Microsoft “Improves Cloud for Telecom Operators” After Acquisition of AT&T Network Cloud

Azure for Operators is a carrier-class hybrid cloud solution, according to Microsoft

Microsoft said it was “improving the cloud for carriers” nearly seven months after announcing the acquisition of Network Cloud from AT&T. Shawn Hakl, Vice President of 5G Strategy, Azure for Carriers, announced company news in a new blog post.

The initial announcement indicated that AT&T will operate its mobility network on Microsoft’s Azure for Operators cloud. “Bringing existing and future network workloads to Azure for operators will allow AT&T to increase productivity and profitability while focusing on delivering network services at scale that meet the changing needs of its customers.” Microsoft said at the time.

“Microsoft aims to exploit trends in software-defined networking (SDN), cloud native network functions (CNF) and virtualized network functions (VNF) coupled with the service-based architecture of 5G,” to start digitally transforming the network, ”explained Hakl.

To this end, AT & T’s Network Cloud operations are aligned and integrated with Microsoft’s Azure for Operators business. This direct integration ensures a seamless transition, Hakl said. Additionally, Microsoft Azure for Operators focuses on hybrid cloud.

“Our efforts are aimed at making the network workloads run on a carrier-grade cloud, which is a hybrid cloud, spanning both public and dedicated on-premises cloud infrastructure. Telecommunications services are highly distributed and are likely to become more so over time. As a result, the value of building a carrier-class hybrid cloud model lies in its ability to meet customers where they are: at the edge of the cloud, at the edge of the network, or at the edge of the business. business. “

Build a hybrid cloud portfolio

Hakl said Microsoft and AT&T have a clear division of labor. Microsoft is developing carrier-class hybrid cloud technology. AT&T selects and manages VNFs and CNFSs and their configurations, to help provide mobility services to customers.

“As such, we take AT&T Network Cloud technology, integrate it into Microsoft’s standard hybrid cloud product, and then deliver a carrier-grade hybrid cloud solution to the marketplace and AT&T itself, where it can run at AT&T. on the site. or in the Azure public cloud, ”Hakl said.

“Microsoft’s hybrid cloud technology supports AT&T core mobility network workloads used to provide 5G connectivity that supports FirstNet consumers, businesses and the stakeholder community,” he added.

Hakl pointed out that AT&T customer data remains secure and that Microsoft cannot see it.

This hybrid cloud synergy between Microsoft and AT&T can be seen in the enterprise deployment of Azure Edge Zones, which began with a gradual rollout in Atlanta last November as a private preview. Azure Edge Zones and Azure Private Edge Zones offer their customers on-premises edge computing based on 5G. Dallas and other metropolitan areas in the United States are coming soon, the companies said.

Hakl said that Microsoft’s 2020 acquisition of vEPC specialist Affirmed Networks, and then a month later of cloud-native VNF provider Metaswitch, brings together carrier-grade hybrid cloud functionality.

“These features, available to the entire partner ecosystem, contribute to an open and interoperable network that offers support to all operators,” he said.