Amcom wins Uni of WA cloud work


Perth-headquartered telco Amcom has won a $9 million deal to provide hosted services to the University of Western Australia, in a deal which will see the telco deliver hundreds of servers and over 400 terabytes of storage to the institution.

Amcom operates a fibre network in a number of states, including in Western Australia, with the services to the university to be provided over its network directly between UWA’s Perth campus and Amcom’s own datacentres in the city. The value of the contract is $9 million over three years, according to a statement issued by Amcom this morning, with additional extension options.

UWA librarian and director of information managament Dr Mary Davies said Amcom had been able to provide the university with a “cost-effective, secure, reliable and dedicated product” that would give it capacity and capability across all of its faculties. “It is both simple for us to manage and user-friendly for our staff,” she added.

“Amcom is ready to deliver the hosted services we require now, and most important, our data is stored in Perth using dedicated infrastructure (single tenant) under a private hosted services agreement,” Davies added. “This puts us in the forefront of hosted compute and storage and frees us to concentrate on value-added support for teaching, learning and research.”

It is unclear whether the services that Amcom will provide to UWA would technically constitute ‘cloud’ computing services as the organisation has stated, or whether they would come under the banner of traditional hosted or managed services.

The IT industry usually defines cloud computing services as a set of highly virtualised services that can be easily extended in terms of storage and processing capability, with multiple organisations often accessing the same infrastructure. However, there are some sub-sets of cloud services which may fit into the UWA definition — such as ‘private cloud’, which sees a company use cloud computing services devoted to just a single tenant.

“Today we offer a comprehensive suite of IT solutions hosted in the cloud to both new and existing customers, and being chosen as a partner to one of Australia’s top universities to provide a dedicated, secure and reliable cloud solution validates our services-driven strategy,” said Amcom chief executive Clive Stein.

Other Australian telcos like Telstra and Optus are also increasingly moving into providing cloud computing services, placing themselves squarely in competition with existing IT services players like CSC, Fujitsu, HP and more. However, analyst firm Ovum has recently stated that telcos face considerable challenges when it comes to supporting and selling cloud services.

“Much has been made of the potential for telcos to leverage existing assets, such as their communications networks, data centres, OSS and BSS systems and existing customer relationships, to offer cloud services to enterprises, said Ovum analyst Mark Giles in a statement this morning.

“However, while telcos’ assets do provide them with some key advantages over other cloud providers, there are a number of significant challenges that they face. Aside from a perceived lack of brand identity in the supply of IT services, obstacles such as bringing internal network and IT teams together, enabling sales teams, and ensuring that OSS and BSS systems can deliver on cloud’s on-demand nature must be overcome.”

Giles said the pace of innovation required for cloud services was very different from that of traditional network services — requiring telcos to speed up their operations. Giles recommended that telcos partner with existing market players — such as how Telstra has partnered with Accenture and Microsoft — in their venture into the cloud.

Image credit: Nicolas Raymond, royalty free