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AT&T Still Cloudy On CaaS

AT&T's new cloud computing service introduced on Monday is arguably the biggest endorsement yet of an industry that's come under scrutiny for high profile failures. The latest was last month's Sidekick outage where users were taken offline after a server failure wiped out their data. Two weeks later, the Danger/Microsoft team who hosted the server were still working on restoring the data. Fall out from the service in the near term was significant. Just over a third of respondents to a survey from Strategic Technology Analytics indicated that they would review their cloud decision because of the failure.

Yet cloud computing for the enterprise continues to interest CIOs and executives. AT&T says that it was only after feedback from its User Advisory Councils, some of which comprise Fortune 100 CIOs, that it moved into the technology. Enterprises indicated that the technology has emerged from being a niche offer to one that could be used to extend existing compute resources.

The AT&T service, called Synaptic Compute as a Service (CaaS), will take square aim at such organizations. Unlike services from Amazon and IBM, AT&T will leverage it private network to provide secure connection backs to its data center. The service is also available over the Internet. Perhaps in a nod to the recent cloud fiascoes, AT&T further emphasized that the service would be monitored and managed around the clock. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are at 99.9 percent of uptime. Organizations will be able to order their infrastructure through a Web portal.

As with Verizon's CaaS announced earlier in the year, AT&T's technology is based on VMware's VSphere virtualization platform. The service will use Sun Microsystems' cloud computing API, for example, for creating value-added services.

Three server sizes are available with the service: Small (1 CPU and 4 GB of memory); Medium (2 CPUs and 8 GB of memory); and Large (4 CPUs and 16 GB of memory). Each image will come with 100 GB of storage with up to 2 TB of additional disk storage per virtual server available, or the option to connect to AT&T's Synaptic Storage as a Service for more dynamic expansion.

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