For its part in the Flexible 4 Business endeavor, OBS will couple the VBlock technology with some of its own software for security, communications and backup, along with its established hosting, systems integration, and professional services, into what it is calling “end-to-end [private] cloud computing services for enterprises.” As the name implies, Flexible 4 Business is focusing on flexibility and graceful evolution by offering deployment withing customers’ data centers, OBS/partner facilities, or a combination of both, ongoing management by OBS or the customer, and either capex (purchase) or opex (subscription) pricing.
Although the quaternary digit in the name is intended to symbolize the four companies, it is unclear what role other than “vendor” Cisco, EMC, and VMware will play in this so-called alliance.
The announcement presented the now-standard cloud liturgy and litany – in the name of savings, flexibility, and performance, amen – and all participants were fairly senior executives in their respective companies who used the words “partnership” and “alliance” countless times. But, behind the momentous mask it is hard to see it as anything more than another design win for the VCE Coalition and a new product announcement for Orange Business Services. For example, there is no evidence so far of VCE promoting Orange’s services in any way in their own sales or marketing channels, and, given that they are making similar deals with other telcos who are bound to overlap Orange’s massive global services footprint, it seems unlikely that they will. So, for Orange, it was all about the “alliance”, but, for the others it was all about themselves and VCE.
The only customer presented at the event was $5 billion EADS/Cassidian, whose web site tells us it is “a worldwide leader in global security solutions and systems, providing lead system integration and value-added products and services to civil and military customers around the globe.” Huh? A government/military systems integrator doesn’t exactly scream “enterprise”. And, to make matters worse, the guy from Cassidian didn’t exactly pledge allegiance. Instead his comments were more of the “cloud looks interesting” and “this looks good” variety. It was actually kind of sad.
More power to Orange, Cisco, EMC, and VMware on the whole thing; it looks like good stuff all the way around. But, one must wonder what good actually comes from the institutional ectoplasm conjured by an announcement like this. Cloud computing already suffers (undeservedly) from the stigma of sizzle over substance on the technology side; announcements like this portend more of the same on the business side. Not helping, fellas.