AT&T and IBM continue to evolve their cloud services partnership because business customers continue to demand more options for their use of cloud. The latest move is to embed AT&T's NetBond into the SoftLayer private cloud computing infrastructure IBM acquired a year ago. (See AT&T, IBM Team on Private Secure Cloud Connections.)
NetBond allows AT&T's VPN customers to connect directly to the IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) SoftLayer cloud for additional security, and that's increasingly important as businesses view cloud as a platform for much more than test/development, says Rene Dufrene, AVP, Growth Platforms at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T).
In addition to providing the security of a VPN connection that rides AT&T's private global network, AT&T NetBond has the advantage of automated, on-demand network service that flexes up and down with the cloud service, saving money in the process over always-on connections. It provides the application programming interfaces (APIs) into the existing AT&T VPN to let that happen on an automated basis. (See SDN Powers AT&T, IBM On-Demand Cloud Connections.)
To this point, AT&T and IBM have teamed on managed cloud solutions, whereas SoftLayer offers a variety of infrastructure-as-a-service options from bare metal right up through more complex hybrid options.
"We've actually seen situations where it was a combination of the two that was the ideal solution for a customer, so the thinking was, let's have a common network solution that is integrated," Dufrene says.
More enterprises are developing and testing new business applications in the cloud and then keeping them there as they move from test/dev to production, he adds. The partnership with IBM exposes AT&T's network services to a wider range of those companies in the process.
Even as it expands the range of its partnership with IBM, AT&T is collaborating with other partners, including Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) (NYSE: CSC), HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Salesforce.com Inc. and Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX). (See AT&T Lands Another Cloud Collaborator, AT&T Brings Salesforce into Cloud Ecosystem and AT&T Adds HP to Cloud Ecosystem.)
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading