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Bettering 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 significant milestone after we introduced an industry-first collaboration to evolve Microsoft’s hybrid cloud expertise to assist AT&T’s 5G core community workloads. Since then, we have now 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 ability of the cloud

By way of Azure for Operators, Microsoft has solid 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 through which we leverage the ability of the cloud to enhance the following era of telco networks. Microsoft goals to harness developments 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 remodeling the community.

This evolution includes introducing each hybrid infrastructure and software program, constructing scalable elastic carrier-grade networks, and utilizing the ability 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 ability of the cloud to the community.

Lots of the advantages that Microsoft delivered within the enterprise house are instantly relevant within the networking house. First, nonetheless, 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 seemingly develop into extra so over time. Because of this, the worth of making a carrier-grade hybrid cloud mannequin lives in its capability to fulfill 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 % of their community utilizing virtualized expertise 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 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 growing on-premises cloud for community workloads.

With Microsoft’s latest acquisition of this expertise, 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 the 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 assist their current shopper base. The second facet that’s distinctive is that the trouble is totally centered 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 cellular core community that spans greater than 60 cloud-native community features (CNFs) and digital community features (VNFs) from 15 completely 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 reminiscent of safety patching, vendor updates, and regulatory adjustments delivered as a part of an ordinary industrial product.

These capabilities can 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 resolution that can 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 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 resolution again to the market and AT&T itself, the place it might 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 shopper, enterprise, and the FirstNet responder group. When it comes to safety, it’s vital 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 ready to ship new providers sooner and extra flexibly throughout Azure public cloud and on-premises with frequent tooling and providers, decreasing time-to-market for a cloud-native strategy. We imagine the outcome can be higher resiliency throughout the community, price benefits relating to scaling current providers, and a simpler 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, obtainable to your complete accomplice ecosystem, contribute to an open, interoperable community that gives assist to all operators. The message to operators from Microsoft is straightforward and simple: your companions and your prospects—and the connection is powered by our expertise. For extra details about the Azure for Operators technique, discuss with the e-book.

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