AT&T inks deals with Microsoft Azure and IBM

The US multinational telecoms company, AT&T, has decided to get rid of all its data centres and looks set to keep its options open about who it uses as its cloud provider.

The news shows the network and service provider has decided not to put all its eggs in one basket and instead has opted to create “strategic alliances” with both IBM and the Azure cloud computing arm of Microsoft. This will see it avoid getting into the established cloud war between the tech giants at present, with them even bidding for a US Government central contract to provide cloud services for the Pentagon.

Such moves firmly entrench these companies into the cloud, which is currently one of the biggest market movers in the tech and computing sector, meaning that AT&T choosing to stay out of this could be a big card to play. It has put pen to paper on a $2bn deal with Azure, while there has been no figure placed on a multi-year continuation of its partnership with IBM. Having sold off data centres worth $1.1bn, AT&T has already recouped a significant share of the costs.

The IBM deal means that all or most of its software applications used internally will go to the IBM cloud through the newly-acquired open-source, Red Hat, while Azure will provide Office 365 and the majority of their non-network applications. With Red Hat in place at IBM, AT&T can move fast into 5G, edge computing, and IoT.