Microsoft and Accenture Unite Again To Launch Hybrid Cloud

Microsoft and Accenture have had a long and productive alliance. This week, the two companies revealed another partnership that developed and will deliver to the enterprise market a hybrid cloud designed for businesses seeking greater performance and agility from their IT infrastructure.

The Accenture Hybrid Cloud Solution for Microsoft Azure, as the new product is called, was jointly funded and developed by the two partners—the world's largest consulting firm and world's largest software developer. The offering incorporates both technological and economic innovations that can benefit large organizations looking to adopt cloud solutions to manage diverse and complex workloads, according to Jack Sepple, senior managing director of cloud and infrastructure services at Accenture.

Microsoft engineered the platform's capabilities to integrate with other cloud technologies and fabrics, and Accenture will exclusively bring the hybrid product to market. The platform will not be available to Microsoft's wider channel.

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Avanade, a global solution provider created in 2000 by the two companies, will assist Accenture in delivering and implementing the platform for business customers, starting with a few lighthouse accounts over the coming months.

Sepple told CRN the hybrid solution solves a problem for big businesses that are seeking greater agility while trying to coordinate private and public clouds alongside legacy IT systems and applications.

"Enterprises are under enormous pressure to innovate faster and compete with digitally savvy start-ups and traditional companies, often with no extra funding or resources," Sepple said. "To innovate at the necessary speed while managing the risks, CIOs know they need to adapt their existing operating model, including tools, processes, and skills, and tie it all together with a hybrid cloud approach."

Accenture and Microsoft said the new offering represents their most-significant collaboration since joining to create Avenade, which is now a subsidiary of Accenture.

The hybrid project represents a "big bet" in strategy that reaches to the CEOs of both Accenture and Microsoft, Sepple said. "We believe this powerful combination will help drive cloud past the tipping point for enterprise-wide adoption."

The IT consulting giant is seeing interest from organizations wanting to convert more workloads to cloud services so they can grow their businesses and optimize their infrastructure, Sepple said. "They are interested in leveraging our solution to provide the management capabilities required to move workloads to cloud environments and consolidate existing infrastructure investments."

Accenture will integrate the cloud platform it currently offers customers with the new hybrid cloud solution.

As part of the limited release, Accenture and Avenade will work with early adoption customers to fine tune the platform in advance of a full launch slated for the spring of 2015.