IBM and AT&T have announced a multi-year 'strategic alliance' whereby the telco will utilise IBM's cloud, as well as the Red Hat platform.
The Armonk firm will make AT&T Business its primary provider of sofware-defined networking (SDN) alongside this, building on the companies' existing relationships around AT&T being IBM's strategic global networking provider.
Alongside the moves to preferred providers, the companies will also collaborate on various initiatives, including edge computing platforms. AT&T and IBM see benefits in both directions on this: using 5G speed at the edge of the network, enterprises will be able to get greater insights and efficiencies. AT&T naturally wants to play a part in the former, with IBM there at the latter.
The two companies have been long-time partners; at InterConnect in 2017, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson joined IBM chief exec Ginni Rometty on stage to discuss the increasing 'enterprise strong' element of IBM's offering. "I don't believe we're more than three or for years away from being indistinguishable from the 'data cloud' to the 'network cloud'," said Stephenson at the time.
"Building on IBM's 20-year relationship with AT&T, today's agreement is another major step forward in delivering flexibility to AT&T Business so it can provide IBM and its customers with innovative services at a faster pace than ever before," said Arvind Krishna, IBM SVP cloud and cognitive software in a statement. "We are proud to collaborate with AT&T Business, provide the scale and performance of our global footprint of cloud data centres, and deliver a common environment on which they can build once and deploy in any one of the appropriate footprints to be faster and more agile."
This makes for an interesting comparison with Verizon, who moved to Amazon Web Services (AWS) as preferred public cloud provider in May last year. The operator said it was migrating more 1,000 business critical applications and backend systems as part of the process.
In 2017, AT&T signed an agreement with Oracle whereby the telco moved 'thousands' of its large scale internal databases to Oracle's IaaS and PaaS offerings.
CloudTech has reached out to AT&T and will update the story in due course.
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