IBM and AT&T team up in cloud

Large IBM computers

AT&T and IBM have teamed up to offer shared secure cloud services to customers using private networks instead of public clouds.

The service, due to launch next year, is aimed at large enterprises who need to deploy clouds with high levels of availability and security. Many businesses often cite security as a key inhibitor to cloud computing adoption, according to the companies.

Customers will connect to IBM's cloud computing resources, using AT&T's virtual private network. The service will offer tightly integrated security protections.

The companies said this was crucial for businesses that want the flexibility of the cloud but also need to protect applications and data as they move between data centres and wired or wireless computing devices such as tablets, smartphones, personal computers, retail kiosks or other machine-to-machine devices.

It said this would enable organisations to move data or applications between their own data centres in private clouds and the new cloud service, without the data leaving the security protections of the virtual private network.

According to figures from research firm IDC, global sales of cloud computing services will more than double from $40 billion this year to $100 billion by 2016.

The cloud service also features customisation options for specific customer needs, over 70 automated built-in security functions, and security extended to wired and wireless devices which are authenticated to the customer's virtual private network.

The service combines AT&T's virtual private networking with IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service designed for mission-critical, enterprise workloads. Customers using the new service will have access to IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+' s broad spectrum of secure managed services and be able to run processes in both public and private cloud models.

Andy Geisse, chief executive of AT&T Business Solutions said the new service gives companies "yet another way to innovate, create new value, and transform their businesses and industries."

"As more organisations realise that cloud can be secure, easily managed, and a key part of their business strategy, cloud will quickly evolve as a tool for innovation rather than just for infrastructure," said Erich Clementi, senior vice president, IBM Global Technology Services.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.