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AT&T Plans Enterprise Cloud Storage Service

AT&T today announced plans to introduce cloud storage services for businesses using its nationwide network and Internet Data Centers. The service, which will be rolled out this month and be generally available in the third quarter, will use EMC's Atmos technology to provide a policy-based platform so enterprises can store, distribute and retrieve data over the Internet or using virtual private networks or other transport services.

The entry of one of the nation's largest telecommunications companies into the storage-as-a-service market could change its dynamics since AT&T has one of the most extensive and redundant networks in the country, with dozens of switching centers and hosting centers, and spends vast sums on network capacity and computing and storage hardware. It has economies of scale that are hard to match by companies that don't own their own network, and it could potentially offer services at prices that would be hard to beat. However, the nation's two largest telecom companies -- AT&T and Verizon -- tend not to compete on price in the enterprise market.

The announcement provides a big endorsement for EMC's Atmos platform, which is a nice boost for the company as it begin its EMC World gathering this week in Orlando, Fla. AT&T and EMC will jointly develop and market the service. EMC, meanwhile, today introduced new services to extend Atmos by offering an Internet-based cloud storage service. EMC Atmos onLine provides what the company called Cloud Optimized Storage capabilities that lets customers move and manage large amounts of data and lets them link, or federate, internal and external Atmos clouds and move data between the two for redundancy, cost savings or to assist in collaboration.

AT&T said its Synaptic Storage as a Service will let customers set policies to manage the storage through a Web portal. The storage service will scale capacity up or down, and customers will be charged only for the capacity they use. Initially deployed in AT&T U.S. Internet data centers, the company said it will add the service to some of its international data centers based on customer demand.

"The demand for data storage continues to grow at a staggering rate, driven by companies' need for 24x7 access to business critical data," Roman Pacewicz, senior vice president of strategy and application services for AT&T Business Solutions, said in a statement. "AT&T Synaptic Storage helps enterprises get a handle on these increasingly complex storage environments, while controlling costs and improving service levels."

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