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

In June 2021, Microsoft and AT&T reached a significant milestone once 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’ve got 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 way 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 technology of telco networks. Microsoft goals to harness tendencies towards Software program Outlined Networking (SDN), Cloud-Native Community Capabilities (CNFs), and Virtualized Community Capabilities (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 enhancing the general service expertise. Azure for Operators represents the set of investments Microsoft is making to deliver the facility of the cloud to the community.

Lots 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 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 doubtless turn into extra so over time. In consequence, 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 p.c of their community utilizing virtualized expertise by 2020, which they succeeded at. Again then, there was no business cloud choice out there 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 knowledge facilities. This preliminary built-in cloud developed right into a Community Cloud, and right now, 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 expertise, improvement 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 the explanation why this collaboration is exclusive. For starters, that is the primary time {that a} tier-one operator has embraced business hybrid cloud expertise to run mobility community workloads that assist their present shopper base. The second side that’s distinctive is that the trouble is fully 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 capabilities (CNFs) and digital community capabilities (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 might be utilized by a number of carriers, sustaining safety, with out shedding differentiation, and with the additional advantage of getting many prices equivalent to safety patching, vendor updates, and regulatory modifications delivered as a part of a normal business 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 tools suppliers, {hardware} distributors, and software program distributors. By becoming a member of the Community Cloud with our platform and rising ecosystem, we’ve got achieved a carrier-grade hybrid cloud answer that will probably 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 expertise that helps the AT&T mobility core community workloads. AT&T continues to pick out 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 expertise, constructing it into Microsoft’s normal hybrid cloud product, after which delivering a carrier-grade hybrid cloud answer again to the market and AT&T itself, the place it might probably 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. By way of safety, it’s necessary to notice that Microsoft doesn’t entry AT&T buyer knowledge—AT&T continues to carry entry to that knowledge, and Microsoft can’t 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 widespread tooling and companies, lowering time-to-market for a cloud-native method. We imagine the outcome will probably be higher resiliency throughout the community, price benefits in terms of scaling present companies, and a more practical 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 are required for a carrier-grade hybrid cloud. These options, out there to all the associate ecosystem, contribute to an open, interoperable community that provides 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, seek advice from the e-book.

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