Capgemini and Orange announce “Bleu Cloud de Confiance”
The information technology company Capgemini and telecoms company Orange have recently announced a partnership to create “Bleu”, a new cloud company that aims to provide a “Cloud de Confiance” service to meet French sovereignty requirements. The platform also aims to meet the needs of public administrations, and critical infrastructure companies with “unique privacy, security, and resiliency” specifications.
It is hoped that Bleu’s customers will receive an independent, trusted cloud platform equipped with a broad catalog of digital solutions and cutting-edge collaborative tools, with the partnership being described as a “step forward” for France’s digital transformation. Combining the expertise of both Capgemini and Orange working alongside Microsoft, Bleu offers its cloud solutions to Vital Importance Operators (OIVs) and Essential Service Operators (OSEs), in addition to the French State, several public agencies, hospitals, and regional authorities with sensitive data and a workload that requires a “Cloud de Confiance” platform.
Aiman Ezzat, Chief Executive Officer of Capgemini, said: “As a strategic partner to our clients, Capgemini is focused on building the services they need, based on leading technologies and the highest standards. The creation of a ”Cloud de Confiance” for France will provide French State and critical infrastructure organisations with the many benefits of flexible cloud services on a secure platform.
“Now is the right moment to launch this project which benefits from strong political will and very advanced technologies. We are excited to be partnering with Orange on this pioneering project”, said Ezzat.
Adding her thoughts about the project, Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of Orange, commented: “This ‘Cloud de Confiance’ meets a growing need in the digital world. The French State recently highlighted this in defining their ‘cloud au centre’ policy and set out the standards required regarding data protection and sovereignty. Orange, as a trusted partner for the digital transformation of businesses, operates, integrates, and manages a range of trusted infrastructure services for its customers, whether they are public or private entities. We are delighted to partner with Capgemini to create a trusted-cloud solution for our existing and future BtoB customers and public organizations that will provide a wide range of services, and in particular Microsoft 365, from within a sovereign infrastructure.”
Jean-Philippe Courtois, EVP and President of Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing, and Operations, also provided a statement. She said: “Establishing a new ‘Cloud de Confiance’ service, which should be recognised by French authorities, through a company founded and led by Capgemini and Orange, will help accelerate France's digital transformation and meet the standards defined by the French government in its national policy.
“This announcement will contribute to France's economic growth, benefit the national technology and services partner ecosystem, and support the country’s long-term success”, she concluded.
Providing Microsoft’s cloud services
Bleu will also intend to provide secure cloud technology courtesy of Microsoft, including the modern collaboration and productivity solutions that come under the Microsoft 365 programme. Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, which is delivered using an independent environment will also be included “to ensure customers benefit from the widest range of the latest technology innovations”, Orange said.
To ensure the needs of its French clients are met, Orange and Capgemini claim that the platform will be governed by “ key requirements surrounding sensitive data”. These include providing immunity from all extraterritorial legislation and economic independence with Orange and Capgemini investing the majority of capital in the cloud company. These, however, are reliant on meeting data transfer requirements and ensuring full control is taken of cloud-based applications within an isolated infrastructure that uses data centres located in France.
The integration of future complementary partners and SecNumCloud Label (2)
There is the potential for Bleu to integrate other “complementary partners” in the future, with services offered by the company have received the SecNumCloud Label (2) certification by the National Agency for Information Systems Security (ANSSI), in addition to other legal requirements confirming its status as a “Cloud de Confiance” operator. Bleu also plans to join the Gaia-X initiative, of which Orange and Capgemini are already members. This is to support “the emergence of sovereign solutions” in Europe and “contribute to the development of this ecosystem”.
Guillaume Poupard, Director General of ANSSI, said: “In line with France’s national cloud strategy outlined by the Government on May 17, cloud offers must achieve excellence in both performance and trustworthiness. Security criteria must be satisfied on every level, whether these are technical, operational or legal, and this is what ANSSI is aiming to certify through the SecNumCloud label.
“The overall ambition is to enable users to benefit from the best technologies that are run by trusted players from within an exclusively European legal framework and that these services provide unfailing security. With this in mind, ANSSI enthusiastically welcomes this ambitious project that meets these requirements.”
Further details about the partnership between Orange and Capgemini and the “Bleu Cloud de Confiance” platform will be released once agreements between the two companies have been finalised along with obtaining the relevant authorizations for the project to be fully completed.
Unlocking the next chapter of the digital revolution
As the world retreated to a hybrid world in 2020, our reliance on technology took the spotlight. But it was the jazzy new social and video calling platforms that took the encore. Behind the scenes, our servers worked overtime, keeping us connected and maintaining the drumbeat of always-on newly digital services. Let’s take a moment to pay our respect to the unsung technology heroes of the pandemic – the often-forgotten IT infrastructure keeping us connected come what may. After all, as we look ahead to more resilient futures, they will be playing a central role.
Servers could be likened to our plumbing – vital to well-functioning homes but rarely top of mind so long as it is functioning. Never seen, rarely heard – our servers do all the graft with little praise. But it is essential to reflect on the incremental advances in GPU and CPU power, which have paved the way for new workloads that previously were not possible. Chatbots and native language processing that provide essential customer touchpoints for businesses across the retail and banking sectors rely on powerful servers. They also keep businesses competitive and customers happy in an always-on world.
Serving workplace transformation
But, as businesses grappled with pandemic disruptions, the focus was largely on adopting connected devices – and awe at the rapid increase in the datasphere. As they reined in their budgets and attempted to do more with less, one aspect was perhaps overlooked—those hard working servers.
When it came to building resilience into a newly remote workforce, the initial concern was focused on the device endpoints – keeping employees productive. Many companies did not initially consider whether they had the server infrastructure to enable the entire workforce to log in remotely at the same time. As a result, many experienced a plethora of teething problems: virtual office crashes, long waits to get on servers, and sluggish internet connectivity and application performance, often rendering the shiny new PC frustrating and useless.
Most businesses only had a few outward-facing servers that could authenticate remote workers – a vital gateway as the vector for cyber hacks and attacks increased exponentially. That’s not to mention the fact that many business applications simply weren’t designed to work with the latency required for people working from home. What businesses discovered at that moment was that their plumbing was out of date.
Business and IT leaders quickly realised that to stay ahead of the curve in the hybrid working world, a renewed focus on building agile, adaptable, and flexible IT infrastructures was critical. More importantly, it accelerated the inevitable digital transformation that would keep them competitive in a data-driven economy. It is now abundantly clear to businesses that they need IT infrastructure to meet the demands of diverse workloads – derive intelligent insights from data, deploy applications effectively, and enhance data management and security.
Ripe for a digital revolution
Unsurprisingly, IDC noted that there was an increase in purchases of server infrastructure to support changing workloads. However, it also forecasts this uptick will be sustainable and last beyond the pandemic. As the economy begins to reopen, business leaders are looking ahead. IT will continue to play a crucial role in 2021 and beyond – and we have already set the foundations for the digital revolution with next-generation servers.
As we enter the zettabyte era, new innovative technologies are coming on stream, with 5G turbocharging IoT and putting edge computing to work. Exciting new services improved day-to-day efficiencies, and the transformation of our digital society will be underpinned by resilient IT infrastructures. By embracing the technological innovations of our next-generation servers, businesses keep pace with the coming data deluge.
The next generation of server architecture promises more power with less heat, thanks to improved, directed airflow, and direct liquid cooling, resulting in reduced operational costs and environmental impact. As we rebuild post-pandemic, manufacturers and customers alike strive to achieve ever more challenging sustainability goals. With this in mind, a focus on environmentally responsible design is imperative for the servers of tomorrow - uniquely designed chassis for adaptive cooling and more efficient power consumption will be critical, improving energy efficiency generation over generation.
The most notable evolution is the configuration of these next-gen servers around more specific organisational needs. Unlike clunky and often unstable legacy infrastructure, the infrastructure of tomorrow will be sturdier and more modular. The next iteration is streamlined, and in this modular form, can be more easily tailored to business needs. This equates to essential cost savings as businesses only pay for what they use.
Resolving the problem of the future, today
Tomorrow's IT challenges will focus on response times and latency as Edge and 5G technologies go mainstream. As businesses develop new and innovative services that utilise supercharged connectivity and real-time analytics, staying on top of these challenges will give them a competitive edge. For example, in the world of retail, automation will power new virtual security guards and even the slightest delay in the data relay could result in financial loss.
Similarly, in the smart cities of tomorrow, the network must be responsive. With city-centre traffic lights controlled by an AI-powered camera that monitors pedestrians, delays in data transfers could cost the life of an elderly pedestrian who has fallen in the road. The stakes are far higher in a 5G-enabled world. As our reliance on technology deepens, the margins for error narrow, placing greater emphasis on the efficiency of those critical underpinning technologies.
Fully enabling the hybrid work model today is just a stepping-stone towards more fluid, tech-enabled lives. A work Zoom call from an automated vehicle on-route to an intelligent transport hub is a highly probable vision of our future. But it requires incredible amounts of compute and seamless data transfers to make it possible. These glossy snapshots need super servers to come to life, making that IT plumbing glisten with next-gen innovation essential. Without exemplary server architecture, we risk future tech advances and the human progression that it enables.