The decision by AT&T and IBM to join forces in delivering a "network-enabled" cloud service for Fortune 1000 enterprise customers – that uses private networks rather than the public Internet – is winning praise from at least one industry analyst.
The carrier and the computer giant announced Tuesday a plan to offer better cloud services, with IBM providing data-storage facilities and services while AT&T lets users retrieve the data through its global network. Look for the service to be available early next year.
“Large global telecom service providers — including AT&T — are building successful enterprise cloud businesses, and this is the reason why: Access to the cloud is as important as the computing infrastructure that is housed there," said Yankee Group Senior Analyst Rich Karpinski. "So it makes complete sense for AT&T to in essence wholesale out an intelligent ‘cloud access’ service to other cloud providers like IBM. The joint venture has tremendous potential as cloud services are not a one-size-fit-all type of offering ... different cloud and telecom providers will lead different sorts of cloud offers. At heavy IBM IT shops, Big Blue will own the customer relationship while AT&T will gain the ability to offer a managed cloud access service versus having those customers lease dark fiber and manage their own connections. In other cases, AT&T will be able to entice customers with its own cloud solutions. The fact that traditional IT and telecom players realize they can’t own it all and are working out joint venture/channel issues is proof of a maturing cloud market."
The service will be sold directly, not through AT&T Alliance channels. IBM plans on bringing in $7 billion in cloud revenue by 2015.