Enterprises are increasingly willing to weigh the commercial advantages of cloud computing against potential security issues, yet many are still uncomfortable with making the leap.

To help them get over any lingering reluctance, Accenture and Microsoft have extended their existing partnership with the introduction of Accenture Hybrid Cloud Solution for Microsoft Azure. The hybrid cloud solution enables enterprises to manage applications between private and public clouds.

Hybrid Cloud Computing

The new hybrid offering has been developed along with Avande, an IT services provider that Microsoft and Accenture set up in 2000 to ease the way for Windows in the enterprise, and which now, as an independently operating subsidiary company, has over $2 billion in sales and more than 22,000 people working for it.

Together they are effectively tackling one of the biggest challenges in cloud computing: hybrid clouds.

To do this, the companies are co-funding and co-engineering this platform with new hybrid technologies and services to help enterprises build and manage enterprise-wide cloud infrastructure and applications.

This is a significant move in the hybrid space. Even Satya Nadella weighed in on it with a video outlining Microsoft’s position on the release.

Of course anything cloud related will get special treatment by Nadella, given his vision for Microsoft's future is encapsulated in a Cloud First, Mobile First mantra.

But why this announcement? Cloud computing announcements seem to be coming out about every second day by Microsoft, so why should Nadella care about this one?

It comes down to this: no matter how interested enterprises may be, many are not ready to make the jump to full cloud computing

Enterprises And Cloud Computing

A survey carried out by Microsoft earlier this year with 451 Research showed that nearly half of the 2000 respondents surveyed said they had already deployed a hybrid cloud of some description or other.

The survey showed that 60 percent used a private cloud along with a hosted private cloud while 42.1 percent had combined an on premises private cloud with a public cloud.

While figures vary from survey to survey about hybrid clouds and the willingness of enterprises to go this route, all concur that hybrid is the flavor of the moment.

With new demands being placed on IT departments every day, enterprises need to smartly connect their infrastructure, software applications, and data and operations capabilities in order to become agile, intelligent, digital businesses. This unique collaboration with Microsoft and Avanade is one of Accenture’s most strategic and important initiatives for driving enterprise-wide cloud adoption,” Pierre Nanterme, chairman and CEO of Accenture said in a statement.

It is also like to remain the flavor of cloud computing for quite a while as it is generally accepted that it will be at least 10 years before companies get over any lingering reluctance of putting everything in the cloud and making the full leap of faith.

Microsoft, Accenture Hybrid Cloud

This is where the new release comes into play and where both companies see it fitting into the general landscape.

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The new Accenture Hybrid Cloud Solution for Microsoft Azure, which both companies are marketing as an “everything-as-a-service” offering, delivers new technologies to migrate and manage applications between private and public clouds in a controlled, seamless and automated way.

It does this on demand, at speed and from a single console, and builds on key capabilities from the three companies including:

  • Microsoft Cloud Platform of Microsoft Azure: Hyper-scale and hybrid capabilities connected to Windows Server with Hyper-V, System Center and Azure Pack running in customer data centers.
  • The Accenture Cloud Platform: Supports central dashboard controls cloud brokerage and management capabilities. It also offers enterprise-grade governance capabilities.
  • Professional services: It helps clients define and execute against their cloud goals, based on Accenture’s transformation to migration, deployment and managed services.

We will be looking at this in deeper detail later in the week.

To demonstrate how it might be applied to business situations, Microsoft offers the example of Freeport-McMoRan, a large international natural resource company.

According to Microsoft, the company is using the joint solution to prototype a new industrial Internet of Things (IoT) platform to improve mining operations by securely connecting, managing and capturing machine-generated data across the entire business.

The resulting platform will provide operations supervisors with a role-based mobile dashboard to analyze and react to near real time situations in the mine.

While Microsoft and Accenture are clearly not the only companies moving into the hybrid cloud space, they are two of the big ones, backed by the respective C-Suites. With this already in private testing and set for general release in early 2015, we will be seeing more on this very soon.