AT&T upped its cloud portfolio Monday when announced it was working with VMware and Sun to develop its own cloud computing service.'
Much like other cloud computing offerings, AT&T's Synaptic Compute as a Service aims to give users scalable on-demand computing capacity that they can increase or decrease depending on their immediate needs and without the need to invest heavily in on-site infrastructure. The service's key features include a Web portal for ordering and managing service capacity; disk capacity for every virtual server's operating system; and 24-hour network monitoring and management by AT&T's support staff.
The service utilizes VMware's vSphere virtualization platform and its vCloud API to help AT&T connect and integrate its own cloud with the public Web. AT&T also says that it is also using Sun's hardware software and reference architecture to "create an environment to make it easy for developers to build and deploy value-added services." Sun, along with IBM, was one of the first companies to offer a computing-on-demand service that treated computing power more like a utility and that was a precursor to today's cloud-based offerings.
AT&T's cloud computing service is the second cloud-based offering the company has launched this year. This past May the company kicked off its first cloud-based storage system that allows enterprises to store data in the AT&T cloud rather than making capital investments in their own storage capacity.
Cloud computing services use Internet technologies to deliver IT-related capabilities directly to users. As a recent Network World FAQ noted, cloud computing is "an approach to building IT services that harnesses the rapidly increasing horsepower of servers as well as virtualization technologies that combine many servers into large computing pools and divide single servers into multiple virtual machines that can be spun up and powered down at will."