goals, there would have to be a “swift adoption of the new data protection framework”, as proposed earlier in the year by the EC.

As many people will know, the cost-saving aspect to cloud computing is one of the driving factors behind take-up and this, according to the EC leads to increased productivity.

The EC point out that organisations who have already adopted cloud solutions see an average save on IT costs of at least 10-20%. It’s hoped that the clearer rules set out in “Unleashing the potential cloud computing in Europe” will help to encourage organisations to adopt the technology quicker than they may have previously planned.

Microsoft extend support for Windows Server 2008

A little while ahead of the release of the cloud-friendly Windows Server 2012, Microsoft has announced that it will continue to provide support for the previous version of the software, Server 2008 until mid-2015.

This will give more time for some tech departments to make the migration to cloud, although this is not the reason MS has extended support. Generally, MS offer a minimum of 5 years Mainstream Support, which has to be continued for 2 years following the release of an upgraded product.

Since MS Server 2012 has not yet officially shipped, this means that support has to be offered for the next 2 years following its commercial release.

Server 2012 is currently available as a preview version and will be fully optimised for cloud, providing "enormous flexibility through hybrid, symmetrical, and web-based applications on-premises and in the cloud,” according to project manager Won Yoo.

IBM announces plans to attract MSPs

IBM has announced plans to deliver its cloud computing model through managed service providers (MSPs), who can market the company’s cloud solutions as a pay-as-you-go model, thought to be better suited to the SME market.

This is to include its PureSystem products, which bring together computers, networking and storage. MSPs will be able to tailor packages from hardware up to suit individual customers, including private clouds and as-a-service offerings.

In a bid to compete with the likes of Amazon, it’s thought that IBM will also be offering a 12-month 0% loan scheme for their systems, storage and software and MSPs will also be allowed to access the company’s Global Centres of Excellence. This will allow IBM to help MSPs build suitable cloud packages for their customers with the help of the hardware giants to back them up.

It’s thought that plans already include more than 1400 MSPs.

“These new initiatives launched by IBM are unfolding new opportunities for our organization not only to create new business opportunities with clients but also seize the opportunity to expand our global reach,” said Craig Gunderson, CEO of Oxford Networks, an MSP who has already signed up to the scheme.

“The combination of IBM’s technical expertise and focus on helping clients drive innovation with advanced technologies and its marketing engine will enable us to move beyond our traditional client base and reach new markets,” he added.