Telecom giant AT&T announced its version of a cloud computing service today, called Synaptic Hosting, but to make things horribly unclear (and perhaps keep enterprise customers happy) it decided it should call the effort everything from utility computing to a hosting solution. I’m not sure if the entire service counts as a cloud, but AT&T does say that it will “support large-scale computing and applications on demand via virtualized servers and deliver services across AT&T’s Internet Data Center hosting infrastructure.”
So it does seem that despite the continued use of the words hosting and utility computing peppered throughout the announcement, that somewhere there is a cloud. My guess is there are a whole range of services being offered here, all with an AT&T service-level agreement. That could interest cloud-leery enterprise customers.
The key advantage to AT&T’s service is that it controls not just the servers and the cloud, but it also owns the network that those bits of data must traverse to get from the cloud to your computer. That’s a powerful proposition because it gives AT&T one more potential point of failure that it can guarantee and control. It also could lead the way for some interesting pricing options given that AT&T will know exactly how much it costs for each byte of storage and each compute cycle, but it also has the wholesale costs of bandwidth.
Want to define the cloud? Check out these posts for some help: