AT&T heads to the clouds

Major US telco becomes the latest player to announce major cloud computing initiative for enterprise.

AT&T, the largest telephone company in the US, plans to offer companies web-based data storage offerings using cloud computing technologies from storage equipment maker EMC. The service will be called AT&T Synaptic Storage as a Service.The telecommunications giant will join IBM, Amazon, Symantec, Iron Mountain and others in offering storage as a service product, which enable companies to use the internet to transfer information to remote storage facilities.AT&T's senior vice president of strategy and application services, Roman Pacewicz said that, "AT&T Synaptic Storage helps enterprises get a handle on these increasingly complex storage environments, while controlling costs and improving service levels."AT&T said on Monday it will initially run the service from two data centres in the US, although the company intends to expand overseas. It will initially be available on a limited basis this month, with wider availability coming in the third quater.It is still early days for the industry. Market researcher Gartner forecasts that revenue from cloud-based storage and backup services will rise 22 per cent this year to about $400 million (262.86)Cloud-based storage services charge companies for space as they use it at an agreed rate per gigabyte per month, rather than requiring them to purchase storage equipment in advance or pay for maintaining that gear.

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