AT&T pushes multi-vendor ASP services strategy

AT&T joined forces with industry heavyweights such as Cisco, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun on Thursday to unveil what the telecommunications giant calls an "ecosystem" for application service providers (ASPs).

Specifically, AT&T announced at the ComNet show in Washington that it will get further into the red-hot hosted applications market by offering a new content distribution service and hosted applications built on existing AT&T platforms.

AT&T will put about $250 million worth of its current networking infrastructure assets toward the effort, said Kathleen Earley, AT&T's president of Data and Internet Services.

That figure includes the use of its 26 planned Internet data centers, which AT&T will pull into the effort. The company will also make use of its OC-48/OC-192 IP backbone network, broadband services such as DSL, and VPN offerings.

Some of the features of the new ASP push include boosted caching and server selection technology to accelerate Web site performance. AT&T will lend those capabilities from its own labs and inject technology from other players such as Novell, Inktomi, and InfoLibra, officials said.

AT&T will also provide new enterprise storage solutions from its Internet data centers. EMC will provide storage software solutions under the deal.

Sun will provide capacity planning and applications testing functionalities. AT&T will also use the company's SunTone program, which gauges the effectiveness of Web hosting specific applications, company officials added.

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