AT&T Global Sees Virtual Growth
Speaking at the Financial Times World Telecom Conference in London this week, Ron Spears, CEO of AT&T Business Solutions (previously known as AT&T Global Business Services), said the "virtualization of IT infrastructure will be the biggest trend for global enterprises in the next three years... [Multinationals will] move their IT infrastructure into the cloud to be more efficient."
Spears backed up his view with a recent Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. survey of chief information officers (CIOs). According to the AT&T man (Merrill Lynch would not release the survey results to Light Reading), 93 percent of CIOs put virtualization in their priority lists, with mobility and globalization as other key issues.
And Spears believes large global corporations will look to outsource the hosting and management of IT capabilities, asking managed hosting service providers to make their IT services seamlessly and securely accessible worldwide using a growing array of devices. "That's the way forward," he said.
Well, he'll certainly not want the current economic downturn to affect such a trend, because AT&T has been investing in its storage capabilities and data centers to tap into such demand. The carrier announced earlier this year it would spend $1 billion in 2008 on its international infrastructure, including $150 million on hosting technology in its 38 global centers to bolster capacity, connectivity, and managed services capabilities. (See AT&T's $1B Global Capex Pledge.)
There are question marks, though, surrounding the spending plans of major enterprises, Spears admitted. He said prior to Labor Day (September 1), everything was normal, but following the collapse of Lehman Brothers , "companies began rethinking 2009 immediately."
That includes AT&T Business Solutions. "We're looking at all potential cash-flow scenarios... We'll take a closer look at our investment plan. We'll be looking very closely at our plans during the next 60 days."
But while macroeconomic factors might affect short-term decisions, the AT&T unit, which has landed some major international outsourcing deals this year, won't be changing its views on the underlying trends in the market. (See AT&T, T-Systems Strike Oil.)
Along with the shift towards virtualization, an increasingly hot topic, Spears expects to see growing demand for unified communications and on-network security services, and a continuing demand for video services such as telepresence as multinationals look to generate a greater portion of their revenues outside their core home markets. (See HP Launches Network-Based Virtualization Platform, Force10 Gets a View, Thinking Virtual With Larry Dennison, Afore Aims for Data Centers, Juniper Strikes at Security's Core, Cisco Gets Virtual, and Virtualization Mgt. Tools Needed.)
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading