AT&T has added networking capabilities engineered explicitly for facilitating connections to Amazon's public cloud, deepening a relationship that's flourishing around security and the Internet of Things.
The Dallas-based telecom giant is looking to make it easier and safer for AWS' customers to use its network to access backend cloud computing resources, especially from remote sensors and devices.
Among the developments, FlexWare, AT&T's solution for implementing virtual network functions, has been made "cloud-ready." This enables FlexWare devices that virtualize routers and firewalls on the customer's end to directly connect to Amazon data centers. That will deliver greater agility to edge computing deployments, AT&T said in a statement on Monday.
The telecom carrier also introduced Private Mobile Connect for secure access from mobile devices to AWS, either across a public network or taking advantage of NetBond, AT&T's solution for virtual private network connections to the cloud.
AT&T Threat Manager, a log and security alert monitoring solution, was updated to deliver those continual monitoring services for AWS customers.
Finally, AT&T said its working with Amazon to bring AWS Greengrass to the FlexWare virtual network function platform.
Greengrass, introduced at last year's AWS re:Invent conference, delivers the capability to run AWS Lambda's serverless compute technology on devices in the field.
Collaboration between the two companies has already yielded AT&T's IoT starter kit that's run on Amazon's cloud platform.
Ricky Richey, CEO of Altaworx, an AT&T Platinum Partner based in Fairhope, Ala., said the rapid adoption of cloud, and AWS in particular, gives AT&T an opportunity to differentiate itself with direct connectivity solutions for local networks and mobile devices.
"I think between the two of them – AWS needs connectivity partners, you can't get to AWS without connectivity – it’s a good relationship because the two of them dominate their particular fields," Richey told CRN.
The mushrooming Internet of Things furthers that opportunity. AT&T is already capitalizing with its exclusive deal with Cisco to resell the Jasper IoT management platform, he said.
Connecting FlexWare, and mobile devices, directly to Amazon and other cloud data centers through AT&T's core MPLS network goes further to help customers achieve more-efficient data consumption while hardening network security.
"A lot of customers, we have several, have been moving to AWS instead of having their own data center. Now I can build them a custom APN on the Cisco Jasper network so they can go straight to AWS," Richey said. "This is going to do it directly from those locations, without going back to the data center."
Enabling companies, especially those deploying IoT devices, to connect private networks to leading cloud providers gives AT&T a big advantage in the market.
"But they don’t talk about it enough," Richie added. He told CRN he hopes to see the telecom giant do a better job in promoting those new AWS networking assets than it's done in the past with related products.