The trend of telcos embracing cloud providers continued on Thursday with a new partnership between Deutsche Telekom and Microsoft Azure.
While there are various elements to the expanded partnership between the two industry giants, it includes Azure working with Deutsche Telekom (DT) to help it move the bulk of its IT workloads to the public cloud by 2025.
While there wasn't any additional information about how much of the IT workloads will move to the public cloud, moving mainframes is one of the targeted areas of the partnership. Instead of relying on legacy mainframes to provision new services and applications, businesses will tap into the cloud-based mainframes.
The benefits of using cloud-based mainframes include reducing operational and hardware costs as well as better energy efficiencies without the physical hardware.
For services such as SD-WAN, DT will also be able to offer its customers direct on ramps to Microsoft's cloud through Azure ExpepressRoute, which enables them to bypass the public internet.
Through a company-wide training program, thousands of Deutsche Telekom employees will also learn the ropes for using of Azure. DT will also offer Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams, both of which have seen increased usage during the Covid-19 pandemic, to its customers
DT is also helping its customers shift their SAP environments to Azure, which will also reduce hardware expenses while offering enterprise-grade security.
Telco and cloud partnerships galore
Service providers and cloud companies have ramped up their partnership efforts over the past two years or so. Telcos such as Orange, AT&T and Telefónica, among others, are partnering with multiple cloud providers to tailor different types of services to their enterprise customers at the network edge.
Telcos have the central offices and last mile connections that Amazon Web Services, Azure, Google Cloud and IBM lack. Some of the partnerships have included providing services to the cloud providers' end customers, as well as the cloud providers helping telcos with their own internal digital transformations.
When it comes to cloud services, businesses want options, which has led to telcos forging multiple cloud partnerships while also hedging their bets for relying on just one cloud provider. Google Cloud, Azure and VMware have announced platforms that specifically target service providers.
Creating an application ecosystem with cloud providers could lead to long capex cycles for telcos, which means longer payback periods. While partnering with cloud providers may not reduce telcos to the level of being a "dumb pipe," those partnerships could shift them towards a more utilities-type model going forward.