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Alliances Continue to Take Center Stage as Cloud Race Intensifies

Fujitsu-Microsoft partnership furthers the ongoing saga of IT companies positioning themselves in different cloud camps

Judging by the recent trail of acquisitions and partner programs motivated by ambitions to strengthen on-demand online services, the High Tech Industry seems absolutely convinced that cloud computing is a key way to emerge out of the recent recession.It is quite apparent that most players cannot stand alone and that a powerful ally can bolster up your stack especially when pitted against a reigning market leader. So one by one strange and sometimes not so strange bedfellows have emerged in an attempt to keep things competitive, share resources and put together a compelling stack that no one can resist.

Fujitsu and Microsoft are making a go at a new cloud computing partnership with Microsoft deploying its Windows Azure platform appliance in Fujitsu datacenters and consequently getting a free pass at the Japanese firm's client database. Fujitsu in turn will take advantage of Microsoft's cloud platform for its new cloud services including system integration, cloud migration and managed services to customers and ISVs. The resultant product will take the shape of a  Fujitsu-branded Windows Azure platform appliance that customers can run on their own datacenters with Fujitsu's hardware . The companies are planning on following up with combined sales and Marketing to promote the new offering.

To expand their international reach cloud vendors have also had to explore localized alliances. Last year saw Microsoft, HP, Citrix and some local service providers forming the " Taiwan cloud alliance" aimed at local businesses. On the same note Hewlett-Packard is pursuing globalized cloud computing by partnering with regional firms to fine-tune and target its stack . It is promoting its cloud services for SMB customers in India by teaming up with key local companies in various sectors such as healthcare, retail and education. Cloud applications are targeted towards specific verticals and come bundled with the company's own brand of servers and storage goods. Back here in the United States, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard teamed up in the beginning of the year on a three-year $250 million partnership that leverages existing virtualization and systems management products from both companies. Open source Private cloud software startup Eucalyptus which has gathered steady momentum also recently announced that it will work with HP to build integrated cloud solutions .

Virtualization is inevitably becoming an influential part of the cloud story . Boundaries are getting blurred between cloud computing and virtualization vendors as companies like VMware seek to spill over into the whole on demand enterprise and web apps market . Red Hat which was until recently known best for its enterprise linux, has surprisingly become a notable player in this space. The company's virtualization software, a commercial version of the open source Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) has been grabbing headlines especially after IBM aligned itself with Red Hat's virtualization software for its cloud needs. VMware of course still dominates the market for server virtualization software . Last month VMware and Novell extended their longstanding partnership to include a new offer of VMware vSphere bundled with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for service providers to build private clouds.