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AT&T Offers As-A-Service Clouds

It comes as no surprise that with AT&T, cloud services are all about the network. The company provides a wide range of cloud capabilities, including as-a-service offerings.

As VP, As-a-Service Solutions within AT&T Business Solutions, John P. Potter is charged with developing a cloud-based strategy to "pivot and integrate" AT&T capabilities to solutions that are delivered in an as-a-Service model. He is further responsible for building a partner plan that will attract companies and ISVs to develop on AT&T's platform and distribute in a SaaS model. Just in case he gets bored, he is also charged with transforming the operating model that serves as a basis for how AT&T "presents, transacts and delivers" solutions to a more automated, self-service version.

Like everyone else, he is striving to streamline his organization, which includes 15 functional areas reporting to him. "We're trying to knock down the silo approach and have a more horizontal structure," Potter says.

Not surprisingly, his latest offering, AT&T Synaptic Compute-as-a-Service, was developed for use with VMware's vCloud Datacenter Service, which enables VMware's 350,000 customers to extend their private clouds via AT&T's VPN to take advantage of the advantages associated with using both private and public clouds. AT&T is highlighting these advantages by showcasing the DR efforts of VMware customer Concur, a cloud-based purveyor of travel and expense management solutions that has virtualized some 80 percent of its IT infrastructure with VMware. If Concur's primary network fails, it can fail over to the new AT&T service.

The carrier took a very user-friendly tack with its PaaS offering, AT&T Synaptic Platform-as-a-Service, which debuted last November 15. This service, which is billed as a boon to both non-coders and coders alike, is reportedly a complete, cloud-based development and deployment platform that includes web tools and customizable templates for software development, including "a library of 50 pre-built apps which can be customized or used as-is." The service also includes development tools to mobilize apps, integrated social networking features, and 7x24x365 infrastructure monitoring, management and support. Payment is based on a monthly, per-user fee.

This kind of "easy" PaaS, which is built on LongJump's cloud application platform, may be catching on, based on the quote attributed to IDC Group VP Stephen D. Hendrick who actually names AT&T, as opposed to the more common canned quote that endorses a technology type without mentioning any of its makers.

"Platforms for application development and deployment are usually either highly productive and narrow in scope, or challenging to use but able to address complex activities," reads the Hendricks quote. "Vendors that can provide the best of both worlds, by combining comprehensive enterprise class application capabilities, simplified management and lifecycle support, and a secure, reliable network will find success in the market. AT&T seems well positioned to address these emerging Platform-as-a-Service needs."

Potter's group also offers AT&T Synaptic Storage-as-a-Service, which provides elastic capacity on demand. Via the EMC Atmos web services API, application developers can enable a customized commodity storage system over the Internet or AT&T VPN. API Keys are used for customer authentication and to direct customer data to their containers. The API Keys are provided within customer profiles in the Web Management Portal.

In addition, Potter noted that AT&T offers AT&T Medical Imaging and Information Management, which enables customers to scale their image archive infrastructures in highly secure, high-available operating environments. The system utilizes AT&T's Synaptic Storage-as-a-Service offering in combination with a universal clinical platform from Acuo Technologies. Acuo's technology provides access to medical images from disparate picture archive systems.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 03/26/2012 at 12:48 PM


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