A key element of the new cloud service is Big Blue’s SmartCloud Enterprise

IBM and service provider AT&T have joined forces to build a secure, network-enabled cloud service specific for business that uses private networks rather than the public Internet.

The companies are combining AT&T virtual private networking and IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+ cloud capabilities with new technology from AT&T Labs to create a new, fast and highly-secure shared cloud service. Targeted to multi-national organizations, the service will be offered in early 2013 as a new option for clients who are deploying cloud solutions that demand high levels of security and availability.

Many businesses often cite security as a key inhibitor to cloud computing adoption, according to AT&T. This service is expected to connect users to IBM cloud computing resources across AT&T’s virtual private network, which will then integrates the security protections of both, enabling users to shift information or applications between their own data centrer (private clouds) and this new cloud service.

This is critical for businesses that want the flexibility of the cloud but also need to protect applications and data as they move between data centers and wired or wireless computing devices such as tablets, smartphones, personal computers, retail kiosks or other machine-to-machine devices, AT&T said.

AT&T’s technology development on this service allocates networking resources to computing resources, automating functions that are often performed manually. This allows the network and compute resources to rapidly scale or contract in tandem to support the fluctuating demand on systems that an online retailer might experience before, during and after the holiday buying season; or that a large employer might experience before, during, and after their annual employee health benefits enrollment period, the company said.

Andy Geisse, CEO of AT&T Business Solutions, said AT&T and IBM are delivering a new, network-enabled cloud service that marries the security and speed of AT&T’s global network with the control and management capabilities of IBM’s enterprise cloud. This new service gives companies yet another way to innovate, create new value, and transform their businesses and industries.

A key element of the cloud service is IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+, an IBM Infrastructure-as-a-Service optimized for mission-critical, enterprise workloads. As a managed and hosted cloud environment, it offers many advantages of a private cloud – such as choice of dedicated physical servers and storage – but also adds the scalable flexibility of a public cloud. Customers using the new service will have access to IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+’ s broad spectrum of secure managed services and be able to run processes in both public and private cloud models.

Other features of the new cloud service include:

A variety of customization options to meet specific customer needs;

Committed service-level agreements (SLAs) aligned to business and usage requirements to increase accountability for response time and availability;

More than 70 automated built-in security functions; and

High levels of security extended to wired and wireless devices authenticated to the customer’s virtual private network.

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