AT&T makes cloud bond with Amazon Web Services

AT&T (NYSE: T) has added Amazon Web Services (AWS) as another provider it can give its customers access to via NetBond, a technology that allows the service provider to work with its enterprise customers' cloud services.

Existing and new AT&T Business customers will be able to have a private and high-speed connection to AWS, including the option to scale their network use at the same rate as their enterprise applications running on the AWS Cloud.   

One of the key features of NetBond is that a customer can extend its MPLS private network directly into a cloud provided by AWS, IBM or another provider with similar performance and security capabilities of a private cloud offering. It is also a more secure construct because NetBond can bypass the public Internet and the security risks associated with it. AT&T claims that NetBond improves cloud service performance by as much as 50 percent.

Jon Summers, SVP, AT&T Business Solutions, told FierceTelecom that the advent of NetBond and enabling connections to AWS and other cloud providers is helping ease business customers' migration to a hybrid cloud implementation.

"We initially deployed NetBond with the AT&T cloud, but recognized that enterprises more and more are deploying a hybrid cloud model so some workloads may run in the customer's data center, some may run in an AT&T data center, some may run at IBM, AWS or other cloud data centers," said Summers. "With NetBond we have developed an ecosystem that's really about enabling customers to migrate to their preferred cloud solution based on the application needs they have, but do it in a way that enables a common, highly secure network."

What's significant about this alliance is the sheer size of what both players bring to the collective table in terms of cloud reach and VPN capabilities.

Amazon Web Services is five times the size of the top 14 other cloud providers combined, according to Gartner. Likewise, a separate Frost and Sullivan report revealed that AT&T had more than 40 percent of the U.S. VPN market share in 2013.

Summers sees AWS as one of the key partners as it continues to broaden the reach of the NetBond ecosystem.

"AWS is an important part of the ecosystem and we have many of our customers' trialing, testing, or using Amazon, but we think that by enabling Amazon in the NetBond ecosystem will enable customers to make that migration more aggressively," he said.

The service provider is finding adoption of the NetBond solution across all of the vertical segments it serves, including insurance, financial, health care and government.

Already, some of AT&T's clients are turning to this service, including real estate giant Colliers International. The company is using the NetBond solution bundled with Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Azure platform, for example.

"Colliers was concerned about predictability of the network and security of the connection relative to what's available with these Internet connectivity solutions," Summers said. "Together with Microsoft, we bundled our NetBond with Azure and Colliers is in the midst of adapting that and moving their services to a production environment."

By adding Amazon Web Services, AT&T now offers a secure connection to a number of the key cloud providers including: IBM, CSC, Microsoft, Equinix, Salesforce, HP, Box and VMWare.

AT&T may be the latest provider to strike a cloud connection deal with AWS, but it is hardly alone. A number of traditional ILECs and competitive carriers, including Verizon (NYSE: VZ), Level 3 and XO, have made similar pacts.

Verizon added Amazon Web Services to the list of third-party cloud providers via its Secure Cloud Interconnect (SCI) service, while Level 3 has made connections between the data centers of fellow Amazon partner Equinix and the data centers of enterprise customers.

 For more:
- see the release

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