Big news on the cloud storage front as Sungard Availability Services and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have entered into a cloud backup services partnership to help SunGard business customers protect their data in cloud environments. Specifically, they'll be able to have bi-directional disaster recovery services between the SunGard Enterprise Cloud and AWS without having to transport data over the public Internet.

As part of the deal, SunGard will be able to provide its business customers with cloud-based disaster recovery services between the SunGard Enterprise Cloud and AWS by aligning Amazon's East Coast data centers to the SunGard Enterprise Cloud. By doing so, SunGard is allowing its customer to leverage the Amazon Storage Gateway.

SunGard is also making the AWS platform services available to customers who are developing new solutions and looking for test and development cloud environments. And what's more, SunGard business customers who take advantage of the AWS test and development platform can add it to the Vblock cloud services that SunGard currently offers.

The goal of the partnership. said SunGard Availability Services CTO Indu Kodukula, is for both companies to provide its customers with a broader range of cloud-based services. From SunGard's perspective, the deal with AWS is one of many steps the company is trying to take to break down many of the barriers that companies face today when trying to enter a cloud environment.  SunGard also plans to develop new solutions around application migration, data security, privacy and application availability.

It's unclear how long the SunGard-AWS partnership had been in the works, but we do know that both companies have made recent strides in cloud backup. In early February 2012, Amazon was able to cut its cloud storage prices because of its increasing popularity. On SunGard's end, the company made two major cloud moves before announcing its partnership with AWS -- it launched the SunGard Managed Recovery Program for cloud and on-premise applications, and it deployed the Zenoss Service Dynamics platform to support both its cloud and managed services infrastructure.