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CSC Teams With Microsoft on Cloud Services

One month after it launched its cloud services business, CSC announced on Wednesday it has signed a global contract with Microsoft to resell and support Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), a part of Microsoft Online Services that offer communication and collaboration cloud services.

Under the agreement, CSC (NYSE: CSC), the largest independent consulting services firm in the U.S., will provide enterprise clients with the BPOS in conjunction with CSC's Trusted Cloud Services for a combination of private, customer-managed cloud services and CSC's own services.

This will allow customers to reduce the costs of managing and maintaining the BPOS systems, which consist of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Communications Online and Office Live Meeting.

The BPOS systems run from Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) datacenters, and will remain that way. The only thing operating in the CSC datacenters are certain databases that must be secured, which is where Trusted Cloud Services comes in.

For example, according to Brian Boruff, vice president of cloud computing at CSC, in the United Kingdom, the national health service will not allow any data to go into any non-UK datacenters due to regulatory and compliance laws about health records. So some data is hosted in Microsoft's datacenter, while the rest is in CSC's UK Trusted Cloud datacenter.

"A lot of what we do for companies is determine which of their data they can move into BPOS and which of it they need to keep in their Trusted Cloud Services network," he told InternetNews.com. "Many companies don't want to put data in the Microsoft datacenter, so we'll put it in ours."

Multiple clouds for multiple vendors

In the future, he imagines CSC's Trusted Cloud having multiple clouds to handle Microsoft, Salesforce and other cloud vendors, where CSC can store data for clients and monitor that data.

"If they want it secured, backed up and with e-mail discovery, our Trusted Cloud will provide higher levels of private cloud services that will compliment the kind of work Microsoft is doing with BPOS," said Boruff.

It's an unusual pairing, two venerable computing firms in CSC and Microsoft partnering on the hot new tech play, cloud computing, but Gartner Research Vice President Ben Pring isn't surprised.

"Clearly the pure plays preach revolution and that the dinosaurs will die and go away. It's probably inaccurate to imagine there would be wholesale collapse of the incumbents. The fact is Microsoft has seen which way the winds have been blowing for some time now and have been looking for ways to keep the engine going and find ways to get into the new markets," he told InternetNews.com.

Boruff cited a Gartner report that said 25 to 30 percent of e-mail would move to a cloud environment by 2012, and noted that pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKlein had just announced plans to migrate from Notes to Exchange. Exchange's popularity is why CSC went with Microsoft over competitors like Google (NASDAQ: GOOG).

"More and more e-mail is going to move to the cloud. Microsoft has a strong marketshare so we thought they would make a great partner," he said.

This is one of several cloud offerings CSC has in the works, with more coming in the future, One of those agreements will involve Microsoft's Azure cloud services, plus a number of public sector customers that want to use BPOS and compliment it with Hotmail and Outlook front-end services.