Vodafone readies pan-European virtual private cloud service for SMEs

Vodafone Total Cloud Flex will reach from Europe to the U.S. and Asia later this year

Small businesses with global ambitions will soon have a new cloud partner -- at least wherever Vodafone has data centers.

Vodafone Total Cloud Flex is a virtual private cloud service that can be managed via a self-service portal, and directly integrated with on-premises infrastructure via VPN or MPLS.

Telecommunications operator Vodafone unveiled the service in Hanover, Germany, on Sunday, on the eve of the Cebit trade show.

The service is scheduled to go live by the end of June in Germany, Italy, the U.K. and Ireland. Other countries will follow, half a dozen of them in the third quarter, including the U.S. and either Hong Kong or Singapore, said Nadja Risse, Vodafone's head of sales for cloud and hosting in central and southern Europe.

The company will operate at least two data centers in each country where it offers the service. That allows for redundancy and disaster recovery, and also means that data stays in the country where it originates, she said. "Enterprises want the certainty that the cloud solution they opt for reliably protects their data in line with national data security and compliance standards."

Customers in Germany will have their applications hosted near Frankfurt, she said.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise will provide the underlying technology, but Vodafone will operate and monitor the service, Risse said.

Customers in Germany and Italy, at least, will be able to access the self-service portal in their own language. "Global companies often do everything in English," she said, but "In the larger countries, we plan localized portals."

Pricing per server will vary with the capacity and services required. As an example, a small or medium-size business wanting to run Active Directory, MySQL, Microsoft Dynamics and Skype for Business might start with five Windows virtual machines with a 99.9 percent availability guarantee. With a fully redundant 100 Mbps connection, a firewall and mitigation for DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, Vodafone will charge from €2500 (US$2785) per month, which works out at around €0.28 per VM per hour.

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