Hypercloud providers including Amazon and Microsoft are striking partnerships with service providers, as both groups of companies eye big edge opportunities, and telcos look to offload network operations and their internal business processes to the cloud.
These stories were big in 2019, and they're likely to take on even more significance.
As December opened, Amazon launched its new AWS Wavelength 5G edge computing platform, in a joint event at AWS's annual big re:Invent customer and partner conference. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg took the stage with AWS CEO Andy Jassy to say that Verizon's new edge computing platform, 5G Edge will run the Amazon technology. Vodafone, SK Telecom and KDDI are also partners.
Earlier in the year, AWS hired SDN/NFV pioneer Tetsuya Nakamura away from CableLabs, the US cable sector's R&D body. Nakamura led CableLabs' open source research work on NFV and SDN and oversaw NTT DoCoMo's mobile network virtualization as well.
Amazon's cross-town rival, Microsoft, has been busy too. Microsoft announced an "extensive, multiyear alliance" with AT&T for cloud, 5G, AI and edge in July. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it was reported at $2 billion. AT&T named Microsoft as "preferred cloud provider for non-network applications," and Microsoft will support AT&T consolidation of data center infrastructure and operations. Microsoft gets access to the AT&T network, particularly 5G.
AT&T and Microsoft said in February that they would team up with a proof of concept to test network edge compute on AT&T's 5G network.
AT&T also announced a partnership with IBM, earlier in the same July week as it announced the Microsoft deal, involving AT&T Business, a business unit of A&T Communications, which is the AT&T arm in the Microsoft deal.
Microsoft partnered with eight managed service providers, including SD-WAN specialist Aryaka, to help enterprises connect to its Azure cloud.
Reliance Jio and Microsoft launched a "comprehensive" ten-year cloud team-up, offering connectivity, computing, storage and other technology services and applications for Indian businesses, with a particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises. Additional, Reliance Jio is building data centers in India for Microsoft, the two companies said in August.
Google got in on the action, too. Vodafone turned to Google Cloud to build a new custom system called Neuron for analytics and business intelligence about its business in 11 countries, replacing an on-premises data platform requiring 600 servers in eight clusters.
Vodafone signed a $550 million cloud deal with IBM to provide cloud services and connectivity to European businesses.
And Equinix sees the hypercloud providers as potential customers, launching a $1 billion-plus joint venture to operate data centers in Europe for the likes of Amazon and Microsoft, just a dozen companies worldwide but potentially a huge opportunity.
— Mitch Wagner Executive Editor, Light Reading