Cloud management software vendor Abiquo has gained a foothold in a $4 billion IT services company. Specifically, Abiquo has scored a customer win at BlueFire, a hosting and cloud services company based in Australia. BlueFire is part of the Dimension Data Group. Abiquo chief executive officer Pete Malcolm said his company’s software could ultimately rollout across the whole of Dimension Data, which operates in 49 countries.

“BlueFire is the proving ground in Australia,” Malcolm said.

BlueFire is also serving as a test bed for a twist on the hybrid cloud approach. The company is combining Abiquo’s Enterprise Cloud Management platform with its own intellectual property to manage both on-premise customer infrastructure and the infrastructure-as-a-service provided through BlueFire’s data centers.

With the typical hybrid cloud model, a customer maintains on-premise computing and has elasticity to the cloud, Malcolm said. In BlueFire’s case, the cloud -- and cloud management -- extends backward into the customer-premise gear. That scenario wasn’t something Abiquo had originally envisioned, Malcolm said.

Abiquo originated in Spain and relaunched as a U.S.-based company in March 2010.

Other developments at Abiquo:

1. New version: The company this week said the fourth release of its cloud management software will include business policy support that will let administrators manage policies from a centralized editor. The new version will also let service providers brand Abiquo’s user interface. Abiquo 1.7 is slated for general availability within 45 days.

2. From pilots to deployments: Malcolm cited 50 proof of concept engagements for Abiquo. Some of those, he said, have moved into the deployment stage.

3. Enterprise uptick?: Abiquo sells to both enterprises and service providers. Uptake among enterprises has been a bit slower, but Malcolm said enterprises have budgeted for the cloud in 2011.

We'll be watching.

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