AT&T is putting the finishing touches on a service that connects its corporate customers' VPNs to Microsoft Azure services, eliminating the need to find separate links between business sites and Microsoft's cloud.
Both companies expect that current AT&T customers will be those likely to sign up first for what will seem to them as a feature of the VPN service they have now. Their assets in the Azure cloud will appear as if they are a node on the corporate network, the companies say.
Spokesmen for both companies say there is significant overlap between those buying Azure and those buying AT&T VPN services.The new offering rolls out to a limited number of selected customers later this year and will be generally available next year, the companies say.
The service is based on connections AT&T and Microsoft have engineered between the AT&T network and Azure data centers. When customers buy it, they are getting a certain amount of bandwidth between the service providers' facilities, not a new connection between their sites and AT&T's network, the companies say. That bandwidth can be flexible so it automatically increases to accommodate higher than normal traffic and drops back after a spike.
The alternative for most Azure customers is over the public Internet, which can have issues with delay and security, they say.
Microsoft says the relationship with AT&T is the only one it has with any service provider so far, but it could create similar ones with other carriers. Pricing depends on bandwidth commitments.