On October 2, 2014, AT&T partnered with Amazon Web Services to offer on-demand network-enabled cloud solutions to its customers via AWS and AT&T NetBond.
This is an interesting departure from the usual rounds of tit-for-tat, race-to-the-bottom announcements that AWS, Google’s cloud service, and others release. This announcement comes hot on the tail of Google’s latest cost reductions for customers. AWS has added a service improvement and soon (well, sometime in early 2015) will have the means to give all of its customers direct access to AWS services from the tech giant’s NetBond cloud integration platform.
NetBond, AT&T’s multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) product, offers a dynamic and secure pathway to customers’ data over virtual private networks (VPNs). As IDC Research VP Melanie Posey stated, “When companies combine their strengths and resources to make the services easier to use, the customer wins. The addition of AWS broadens AT&T’s already expansive NetBond ecosystem and will give customers highly secure, reliable, and on-demand connections to another key public cloud service provider.”
The key takeaway here is that the announcement is more important for AWS than it is for AT&T. AT&T already has VMware, IBM, HP, Azure, and Salesforce, among others, attached to NetBond. AWS is joining this party late in the game.
However, from a consumer perspective, AWS is the most visible of the cloud providers attached to NetBond. The pairing of AT&T’s VPN with AWS’s cloud platform may serve as a game changer for enterprises, prompting accelerated adoption of cloud services. For consumer and SME cloud consumption it could become compelling. AT&T is the second-biggest telco provider in the US; as such, it has a large, installed user base primed for AWS access. From this point of view, the announcement is actually bigger for AT&T than for AWS, as AT&T is poised to take a commanding position as the cloud connector of choice for the disparate clouds.