Telstra makes Govt cloud pitch


Telstra has extended an olive branch to a Federal Government market traditionally hostile to the incoming wave of cloud computing services, offering departments and agencies a 45 day free cloud computing trial so that they can test the water on its infrastructure.

The offer was unveiled in Canberra today by the telco’s general manager for cloud services Mark Pratley, who said the telco would offer a 45 day-free cloud trial to federal departments interested in migrating their applications to the cloud.

One condition of eligibility is being “cloud-ready”, that is to say having fast network infrastructure and a suitable application to trial into the cloud. Telstra spokesperson Peter Habib said the trial would be a very important opportunity for government customers to test the performance of their applications in the cloud and get an assessment of that performance.

Habib said Telstra offered the security, the network speed and the onshore datacentres which were of concern for Government customers. He said he couldn’t name any applicants yet but stated the trial received strong interest. “We’re already actively talking with a few departments around taking up this trial offer, definitely there’s an appetite here”.

He said the trial offer would not only offer the possibility to experience the cloud, but to receive full advice from Telstra’s partner, Accenture, which joined Telstra Enterprise and Government last year in its cloud computing efforts last year. He said Acccenture was able to provide an assessment of the readiness to migrate into the cloud, as well as offering advice and project planning in migrating to the cloud.

“Cloud isn’t really for everyone,” he said. “We can actually use the expertise that Accenture has. They have the knowledge and experience to look at what applications you have and what could be best optimising in the cloud environment and what can’t be.”

Habib said interest in Telstra’s cloud services has grown since last year, when the telco hosted a workshop with more than 35 Government customers. He also said Telstra already had some “big names” in its portfolio, like Komatsu and rural GP centre group Tristar Medical – which joined Telstra’s cloud computing recently.

Habib said Telstra offered Tristar a compelling offer which combined cloud services with the Next G broadband network, to enable general practitioners to access cloud services through their laptop securely. As for federal departments, he said the telco would provide them with solutions targeted to their needs and Accenture would design a “valuable” migration path.

“When a customer comes and they need expertise we are able to offer Accenture to help out there,” he said, adding that “some of the customer’s applications may not necessarily be cloud ready and of course we do offer – under our Accenture partnership – the expertise to provide guidance on that.”

He said Telstra had a compelling offer which provided flexibility in data management and portability, which – he said – ensured customers had the possibility to get data in or out the cloud, depending on their needs in a secure environment. “We have more than 400 security staff,” he said “The idea of the trial is really the opportunity for organisations to test performance and test out what they really can do.”

Image credit: Fred Fokkelman, royalty free