IBM, AT&T team on cloud services

The cloud service will use private networks rather than the public Internet

IBM has teamed with AT&T to offer secure shared cloud services to customers over private networks rather than the public Internet, the companies said Tuesday.

The service to be delivered from early next year is targeted at clients worldwide who are deploying clouds that demand high levels of security and availability, and who often cite security as a key inhibitor to cloud computing adoption, the companies said in a statement.

Customers will be connecting to IBM's cloud computing resources, using AT&T's virtual private network, with tightly integrated security protections.

As a result, customers will be able to shift information or applications between their own data centers in private clouds and the new cloud service, without the data leaving the security protections of the virtual private network, the companies said. The feature is expected to be particularly relevant for businesses that need to protect applications and data as they move between data centers and wired or wireless computing devices such as tablets and smartphones.

Spending on public IT cloud services will be more than US$40 billion this year, and is expected to go up to nearly $100 billion in 2016, according to research firm IDC. The U.S. will remain the largest public cloud services market followed by Western Europe and Asia Pacific excluding Japan, IDC said in September, though it expects that the fastest growth in spending will be in emerging markets.

The service that will be offered jointly by IBM and AT&T next year combines AT&T's virtual private networking with IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service designed for mission-critical, enterprise workloads. IBM has previously said that it aims to make $7 billion in total cloud revenue by 2015.

Technology developed by AT&T will dynamically allocate networking resources to computing resources, allowing both to scale or contract together when required, the companies said.

Other features of the new cloud service include customization options to meet customer needs, over 70 automated built-in security functions, and security extended to wired and wireless devices which are authenticated to the customer's virtual private network.

The financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

IBM also announced Tuesday its PureData System which is optimized for analyzing big data in the cloud. The company unveiled three models of the system varying by the workload, including PureData System for Transactions, PureData System for Analytics, and PureData System for Operational Analytics.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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