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Unisys Expands CloudForte Managed Service Solution To Azure Cloud

Unisys CloudForte is a template-based service that Unisys uses to help automate and manage the migration to and use of public clouds including Amazon Web Services and, now, Microsoft Azure.

Solution provider Unisys on Monday launched a new cloud deployment platform for Microsoft Azure called CloudForte which it said will help customers more quickly and easily adopt and migrate to public cloud infrastructures.

While Blue Bell, Pa.-based Unisys has helped clients migrate to the public cloud for some time, CloudForte provides one of the IT industry's first standardized and automated framework for working with the cloud, said Lakshmi Ashok, chief technology officer for homeland and critical infrastructures and executive sponsor for CloudForte.

Unisys CloudForte for Azure was introduced at this week's Microsoft Ignite Government conference. The version for Amazon Web Services was unveiled last June.

 [Related: 10 Cloud Computing Trends That Will Define 2019]

CloudForte provides a set of managed services to help foster quicker adoption of and migration to the cloud from a client perspective, Ashok told CRN.

"At the same time, it provides governance in the cloud so the client doesn't have to worry about securing and operating it," she said. "And it provides cost governance. We provide a set of services with embedded automation and governance, all with client control."

CloudForte is aimed at multiple levels of cloud users, including enterprise chief information officers worrying about how employees use or abuse the cloud, security people worrying about how to get people to adhere to policies, and development people who want to quickly test the latest Azure capability, Ashok said.

"It provides templates for company-wide control for policies which can be set at the CIO level," she said. "Once set, standardized templates can be used throughout the rest of the company. Companies are doing this today, but in a non-standardized manner."

CloudForte was designed based on lessons Unisys has learned over the years in automation, governance, and security, said Gary Wang, vice president of cloud and infrastructure services for Unisys Federal.

"A lot of operations customers do are not automated, which creates a lot of deviations," Wang told CRN. "CloudForte includes templates for automation and control, including automation of remediation and self-healing."

For example, Wang said, CloudForte can help eliminate workload sprawl.

"In a data center, you buy a server, and the cost to run it is pretty much fixed," he said. "But in a cloud, you stand-up a virtual machine that you pay for every minute. It's easy to stand-up a new workload, which leads to workload sprawl. Customer then get surprised when they see they are spending so much money on the cloud."

CloudForte includes Unisys Stealth, which Wang said is the only security product certified by the National Security Agency Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) program.

"Unisys Stealth provides very robust security protection," he said. "It includes microsegmentation so customers can only see the activities in their own bubble. This adds an extra layer of protection."

CloudForte differs from competing services in that it leverages native cloud services to build workloads, Wang said.

"Other solutions manage the cloud with third-party software and hardware," he said. "We use native cloud tools. Cloud service providers are getting more mature, and are providing tools to manage their environments. And once in the cloud, using the native cloud tools makes it easier to consume native cloud services. We leverage native cloud tools as much as we can."

CloudForte is now currently available for Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, and is slated to be available for Google Cloud Platform in the near future.

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