AT&T recently announced a collaboration with Amazon Web Services to integrate AWS into the AT&T NetBond Virtual Private Network (VPN) architecture. As a result of the integration, AWS customers will access AWS products and services via the AT&T NetBond infrastructure by means a private network that bypasses the public internet. Because the NetBond infrastructure is accessed via a private connection, it delivers enhanced security, performance and reliability for Amazon Web Services customers who otherwise stand to endure the vagaries of public internet connections and their corresponding fluctuations in performance. The NetBond infrastructure additionally boasts network elasticity that adjusts network bandwidth in relation to the volume of network traffic, thereby enabling customers to save on network-related expenses. The collaboration between Amazon Web Services and AT&T with respect to NetBond illustrates an emerging trend in the IaaS space whereby infrastructures that connect public cloud platforms to a secure, private internet connection such as the Equinix Cloud Exchange proliferate as enterprises increasingly prioritize the security, performance and reliability of their cloud deployments. Existing AT&T NetBond customers include VMware, IBM, Equinix, HP and Box.
AT&T became the first U.S. telecom provider to join OpenStack on Monday. In a blog post, the company’s CTO, John Donovan, noted that AT&T had been participating in OpenStack for over a year and had “already contributed a blueprint for a potential new function within OpenStack, focused on transactional task management.” AT&T will host OpenStack on dedicated equipment in Dallas, San Diego and Secaucus and plans to double the number of OpenStack centers in 2012. Separate from the OpenStack announcement, Donovan announced plans to deploy a developer-focused cloud infrastructure called AT&T Cloud Architect. AT&T Cloud Architect differs from Synaptic Hosting, AT&T’s enterprise-based, infrastructure as a service offering because it caters to developer cloud needs focused around price and flexibility such as the ability to open accounts in seconds with a credit card. The target audience for Cloud Architect overlaps with the audience for the API platform that AT&T announced yesterday to “boost innovation and collaboration with mobile developers.” AT&T’s API platform for developers features software hooks that allow developers to easily reference AT&T services in their applications. Cloud Architect represents an ambitious play by AT&T given that it will compete squarely with the likes of Amazon Web Services and Rackspace for the attention of the developer community.
AT&T is the third major U.S. telecom company to make an aggressive push into cloud computing. In January 2011, Verizon agreed to acquire Terremark for $1.4 billion. In April, CenturyLink acquired Savvis for $2.5 billion.