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


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

A watch towards future innovation: Harnessing the facility of the cloud

Via Azure for Operators, Microsoft has cast shut ties with AT&T personnel, product providers teams, and companions. On the coronary heart of the worth Microsoft delivers in every of those relationships, is the best way wherein we leverage the facility of the cloud to enhance the following 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 includes 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 bettering 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.

Lots of the advantages that Microsoft delivered within the enterprise area are instantly relevant within the networking area. First, nevertheless, they should be modified to account for the distinctive carrier-grade wants of operators. Our efforts are aimed toward getting workloads on the community to operate on a carrier-grade cloud, which is a hybrid cloud, spanning each public and devoted on-premises cloud infrastructure. Telecommunication providers are extremely distributed and can probably change into extra so over time. Consequently, the worth of making a carrier-grade hybrid cloud mannequin lives in its capability to satisfy prospects 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 final word aim of delivering 75 p.c of their community utilizing virtualized expertise by 2020, which they succeeded at. Again then, there was no industrial cloud choice accessible that included the required options and capabilities to allow carrier-grade cloud. AT&T created a standards-based implementation of cloud expertise that was deployed of their on-premises information facilities. This preliminary built-in cloud advanced right into a Community Cloud, and in the present day, we’ve arrived at Community Cloud 2.7—representing seven years of expertise creating on-premises cloud for community workloads.

With Microsoft’s current acquisition of this expertise, growth groups from AT&T’s Community Cloud group have moved into Azure for Operators, instantly 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 expertise to run mobility community workloads that help their current client base. The second facet that’s distinctive is that the trouble is completely targeted on the mobility core community versus go-to-market collaborations on the edge. And third, the association is multi-vendor. Microsoft hybrid cloud expertise helps the AT&T cell core community that spans greater than 60 cloud-native community features (CNFs) and digital community features (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 expertise initially developed by AT&T will be utilized by a number of carriers, sustaining safety, with out shedding differentiation, and with the additional advantage of getting many prices akin to safety patching, vendor updates, and regulatory adjustments delivered as a part of a typical industrial product.

These capabilities will probably be mixed with Microsoft’s edge platform, our hybrid administration platform, Azure Arc, and our ecosystem of companions together with gear suppliers, {hardware} distributors, and software program distributors. By becoming a member of the Community Cloud with our platform and rising ecosystem, we’ve achieved a carrier-grade hybrid cloud answer that will probably 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 expertise that helps the AT&T mobility core community workloads. AT&T continues to pick out and handle the community functions (VNFs and CNFs) and their configurations to ship mobility providers to AT&T prospects. As such, we’re taking the AT&T Community Cloud expertise, constructing it into Microsoft’s commonplace hybrid cloud product, after which delivering a carrier-grade hybrid cloud answer again to the market and AT&T itself, the place it could actually run at AT&T on-premises or on Azure public cloud. Microsoft hybrid cloud expertise helps the AT&T mobility core community workloads used to ship 5G connectivity that helps client, enterprise, and the FirstNet responder group. When it comes to 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’t see it.

For AT&T, this collaboration places them able to ship new providers quicker and extra flexibly throughout Azure public cloud and on-premises with frequent tooling and providers, decreasing time-to-market for a cloud-native method. We imagine the consequence will probably be higher resiliency throughout the community, price benefits in the case of scaling current providers, and a more practical introduction of recent providers leading to steady enhancements to the shopper expertise.

Study extra

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


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