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AT&T on Monday announced enhancements to its cloud-based offers, a new cloud-based mobile application, and increased third-party development and industry activity to deliver cloud capabilities that can help businesses reduce IT costs.

The company also said it continues to work with IBM, VMware and others to enhance its cloud offers.

Specifically, AT&T announced:

  • Enhanced Computing Offer: Among other new features, customers can now more easily tie their cloud computing systems to AT&T's world class network, creating "virtual private cloud" environments that deliver computing services on-demand and help reduce IT costs.
  • Enhanced Storage Offer: AT&T has enhanced its cloud-based storage offer with features that help companies meet corporate governance and compliance requirements.
  • Cloud-based Mobile App: A new mobile application extends AT&T's cloud capabilities to users on the go who need to store and access content remotely in a highly-secure manner.
  • Increased Third-Party Activity: AT&T is allowing cloud computing vendors and third-party developers to assemble capabilities based on its networking technologies that can help business customers derive more benefits from AT&T cloud solutions.
  • Security Alliance Participation: AT&T is participating in a working group with the Cloud Security Alliance to define cloud-based security-as-a-service offers.

"With cloud-based solutions powered by AT&T's global network, we can enable companies to become more efficient, more mobile, and more nimble while helping to control their costs," said John Stankey, President and CEO, AT&T Business Solutions. "It's a powerful combination of benefits for companies operating in an economy that continues to challenge all businesses, no matter how large or small."

"We believe business caliber clouds need to run on a robust virtual private network and we see AT&T as offering one of the best business class VPN services," said Scott Stainken, general manager, IBM global telecommunications industry.

In addition, AT&T recently said IBM's Cloud Service Provider Platform is one of the best for cloud computing and noted that IBM technology is being used in its new release of AT&T Synaptic Compute as a Service(SM). IBM uses AT&T's VPN capabilities and both companies have said that integrated solutions combining an IT cloud computing platform and a virtual private network would be a prime differentiator for business class cloud services.

Today's announcement underscores AT&T's strategy of assembling capabilities that allow businesses to transform the way they operate and reduce capital expenditures. Using the AT&T global network and cloud solutions, businesses can use on-demand computing and storage services from AT&T in a highly secure and reliable manner on a use what you need, pay as you go basis.

Industry analyst firm IDC projects worldwide public IT cloud services to grow from $16B in 2009 to $55.5B in 2014 - five times the rate of traditional IT services.(1)

"A service provider like AT&T is well positioned to assemble, orchestrate, and manage for businesses the transformation from cloud solutions built on piece-part hardware and software component substitutes to cloud infrastructure and applications tightly integrated with secure, high-performance global networking services, comprehensive service management, and sophisticated back end systems," said Melanie Posey, IDC Research Vice President, Hosting & Managed Network Services.

"Working together, AT&T and VMware are well positioned to meet the rapidly growing demand for hybrid cloud architectures that meld customers' existing cloud systems with public cloud solutions," said Carl Eschenbach, Co-President, Customer Operations, VMware.

Enhancements to AT&T Synaptic Compute as a Service(SM) Solution

The company announced new enhancements to its Synaptic Compute as a Service solution including integration with AT&T's VPN Service to enable virtual private clouds. Other enhancements include an expanded number of operating system templates, improvements to firewall policies to meet special security requirements, and new self-service and self-provisioning capabilities.

The enhancements to AT&T Synaptic Compute as a Service allow customers to more easily integrate their cloud computing environment and their AT&T VPN, with simplified purchasing, configuration, and management. A new highly flexible model for configuration and pricing of virtual servers allows customers the opportunity for greater cost savings.

Enhancements to AT&T's Synaptic Storage as a Service(SM) Solution

New enhancements to AT&T's Synaptic Storage as a Service include long term data retention options to help meet corporate governance or compliance requirements and new data management and compression capabilities.

Mobile Cloud Application

AT&T is readying a new mobile application that allows users to reliably move data to and from AT&T Synaptic Storage as a Service using mobile devices. The app can provide users with mobile access to business information stored in the cloud such as documents or reference material which may be needed while on the go. Users can also use the app to upload photos, videos and other media into a corporate information repository as part of a business process or to collaboratively share with others across the organization.

The service will provide business customers the benefits of scalable storage and the ability to access and share data whenever they need to.

Driving the Cloud Industry Forward

AT&T said it has invited third-party developers and vendors to assemble capabilities that can help business customers more easily, flexibly and more efficiently transport data to/from AT&T-based cloud solutions. These third-parties have developed software or appliances that extend the value of AT&T's Synaptic Storage as a Service capabilities, enabling features such as caching, encryption, and data de-duplication.

Among the companies participating in AT&T's program are: Cirtas, CommVault, Dolphin, EMC, Gladinet, Metalogix, Nasuni, Riverbed Technology, Seven10, StorSimple, TwinStrata and other vendors who are developing applications and services that can add more value to AT&T cloud solutions. AT&T plans to jointly sell and market bundled solutions with third parties in select instances.

In addition, AT&T recently announced a strategic alliance with Acuo Technologies to develop cloud-based medical imaging storage solutions to help healthcare institutions solve their increasing data storage challenges. AT&T's cloud capabilities are among the innovative solutions that AT&T ForHealth(SM), AT&T's healthcare practice, is delivering to the healthcare industry to improve patient care and reduce medical costs.

Securing the Cloud

AT&T announced its participation in a working group with the Cloud Security Alliance to develop industry-wide definitions and categories of service for cloud-based Security-as-a-Service offers. The Cloud Security Alliance is a non-profit organization composed of technology industry vendors, customers, developers and consultants that promotes the use of best practices for providing security assurance within cloud computing and provides education on the uses of cloud computing to help secure all other forms of computing.

More Stories By Elizabeth White

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