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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 know-how 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.

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

By means of Azure for Operators, Microsoft has cast 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 through which we leverage the facility of the cloud to enhance the following era of telco networks. Microsoft goals to harness traits 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 house are instantly relevant within the networking house. First, nevertheless, 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 operate 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 seemingly 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 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 objective of delivering 75 % of their community utilizing virtualized know-how by 2020, which they succeeded at. Again then, there was no industrial cloud choice accessible that included the mandatory 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 knowledge facilities. This preliminary built-in cloud developed right into a Community Cloud, and immediately, we’ve arrived at Community Cloud 2.7—representing seven years of expertise growing on-premises cloud for community workloads.

With Microsoft’s current acquisition of this know-how, improvement 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 know-how to run mobility community workloads that help their current client base. The second side that’s distinctive is that the trouble is completely 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 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 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 resembling safety patching, vendor updates, and regulatory adjustments delivered as a part of an ordinary industrial product.

These capabilities will likely 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’ve achieved a carrier-grade hybrid cloud resolution that will likely be delivered because the Azure for Operators platform.

One key side 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 prospects. As such, we’re taking the AT&T Community Cloud know-how, constructing it into Microsoft’s commonplace hybrid cloud product, after which delivering a carrier-grade hybrid cloud resolution again to the market and AT&T itself, the place it may well 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 group. By way of safety, it’s vital to notice that Microsoft doesn’t entry AT&T buyer knowledge—AT&T continues to carry entry to that knowledge, and Microsoft can not see it.

For AT&T, this collaboration places them ready to ship new companies quicker and extra flexibly throughout Azure public cloud and on-premises with frequent tooling and companies, decreasing time-to-market for a cloud-native method. We consider the outcome will likely be higher resiliency throughout the community, price benefits with regards to scaling current companies, and a simpler introduction of latest 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 can be required for a carrier-grade hybrid cloud. These options, accessible to all the companion ecosystem, contribute to an open, interoperable community that gives help to all operators. The message to operators from Microsoft is straightforward and easy: your companions and your prospects—and the connection is powered by our know-how. For extra details about the Azure for Operators technique, check with the e-book.

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