BT sets out ambition to become enterprise's cloud integrator of choice

BT outlines its 'Cloud of Clouds' vision to allow users to access cloud apps and services, regardless of where their systems are hosted

BT is moving into the cloud integrator market by offering enterprises access to a catalogue of off-premise products from a range of providers from around the world.

BT said the aim of the initiative – dubbed "Cloud of Clouds" – is to allow users to access the cloud apps and services they need, regardless of where they’re hosted, while allowing them to integrate these with existing private cloud deployments.

BT’s Cloud Management System will underpin the service catalogue, which will feature services from the Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Equinix, HP, Interxion, Microsoft and Salesforce.

In the coming weeks and months, BT said it plans to add further to the role call of cloud suppliers, as part of its overarching aim to offer CIOs the flexibility they need to make cloud work for them and their organisations.

Luiz Alvarez, CEO of BT Global Services, said: “We’re investing with our partners to bring the widest possible range of options to connect our customers’ critical applications and data, wherever they’re hosted, whenever they need them, on whatever device they use.

“We also aim to provide our customers with a strong end-to-end service level agreement guaranteeing performance, predictability and flexibility. We aim to be the leading global services integrator.”

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How BT’s offering stacks up

BT’s Cloud of Clouds vision is similar to what networking giant Cisco offers through its enterprise-focused Intercloud offering, designed to let users procure cloud services from a host of providers across the globe.

HP is involved in the roll-out of a European-centric take on the cloud integrator model through the work of its Cloud 28+ initiative.

HP's aim is to make it easier for enterprises operating in the 28 EU member states to access off-premise services by providing them with a centralised catalogue of services.

The global nature of BT’s proposition could prompt questions from users about how the firm intends to side-step the data sovereignty issue, which may limit the range of services enterprises can use.

Computer Weekly put this question to BT, but was still awaiting a response at the time of publication.

However, Clive Longbottom, service director at IT analyst Quocirca, said he doesn’t think this will pose much of a problem for BT, given its global reach – but there remain other areas where its cloud plans could come unstuck.

“BT is not renowned for its speed of movement and it will have to demonstrate that it fully understands the dynamic nature of the cloud and it can respond in real time to the changes that are occurring in the market on a regular basis,” he said.

Given the appetite of SMEs and mid-market firms for cloud technologies, Longbottom said BT should look to cater services to their needs too.

“This is a an area where BT has really struggled in the past, and I don’t expect to see any major change in capabilities here,” he said.

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