CSC offers “on-premise private cloud”


Multinational IT services giant CSC this week launched in Australia a service which it described as private cloud computing infrastructure which could be hosted in customers’ own datacentres, giving them an additional option for migrating to the burgeoning range of infrastructure as a service platforms.

Private cloud refers to a form of cloud computing infrastructure which is typically segregated from the infrastructure used by other users. It consists of highly virtualised storage and processing bundles and is typically hosted by large organisations in their own infrastructure, or outsourced and managed by an external provider. For example, top-tier bank Westpac is known to operate its own internal private cloud solution, which it uses to provide services to different divisions within its larger overall operation.

The service launched by CSC in Australia this week differs in that it focuses on a standard set of infrastructure based on the vCloud offering from the VMware, Cisco and EMC (VCE) alliance, but with the infrastructure actually hosted on a customer’s own infrastructure.

“By offering this service, CSC has taken the work out of implementing a private cloud and overcomes the objections that security-conscious organisations usually raise around cloud adoption,” CSC said in a statement, noting that its service had been branded ‘BizCloud’.

“Australian organisations have been uncertain about the move from traditional IT to the cloud. In an Australian first, customers can now take a safe first step to a preconfigured, integrated and tested private cloud on their own premises in just ten weeks,” said CSC Australia chief technology & innovation officer Bob Hayward.

The service appears to allow customers to migrate their workloads onto the on-premises private cloud model as a first step, before ultimately examining the case to shift work onto private cloud infrastructure located in CSC’s own facilities, or even perhaps ultimately onto a public cloud. CSC is offering a number of different tiers of service for the solution, with prices scaling for bulk usage and an open rate card.

The news comes as interest in cloud computing infrastructure in Australia continues to grow, with vendors continuing to launch new solutions in the market and organisations increasingly examining the case to migrate services onto the cloud. However, not everyone is immediately keen to migrate services onto the cloud.

Queensland Rail, for example, this month avoided the cloud completely as it flagged plans to outsource its significant server, storage and network fleet, with the organisation preferring to own and use its own infrastructure as a managed service.

“On-premise private cloud”, my ass. CSC might as well just call this a managed service and be done with it. Frankly, describing this as cloud computing infrastructure is really quite a misnomer. Not only is the service hosted on customers’ premises, but there would appear to be little real opportunity for dynamic expansion of the services used, as in the classic cloud computing paradigm.

Any expansion will necessarily be limited by what ability the customer’s own datacentre has to expand in terms of power usage, cooling, rack space and so on. Just like any other managed service.

The only real difference between CSC’s “on-premise private cloud” and a normal managed service is the pay per use model, plus the use of a standardised infrastructure. But when the boxes actually go into a customer’s premises and the services start to be used, I’d bet anything that the customer will start to request non-standardised services and different payment models if they feel like it — and then CSC will buckle, follow the money, and the case for calling this “cloud” will be even further weakened.

Australia has seen a few high-profile cases over the past year where the infrastructure as a service model has worked really well. I’m thinking of organisations like equipment manufacturer Komatsu and some universities which have fundamentally changed the way they consume server and storage resources by shifting their workloads into external providers’ clouds wholesale.

But in general, most large Australian organisations — especially in the dominant government and financial services sectors, which consume IT resources heavily — haven’t yet bitten the cloud bullet hard, and I’m starting to suspect they won’t, for quite some time. Or, if they do, they’ll build their own.

This new service being offered by CSC smacks of a slight desperation — a shift to come a little too close to the customer, in an attempt to offer them an easy on-ramp to the cloud journey. Is this the first sign of a pushback by Australian organisations on the much-hyped cloud computing model? Only time will tell.

Image credit: BasicGov, Creative Commons


  1. infrastructure as a service, managed services, on premise cloud, pulease. How is it a cloud environment when hosted internally in a client datacentre? isn’t the cloud concept that the data is everywhere, not in the client’s site?

          • Totally. Cloud’s been attached to everything from appliances to doing someone else’s paperwork. The marketing is years ahead of reality and so we’re entering the “Trough of Disillusionment”

          • It’s on my list of terms that sales guys know to use carefully with me if they want my business.
            It sits along side R&D and ROI.
            You better have a bloody good reason for using those terms or you can end the meeting right now.

    • “How is it a cloud environment when hosted internally in a client datacentre?”

      Quite easily.

      “isn’t the cloud concept that the data is everywhere, not in the client’s site?”

      No, unless you have your own unique definition of cloud. The NIST definition, which appears to be the most widely accepted, makes it quite clear that on premise is a valid deployment method for cloud.
      That’s the problem with this whole article – It appears to be based on a basic misunderstanding of what constitutes cloud computing. While I would agree that a large number of vendors are guilty of ‘cloud washing’ (since when is vBlock a cloud??), CSC doesn’t appear to be one of them.

  2. Cloud is only somewhat about ownership. It’s predominantly about the flexibility and provision of the resources. Say I buy this from CSC, can I:

    1) Self provision computing abilities? No reason to think I can’t. A pool of computing resources in my server room that I can take a slice of as I need, and put back as I need.

    2) Access it from anywhere? Probably. It would have remote access capabilities. Anywhere-homed and anywhere-access aren’t the same thing.

    3) Achieve rapid elasticity? Probably. If I have a service provider making sure that if I go for resources they are there, trending what I use and working with my tech team to add scale-out capacity as I go.

    I get that there’s a push to recognise only Amazon, Google, Microsoft Azure and whatever Apple has knighted this week as cloud, but that simply doesn’t line up. I get that there’s marketing crap around the term as well (iOmega personal cloud drive anyone?) but that doesn’t change the fact that there are mature definitions of cloud computing and offerings that deliver that definition to a business. If this or anything like it, allows a business to push-button-receive-infrastructure then it matches the most official definitions of cloud we have.

    Disclosure: I work for Cisco in its cloud practice. I have no internal contact to this particular product, deal or customer, and in any event these opinions are my own only.

  3. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to present to you our latest breakthrough, the on-premise cloud, formerly known as the computer!
    Break out the purple rain cloud.

  4. Awesome blog post! I like it because it shows deep research and analysis on keywords the writer on CSC offers “on-premise private cloud” . I read almost 10 articles on this topic but didn’t find an interesting article like this. I also want to share another good sporting goods online store with you for great information.

  5. I love the cloud cynicism here … wonder what you all had to say about the internet when it first came around?

    As to CSC’s offering: it’s going to do very well with IT organizations that have to get to an IT-as-a-service model sooner than later. CSC actually has three consumption models for BizCloud, one of them is clearly off-premises and pay-as-you go.

    These are tough times for most IT organizaitons and most IT leaders: their world is changing, and fast. They no longer have a monopoly on IT service delivery, and have to learn how to compete for their internal customers.

    And it is in those specific situations, folks, where offerings like CSC’s will find strong adoption.

    — Chuck

    • hey Chuck,

      just checking … are you the same Chuck Hollis who’s the VP global marketing/CTO at EMC?

      If so, you should really disclose that as a conflict of interest in commenting on this blog post, given that CSC is using the VCE stack for its on-premise cloud infrastructure … which includes EMC of course.



  6. My apologies — I thought my name, my email and the link to my blog on the EMC corporate site would be enough disclosure.

    Forgive me: I am a long-time employee of EMC, have been very closely involved with VCE since the beginning, and have worked closely with CSC as well on a variety of topics. Now you know where I’m coming from. Are we good?

    Regardless of my affiliations, though, my viewpoint still stands: the CSC offering is emblematic of many we’ll see from enterprise-oriented service providers that are targeting IT leaders who motivated to transition their IT organizations into a more service-oriented capability.

    I was hoping for a bit of intelligent discussion on that premise, rather than questioning my motivations.

    — Chuck

    • No worries, thanks for disclosing. Those details (email, blog link etc) didn’t come up on the Disqus system publicly etc.

      As for the intelligent discussion … how about we take things a bit more granular? As in … do you have any evidence of customers preferring a standardised infrastructure as a service offering (as CSC is hyping here) on their own premises, as opposed to hosted in a service provider’s premises?

      So far in Australia we haven’t seen this model gain any traction as yet (of course, it only just launched etc). Normally the US is a little way ahead — any evidence of customer take-up over there?



  7. Cloud Computing is turning into a buzzword, that is the flavour of the month in sales / executive circles.

    In reality when most execs hear “cloud” they really hear “on the internet” when IT leadership should be directing them down the path of “Partner Provided Elastic Managed Server/Storage Stack”
    No wonder they stick with cloud…

    Cloud is the “next big thing” that will reduce service cost, because we no longer have to manage infrastructure, it will scale without massive outlays – because you have removed capacity planning from the mix, its now someone else’s problem. It will always be a misnomer. As soon as a you move the responsibility to a service provider, they people who who manage the application stacks on top of the OS, their work isn’t reduced. The Infrastructure teams turn into a team that manages the service providers… you still have to pay for the hardware, software, patching.. its now that its all done by an outsourced team – therefore cheaper?

    So, we reduce our Opex costs on paper for a year, by what… a few hundred k. Who is looking at the transition costs into a cloud (shared environment)? Capex costs do not offset this for longer than this buzz will survive. In 5 years time Server computing will have gone through another evolution, but i dont think this a good enough reason for the way IT works to stagnate either. I am in the middle of migration planning of 3 data centres into a top tier cloud solution – there are sooo many restrictions, pitfalls, workarounds and compromises to make these things work. The kicker in all of that is that they have to be there – why? To ensure your data and environment integrity for the other other customers running on shared compute spaces…

    This is an evolution of computing, not everything works well for everyone. Anyone looking into transitioning into a “cloud” be aware… Vendors and Cloud providers are all missing a common theme – their transition planning sucks and it is one of the key drivers for making cloud successful.

    To tie this all back – I ask a question to CSC.. On premise cloud.. do you monitor and come back to my DC and automatically add more hardware / storage as required? Who now does my datacentre planning, rack cooling and power management? Or are you simply selling virtualisation as a rented stack?

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