May 19, 2020

BT confirms talks with Alibaba over new cloud partnership for Europe

Alibaba
Alibaba Cloud
Alibaba Cloud Europe
Alibaba Cloud BT Group
Johan De Mulder
2 min
BT confirms talks with Alibaba over new cloud partnership for Europe

Talks are ongoing between BT Group and Chinese conglomerate Alibaba over a possible European cloud partnership, the British telco confirmed on Monday.

Alibaba - which initially grew its business in the retail sector but which has since expanded across industries, creating Alibaba Cloud - is hoping to rival Amazon's dominant Web Services cloud suite through the proposed alliance.

A BT spokeswoman corroborated reports that appeared over the weekend as it looks to complete its own digital overhaul following the recent departure of its CEO Gavin Patterson. BT Global Services already has similar partnerships with Amazon, Microsoft and Cisco.

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Europe is a key market for Alibaba Cloud behind its home market of Asia, it recently having agreed a major partnership with the French transportation firm Bollore Group. Globally, it is recognised as the fourth most-established provider of cloud infrastructure according to a recent report by Synergy Research Group.

At February's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, it laid the gauntlet down to Amazon and Microsoft by introducing several services to Europe for the first time, as Business Chief reported. "Alibaba Cloud wants to be an enabler for technology innovation in Europe helping enterprises do business," said Yeming Wang, General Manager of Alibaba Cloud Europe.

The partnership with BT is likely to be similar to its current deal with Vodafone, which it authorised to build its first European data centre in Frankfurt and through which it sells its products across Germany.

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Jun 18, 2021

GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud

GfK
VMware
3 min
VMware has been walking GfK along its path through digital transformation to the cloud for over a decade.

GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.  

In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade. 

“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.

Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.

By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.

One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.

“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.

Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs. 

“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.

The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment. 

The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.

One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.

“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.

“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client. 

“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”

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