Microsoft and IT consultancies Accenture and Avanade on Monday announced a new cloud bundle designed to help enterprise customers to deploy and manage hybrid environments. The offering, which is tongue-twistingly called Accenture Hybrid Cloud Solution for Microsoft Azure, includes a variety of technologies from all three companies.
Microsoft and Accenture have a long history as collaborators, including the founding of Avanade in 2000. Avanade now employs more than 22,000 people and has accrued more than $2 billion in global sales.
"I see nothing not to like about this announcement," Gartner analyst Merv Adrian told InformationWeek in a phone interview. "The move to the cloud is a complex one. It's something few businesses have any expertise in doing." He said Monday's announcement further demonstrates Microsoft's growing ability to help large enterprises create hybrid cloud environments.
Accenture Hybrid Cloud Solution offers a range of products and services to help enterprises automate the migration and management of applications between private and public clouds. According to a Microsoft statement, the goal of the partnership is to enable customers to deliver "everything as a service."
The bundle includes Microsoft Azure -- the company's cloud platform -- at its foundation, including hybrid capabilities through Windows Server, System Center, and Azure Pack. Accenture Cloud Platform is also included to provide a centralized management dashboard, self-service provisioning of any application, and governance and security functionality. Various professional services from Avanade and Accenture are also available, ranging from migration and deployment support to strategic consulting.
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Accenture Hybrid Cloud Solution will be available next year. It is currently in a private test phase that includes Freeport-McMoRan, an international natural resource company. Freeport-McMoRan is using the bundle to prototype an Internet of Things platform that will improve mining operations by providing supervisors with real-time insights.
In a video announcing Accenture Hybrid Cloud Solution, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella emphasized customer demand for hybrid cloud technologies. Nadella has made this pitch before -- that customers want to move some workloads to the cloud, where they can benefit from superior economies of scale, while still keeping other tasks on-premises, where they can exert tighter control and amortize existing investments. According to Adrian, Nadella has repeated his hybrid cloud mantra for good reason: The demand is real.
"The curve for the transition to an all-cloud world is likely to look a lot like the curve for the death of mainframes," he stated. "For the next decade or more, some things will be in the cloud, but there will be plenty of others on-prem."
He said companies need ways to seamlessly manage both environments, and that Microsoft has done more than some of its peers to serve this demand. "Neither Google nor Android has indicated any interest in on-prem systems," Adrian said, adding that in contrast to competitors, Microsoft has shown it has a legitimate stake in both aspects of the hybrid equation.
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