Bettering the cloud for telcos: Updates of Microsoft’s acquisition of AT&T’s Community Cloud | Azure Weblog and Updates

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In June 2021, Microsoft and AT&T reached a serious milestone once we introduced an industry-first collaboration to evolve Microsoft’s hybrid cloud know-how to help AT&T’s 5G core community workloads. Since then, we have now had requests from many operators, companions, and clients to share extra particulars. This weblog is meant to just do that.

An eye fixed towards future innovation: Harnessing the facility of the cloud

By means of Azure for Operators, Microsoft has solid shut ties with AT&T personnel, product companies teams, and companions. On the coronary heart of the worth Microsoft delivers in every of those relationships, is the way in which by which we leverage the facility of the cloud to enhance the subsequent era of telco networks. Microsoft goals to harness tendencies towards Software program Outlined Networking (SDN), Cloud-Native Community Features (CNFs), and Virtualized Community Features (VNFs) coupled with the service-based structure of 5G, to start digitally reworking the community.

This evolution entails introducing each hybrid infrastructure and software program, constructing scalable elastic carrier-grade networks, and utilizing the facility of AI and machine studying to construct self-optimizing networks that may heal, defend, and provision themselves. These efforts will allow operators to hyper-automate the enterprise itself, bringing down prices and enhancing the general service expertise. Azure for Operators represents the set of investments Microsoft is making to convey the facility of the cloud to the community.

Most of the advantages that Microsoft delivered within the enterprise area are straight relevant within the networking area. First, nonetheless, they should be modified to account for the distinctive carrier-grade wants of operators. Our efforts are geared toward getting workloads on the community to perform on a carrier-grade cloud, which is a hybrid cloud, spanning each public and devoted on-premises cloud infrastructure. Telecommunication companies are extremely distributed and can probably grow to be extra so over time. Because of this, the worth of making a carrier-grade hybrid cloud mannequin lives in its potential to fulfill clients the place they’re—on the fringe of the cloud, the sting of the community, or the sting of the enterprise.

The progress towards the acquisition

In 2013 AT&T adopted an aggressive place on Software program Outlined Networks (SDNs) and virtualization, with the last word purpose of delivering 75 p.c of their community utilizing virtualized know-how by 2020, which they succeeded at. Again then, there was no industrial cloud choice obtainable that included the required options and capabilities to allow carrier-grade cloud. AT&T created a standards-based implementation of cloud know-how that was deployed of their on-premises information facilities. This preliminary built-in cloud advanced right into a Community Cloud, and at the moment, we’ve arrived at Community Cloud 2.7—representing seven years of expertise creating on-premises cloud for community workloads.

With Microsoft’s latest acquisition of this know-how, growth groups from AT&T’s Community Cloud group have moved into Azure for Operators, straight integrating the mental property right into a Microsoft providing and assuring a seamless transition.

There are three key explanation why this collaboration is exclusive. For starters, that is the primary time {that a} tier-one operator has embraced industrial hybrid cloud know-how to run mobility community workloads that help their present client base. The second facet that’s distinctive is that the hassle is solely centered on the mobility core community versus go-to-market collaborations on the edge. And third, the association is multi-vendor. Microsoft hybrid cloud know-how helps the AT&T cellular core community that spans greater than 60 cloud-native community capabilities (CNFs) and digital community capabilities (VNFs) from 15 totally different distributors.

Network cloud assets to be integrated int Azure for Operators portfolio.

What the Community Cloud acquisition means

Community Cloud know-how initially developed by AT&T may be utilized by a number of carriers, sustaining safety, with out dropping differentiation, and with the additional advantage of getting many prices corresponding to safety patching, vendor updates, and regulatory modifications delivered as a part of a typical industrial product.

These capabilities might be mixed with Microsoft’s edge platform, our hybrid administration platform, Azure Arc, and our ecosystem of companions together with tools suppliers, {hardware} distributors, and software program distributors. By becoming a member of the Community Cloud with our platform and rising ecosystem, we have now achieved a carrier-grade hybrid cloud answer that might be delivered because the Azure for Operators platform.

One key facet of this collaboration is our respective roles—Microsoft develops the carrier-grade hybrid cloud know-how that helps the AT&T mobility core community workloads. AT&T continues to pick and handle the community purposes (VNFs and CNFs) and their configurations to ship mobility companies to AT&T clients. As such, we’re taking the AT&T Community Cloud know-how, constructing it into Microsoft’s customary hybrid cloud product, after which delivering a carrier-grade hybrid cloud answer again to the market and AT&T itself, the place it will possibly run at AT&T on-premises or on Azure public cloud. Microsoft hybrid cloud know-how helps the AT&T mobility core community workloads used to ship 5G connectivity that helps client, enterprise, and the FirstNet responder neighborhood. By way of safety, it’s essential to notice that Microsoft doesn’t entry AT&T buyer information—AT&T continues to carry entry to that information, and Microsoft can not see it.

For AT&T, this collaboration places them able to ship new companies sooner and extra flexibly throughout Azure public cloud and on-premises with frequent tooling and companies, decreasing time-to-market for a cloud-native strategy. We imagine the end result might be higher resiliency throughout the community, value benefits in the case of scaling present companies, and a simpler introduction of recent companies leading to steady enhancements to the client expertise.

Study extra

Microsoft’s acquisition of AT&T’s Community Cloud, in addition to Metaswitch Networks and Affirmed Networks, brings the anchor purposes and telco know-how to construct the options which are required for a carrier-grade hybrid cloud. These options, obtainable to all the accomplice ecosystem, contribute to an open, interoperable community that gives help to all operators. The message to operators from Microsoft is easy and simple: your companions and your clients—and the connection is powered by our know-how. For extra details about the Azure for Operators technique, consult with the e-book.

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