AT&T goes up in the clouds with Microsoft and IBM
AT&T has formed two separate cloud alliances – with Microsoft, covering cloud, AI and 5G, and with IBM, to modernise AT&T Business Solutions’ internal software applications.
AT&T announced the two separate deals, with two of the world’s largest IT companies, on successive days this week.
Microsoft will be the preferred cloud provider for non-network applications, as part of AT&T’s broader public cloud first strategy, and will support AT&T as it consolidates its data centre infrastructure and operations.
IBM will provide infrastructure to support AT&T Business’s applications – and AT&T Business will use Red Hat’s open source platform to manage workloads and applications. IBM completed its $34 billion purchase of Red Hat just last week.
John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications, commented on the Microsoft deal: “By working together on common efforts around 5G, the cloud and AI, we will accelerate the speed of innovation and impact for our customers and our communities.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said: “AT&T is at the forefront of defining how advances in technology, including 5G and edge computing, will transform every aspect of work and life.”
He added: “The world’s leading companies run on our cloud, and we are delighted that AT&T chose Microsoft to accelerate its innovation. Together, we will apply the power of Azure and Microsoft 365 to transform the way AT&T’s workforce collaborates and to shape the future of media and communications for people everywhere.”
Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of AT&T Business, commented on the IBM deal, which, he said, “includes optimising our core operations and modernizing our internal business applications to accelerate innovation. Through our collaboration with IBM, we’re adopting open, flexible, cloud technologies, that will ultimately help accelerate our business leadership.”
IBM said it will make AT&T Business its primary provider of software defined networking (SDN), though the term “primary” wasn’t defined.
AT&T Business said it will help transform IBM’s networking solutions with their latest technologies including 5G, edge compute and internet of things (IoT) as well as multi-cloud capabilities using Red Hat. This builds on the existing relationship where AT&T Business is IBM’s strategic global networking provider, the two companies said.
Arvind Krishna, IBM senior vice president for cloud and cognitive software, said: “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.”
He added: “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.”
In an odd footnote to its IBM announcement, AT&T said that deal “was signed in IBM’s Q2, 2019”, which ended on 30 June. The actual announcement this week came the day before IBM published its results.