Dozens of corporations float to the Amazon cloud on RightScale

Big businesses are now moving to the clouds "en masse," through a deal between Capgemini and RightScale. The 50-or-so corporations are all clients of IT consulting firm Capgemini's emerging Cloud Computing Center of Excellence, said RightScale CEO Michael Crandell, in a briefing with Betanews.

After starting to migrate the customers' existing Web sites to "cloud-style, elastic-type applications and grids" in Amazon's EC2, Capgemini turned to RightScale's pre-configured templates for assistance.

"There's a large demand among enterprises to use clouds more effectively to their own advantage," Crandell told Betanews. "Capgemini's Cloud Computing Center of Excellence gives them a focal point for figuring out issues such as cost reduction and agility."

In unveiling the Cloud Computing Center of Excellence last year, Capgemini announced Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the initial focus. The center's services range from "technical services focused on migrations, deployment and integration of AWS into existing applications and infrastructure to more business-oriented services, such as understanding the return on investment to be gained from leveraging cloud computing and facilitating change management," said Ben Pring, an analyst at Gartner Group.

Crandell told Betanews that RightScale's templates provide pre-configured cloud solutions -- including initial server configurations -- based on best practices. "You've got predictable performance," according to the CEO.

With 50 big businesses involved, Capgemini's customer migration represents one of the most significant deals yet for RightScale, a well funded start-up that also provides Linux-based tools for ongoing monitoring, alerts, auto-scaling, and front end load balancing in both single- and "cross-cloud" environments.

"We're really excited about the market reach this will provide. It is a magnifier, and another sign of the incredible growth we've seen in the cloud market," Crandell contended.

Although RightScale initially targeted only Amazon's public EC2 cloud, support has since been added through the company's plug-in API architecture for GoGrid and FlexiScale, with additional support now on the way for RackSpace and Eucalyptus clouds.

While many RightScale customers have already started using RightScale's tools to support "hybrid" mixes of public and private clouds, lots of customers in this category at the moment -- such as ForeclosureRadar.com -- tend to be on the small side.

But Crandell said it's his understanding that some of Capgemini's corporate cloud clients might ultimately expand into cross-cloud deployments.

Capgemini's establishment of its cloud center "shows good timing -- worsening economic conditions are adding further momentum to the cloud-computing trend," Gartner's Pring wrote in a research note. "This is also a smart move by Amazon, which will face greater interest but also greater scrutiny from enterprises during the next few years as the scale, reach and traction of its offerings increase. Capgemini will provide Amazon with enhanced credibility among Capgemini's typically cautious, conservative clients."

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