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The AT&T Synaptic Storage as a Service, which is being trialed with select customers, is expected to be available in the third quarter. Users will be able to "store, distribute and retrieve data as needed" through a Web-based user portal, the company says. AT&T has deployed the service at all of its Internet Data Centers in the United States and the company says it eventually plans to deploy it at its global IDCs as well.
AT&T touts three advantages of its storage-as-a-service approach. First, it allows enterprises to store data in the AT&T cloud rather than making capital investments in their own storage capacity. Second, it offers flexibility to companies that have volatile or fluctuating storage needs. And finally, AT&T says that its service can often provide data "at a fraction of the cost of managing data over a dedicated storage area network." As Gartner analyst Adam Couture has noted, the initial attraction to cloud-based storage systems "has been staggering cost differential between traditional storage offerings and cloud storage."
AT&T is relying on EMC to provide the underlying platform for it storage service. Specifically, AT&T is using EMC's Atmos technology, which is designed to help service providers build and develop cloud storage systems.
Cloud computing services use Internet technologies to deliver IT-related capabilities directly to users. As a recent Network World FAQ noted, cloud computing is "an approach to building IT services that harnesses the rapidly increasing horsepower of servers as well as virtualization technologies that combine many servers into large computing pools and divide single servers into multiple virtual machines that can be spun up and powered down at will."
Read more about cloud computing in Network World's Cloud Computing section.