With IBM and AT&T announcing a partnership to offer cloud services jointly, under which IBM will provide the data centers and AT&T the global networking, it’s a clear sign that the cloud-2-cloud opportunity is real, recognized, and the inevitable next step for enterprise-grade cloud offerings.
Given that IBM has actually called out Oracle in announcing its aggressive moves into cloud storage, applications, and networking, it seems likely that we will soon hear similar announcements coming from other partnerships between large technology suppliers and major Telcos.
From an OSS/BSS perspective, the salient points of this announcement as reported in Bloomberg News are:
“With its access to the controls of Dallas-based AT&T’s network, IBM will be able to shift capacity on the network so it can push the flow of data to where it’s most needed, like to a client’s supply-chain management systems during a holiday season…”
This kind of functionality puts a premium on capabilities like real-time policy and capacity management. It stands to reason that policy-based billing and charging could be associated as well. Further…
“AT&T has been increasing the control it gives businesses through products that let employers block certain applications or websites from employees and run anti-virus software. IBM markets its cloud products to larger businesses that need tailored services, like ways to run a supply chain or manage health data.”
This kind of application- and content-based network control speaks to having capabilities ranging from security and anti-virus to deep packet inspection and vertical-specific analytics built right into networking offerings. In turn, this reflects the realization of many of the concepts the OSS/BSS industry has proposed for years, namely value-added, operationally-based functionality being presented directly to the customer but in practical ways that don’t necessarily expose the underlying complexity of the OSS/BSS technology itself.