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Comcast Dubs AWS 'Preferred' Provider As Cable Giant Leans On Public Cloud To Stay Nimble, Competitive

Comcast is fully embracing the public cloud to help run its own products and services more efficiently, as well as evolve its offerings more quickly for customers and partners.

Comcast is doubling down on its existing relationship with Amazon Web Services with plans to bring the bulk of its cloud business to the leading cloud heavyweight.

The cable giant said it has selected AWS as its preferred public cloud infrastructure provider. The designation means that Comcast will more heavily rely on AWS infrastructure to run its own cloud products and services, which will help Comcast launch and evolve more products for customers and channel partners more quickly, according to the Philadelphia-based company.

The expanded relationship builds on the existing partnership between Comcast and Seattle-based AWS. Comcast, a member of the AWS Partner Network, formally introduced its AWS Direct Connect offering in 2016 to solution providers, which business customers can use to privately connect via Comcast's fiber-based services or its coax-based connectivity offerings with the cloud behemoth's platform.

[Related: Comcast Introduces Internet 'Insurance Policy' To Keep SMBs Up And Running During Outages]

Comcast also offers direct cloud connections to global cloud providers Microsoft Azure and IBM's cloud platforms, including Bluemix.

For years, Comcast has been a user of AWS services, including its compute, storage and analytics platforms. Via the terms of the expanded partnership, Comcast will migrate and run more of its internal and customer-facing cloud-based workloads and applications on AWS, including its voice-control set-top box platform X1, as well as Xfinity xFi, which is the company's personalized, in-home Wi-Fi offering.

Comcast said that its two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal, have been running workloads on AWS for the past several years. This has allowed these business units to launch new, revenue-generating services, as well as to stay nimble -- a must in the ultra-competitive entertainment industry.

Avant, a self-proclaimed born-in-the-cloud master agent, became a Comcast partner last year. Ian Kieninger, Avant's CEO, told CRN that it’s no surprise that Comcast is relying more on public cloud services to rapidly scale its business.

Chicago-based Avant is seeing a similar "rapid acceleration" of cloud service adoption among its partner community and end customers, especially as more solution providers evangelize cloud best practices to their clients, Kieninger added.

"We believe that the best time to buy a data center server is never, so this decision by Comcast underscores the fact that customers are moving to the cloud and expect their service providers to keep up with their demands," he said.

The combination of cloud and connectivity is essential in the world of digital transformation, Craig Schlagbaum, vice president of indirect channels for Comcast Business, told CRN.


"Our solution coupled with AWS allows partners to provide their customers end-to-end connectivity to reach their cloud applications from the branch offices all the way into the cloud environment managed entirely by Comcast," Schlagbaum said. "This ensures the best possible cloud experience for the end user and provides a critical link to ensure the cloud solution is operating at maximum efficiency."

A cloud strategy without a really well-thought-out network strategy is a flawed strategy, according to Andrew Pryfogle, senior vice president of cloud transformation for Petaluma, Calif.-based Intelisys, a Comcast partner that has thousands of agent partners selling Comcast's business-class internet and fiber-based products.

"To have a good experience in the cloud, you have to make sure your network is up to par, and these types of relationships go a long way in accomplishing that," Pryfogle said.

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