10 May 2012 Paris - The French State is to join forces with SFR and Bull in the implementation of a Cloud computing infrastructure for the French and European markets. Based around an open, innovative architecture, the new facility will provide powerful, competitive and environmentally friendly Cloud computing services across the private and public sectors. These services will be available in the coming weeks.
The SFR/Bull project - which the State has decided to become involved in via the National Fund for a Digital Society (le Fonds national pour la Société Numérique or FSN) - is a vital initiative to ensure the competitiveness of organizations in both the public and private sectors. It addresses the key requirement for access to virtualized computing services that are essential to the effective operation of businesses today, in conditions that guarantee the independence, security, confidentiality and close proximity of their information.
Cloud computing offers extraordinary scope for innovation and the extension of services offered by businesses and government alike. However, transforming information systems for Cloud computing also requires significant improvements in their performance and security.
The combined expertise of SFR and Bull will provide an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution featuring a powerful mix of design capabilities, high-quality operational delivery and data security in an Open Source environment.
SFR (47%), Bull (20%) and the State-owned Caisse des Dépôts - via the FSN (33%) - will become shareholders in a joint venture company whose aim is to build and operate a 'secure computing power plant' that will provide businesses and public sector bodies, from SMEs to big organisations, with a range of secure Cloud computing services covering all IT resource requirements, from the everyday to the most mission-critical.
The project involves a total investment of 225 million euro and is due to result directly in the creation of around 400 new jobs.
The project brings together the joint expertise and skills of Europe's number one alternative telecoms operator and one of Europe's leaders in mission-critical digital systems. SFR and Bull have designed the project as an open ecosystem, whose aim is to set the highest security standards and to involve all players in the IT, security and telecoms worlds, as well as innovative start-ups.
The industrial partners on this project have put together a technical and economic proposal that is totally focused on competitiveness. The Cloud computing architecture has been designed to interconnect with business and public sector information systems, to ensure that they can make a simple and well-managed transition to the Cloud. In addition to the technical platform, a full range of data migration and support services, especially well suited to the requirements of SMEs, will be developed to help overcome their computing constraints, reduce their costs and boost their competitiveness.
Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman and CEO of SFR-Vivendi, commented: "Cloud computing is a major challenge when it comes to the competitiveness of the whole French and European economy. To meet that challenge, we are proud to be building an innovative and open computing power plant, housing the kind of reliable infrastructures where suppliers and users will be able to access the resources they need. Our ambition is to combine the best expertise in IT, telecoms and security to deliver Cloud computing services that respond in an effective and competitive way to the constraints and objectives of information systems in general."
Philippe Vannier, Chairman and CEO of Bull, added: "I am delighted to announce this strategic alliance with SFR, who share with us the same vision of Cloud computing delivering open, secure, very high availability solutions. Since the very earliest days when the Fonds National pour la Société Numérique initiated its call for proposals, the Group has mobilized its forces to build the most appropriate offering to support organisations as they evolve and improve their competitiveness. The current situation is a great opportunity to share these kinds of solutions."