Service Provider Cloud

Orange’s Bleu cloud floats toward reality

Orange announced over a year ago that it was partnering with Capgemini on the establishment of a new independent cloud platform called Bleu that will be based on Microsoft Azure.

The whole venture then seemed to go quiet for a number of months, although given the economic and political backdrop in recent months it comes as little surprise when business arrangements take longer than usual to come to fruition.

The France-based operator has now broken its silence on the joint venture. It said Bleu will launch the Bleu "Readiness Program" once it is fully established and start "engaging with customers by the end of 2022."

Orange and Capgemini said the Bleu cloud platform will launch its first services including Microsoft Azure in 2024. (Source: Unsplash)
Orange and Capgemini said the Bleu cloud platform will launch its first services including Microsoft Azure in 2024.
(Source: Unsplash)

Bleu’s first services, including Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365, will not be operational until 2024. Jean Coumaros, currently chief transformation officer at Capgemini, has been named as the CEO of the future joint venture.

Secure connection

The delay seems to be largely owing to the time it takes to secure necessary regulatory approvals from the likes of France’s national cybersecurity agency ANSSI.

In addition, the two partners have been working to confirm the "target model," validate the technical solution with Microsoft, and initiate the development phase.

Capgemini Group CEO Aiman Ezzat observed that a number of technical and regulatory aspects are required "to make this trusted cloud (Cloud de Confiance) project a reality."

The plan is to launch the Bleu platform on a geographically distributed set of data centers in France, "meeting high resilience and availability requirements" and addressing the needs of specific French organizations.

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Orange Group CEO Christel Heydemann said the main ambition "is to make sure that clients are ready to benefit from Bleu services as soon as the platform is available and initiate their transition with the best support and guidance. This is the purpose of the Bleu Readiness Program."

Heydemann also emphasized that "trust" is at the core of such efforts to create French and European cloud ecosystems and ensure data sovereignty.

Indeed, when Blue was first announced, the French government had just launched its sovereign cloud policy, cloud au centre, and support for the state to migrate to cloud services. The Cloud de Confiance (cloud of trust) is the French state’s label for enhanced data sovereignty.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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