AT&T Business and IBM forge closer cloud relationship

AT&T and IBM have worked together for 20 years, but today the companies announced an expanded two-way relationship where IBM will continue to provide AT&T Business with open source systems, which IBM mostly inherited from its recent acquisition of Red Hat. Also, AT&T will provide IBM with software-defined networking (SDN) expertise. In addition, AT&T Business will move more of its applications to the IBM Cloud.

AT&T Business already has been using Red Hat's open source platforms, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat OpenShift to manage workloads associated with AT&T Business’ internal applications. Now, on the heels of IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat, AT&T Business will work with IBM to modernize its internal software applications to enable migrations to the IBM Cloud.

RELATED: IBM wraps up $34B deal to buy Red Hat

IBM will be the primary developer and cloud provider for AT&T Business’ operational applications, and will also help manage the AT&T Communications IT infrastructure, on and off premises and across different clouds, both private and public.

“We are proud to collaborate with AT&T Business, provide the scale and performance of our global footprint of cloud data centers, 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,” said Arvind Krishna, IBM’s senior vice president of cloud and cognitive software, in a statement.

The companies’ new multi-year partnership is a two-way street, as well. IBM says it will make AT&T Business its primary provider of SDN expertise. AT&T has been a leader in SDN, building its own telco cloud with open source software and donating its own in-house code as part of the foundation of the open source group ONAP.

RELATED: ONAP checks into Dublin with fourth software release

IBM says AT&T Business will help transform IBM’s networking solutions with AT&T technologies including 5G and IoT as well as multi-cloud capabilities. This builds on the existing relationship where AT&T Business is IBM’s strategic global networking provider.

The two companies say they will also collaborate on edge computing platforms, which they expect will be crucial for enterprises to capitalize on the power of 5G network speeds and the projected influx of internet-connected devices and sensors at the edge of the network.