AT&T, Microsoft Partner on Cloud Integration and Security

The new offering will use cloud-integration technology from AT&T to pair virtual private networking with Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform.

AT&T and Microsoft announced plans to deliver a security-enhanced cloud offering that would allow enterprise customers to connect to Microsoft’s cloud platform using a private network.

AT&T’s cloud integration technology, NetBond, bonds networking and computing resources together and automates functions that are often performed manually. It allows the network and compute resources to flex in tandem to support the fluctuating demands on systems that enterprise cloud users often experience throughout the year.

The new offering will use cloud-integration technology from AT&T to pair virtual private networking with Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud platform. Customers are expected to benefit from the enterprise-grade security of virtual private networking, with as much as 50 percent lower latency than the public Internet, and access to cloud resources from any site using almost any wired or wireless device. AT&T customers are already able to take advantage of the technology with the company’s own cloud offers, company officials said.

"There’s no question that the time for cloud computing is now, and it’s critical we help enterprises embrace the cloud on their terms," Satya Nadella, executive vice president of cloud and enterprise for Microsoft, said in a statement. "Through this strategic alliance with AT&T, we can reduce the barriers to entry for cloud computing by providing a more secure and reliable connectivity option for enterprise customers, accelerating the growth of cloud computing and the rapid adoption of Windows Azure."

AT&T also announced it has launched an enterprise-focused application programming interface (API) program that allows enterprise customers, wholesale collaborators and solution providers to innovate using AT&T network APIs. Extending APIs to enterprises is part of a broader evolution in the way AT&T collaborates with business customers and third-party technology companies, and the new API program complements the company’s existing consumer developer program.

Some examples of how enterprises can use AT&T APIs include content formatting and communications services. For instance, using APIs, video content from a company’s video library stored in the cloud can be optimized in near real time for users to watch on almost any device and network. Or businesses could use APIs to automate voice and video calls, integrating speech and video services into applications in an effort to improve efficiency and productivity in business operations.

The company recently forged a global strategic alliance with the Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) to develop next-generation technology solutions for enterprises, launched a joint cloud service with IBM and has jointly launched enterprise mobility solutions with companies such as Antenna Software, Axeda and MobileIron.

"Working closely with our ecosystem of enterprise customers and solution providers, we have jointly identified core network capabilities that allow all of us to create differentiated services and solutions," Andy Geisse, CEO of AT&T Business Solutions, said in a statement. "We expect our work to result in a proliferation of innovative solutions that will help enterprise customers innovate, grow and become more productive."