AT&T And IBM Double Team The Cloud
October 11, 2012

Cloud Partnership Between IBM and AT&T By Early 2013

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Just like peanut butter and chocolate, the world´s latest computer services provider and America´s largest phone carrier are coming together to lure even more customers into the ever-expanding cloud.

AT&T and IBM have announced plans to combine their strengths and enable a “network-enabled” cloud service, the first of its kind, according to a press release from earlier this week.

By using IBM´s SmartCloud Enterprise+ offerings with AT&T´s Virtual Private Network (VPN) offerings as well as some “breakthrough technology” from AT&T´s labs, the two companies hope they´ll be able to offer customers a speedy yet secure cloud-based sharing service as well as capture a hefty chunk of that $14 billion cloud services pie.

The two plan to split their revenue as a part of the deal and store the users´ data and software in off-site data centers.

According to a Bloomberg report on the deal, this is the closest IBM has ever gotten to a phone carrier, giving them direct access to the systems which control AT&T´s business networks. On the other end, AT&T will now be able to offer their customers cloud services from a large and established network. Says Andy Geisse, head of AT&T´s business unit, this opportunity will be “huge” for the company.

“With our customers, we see cloud computing as a key part of their network infrastructure and of their computer environment going forward,” said Geisse in a phone interview with Bloomberg.

As an example, a financial services company could benefit from these offerings by being able to move and manage their customers´ data between their own servers and IBM´s servers, remaining safe and secure underneath the cloak of AT&T´s VPN.

These two companies are also making this move as a way to directly compete with other companies, such as Verizon and Oracle also quickly expand their cloud offerings. According to the Bloomberg report, AT&T and IBM decided teaming up to compete in this space would be most beneficial for them both in a rapidly progressing market.

This move could also help propel IBM to their goal of earning $7 billion in cloud revenue by 2015. The company has yet to say just how much they´ve made from cloud revenue thus far, though they were able to pull down more than triple what they did in previous years in 2011.

Erich Clementi, senior vice president of IBM´s global technology services admits this new partnership will help push them towards this goal, telling Bloomberg, “This is a major component of how we get to that $7 billion.”

These two corporate behemoths won´t be the only ones to benefit from the deal, of course. Business customers will be able to choose how their data is stored at IBM´s data centers as well as access it safely through AT&T´s network. In addition to the flexibility AT&T offers their customers the ability to block certain applications or Web sites from a business´s network. IBM has also been stepping up their game for their customers by offering tailor-made services for their larger customers.

“As more organizations realize that cloud can be secure, easily managed, and a key part of their business strategy, cloud will quickly evolve as a tool for innovation rather than just for infrastructure,” said Clementi in the press statement.

“We believe this new service from two recognized leaders in cloud computing provides a compelling way for large organizations to exploit cloud´s transformational power.”

This joint cloud service is due for launch early next year.