AT&T Announces Cloud Computing Efforts Amidst Webmail Woes

November 16, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

A file photo of an AT&T bill. The telecommunications giant announced that it was entering the cloud computing fray with its own offering. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A file photo of an AT&T bill. The telecommunications giant announced that it was entering the cloud computing fray with its own offering. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
NEW YORK—AT&T Inc. rolled out a cloud computing platform that positions itself to take on Amazon.com's cloud computing services, but the telecommunication giant's webmail services for att.net and bellsouth.net suffered outages on the same day.

The term cloud computing has come to refer to dynamically scalable virtual offerings of what were once highly granular hardware offerings.

AT&T's cloud computing platform, called AT&T Synaptic Computer Service, is running on software from VMWare, one of the largest players in the virtual market industry, and Sun Microsystems.

AT&T said in its press statement that it is "working closely with Sun to use the Sun Cloud Open Cloud Platform, Sun Cloud APIs, cloud reference architecture and design expertise" to create a cloud computing environment.

AT&T said that the cloud computing platform would be launced in the fourth quarter of 2009, with initial deployment in the United States. It also said that it would "select global IDCs to meet customer demand internationally."

The telecom giant's Synaptic offering looks very similar to Amazon's extremely popular cloud computing architectures such as EC2.

Att.net Webmail Down on Monday Morning

In an event believed to be unrelated to the cloud computing launch, AT&T Internet users were experiencing technical difficulties with the company's webmail on both att.net and bellsouth.net for most of Monday morning.

Technical difficulties were reported to have begun at 8 a.m., according to gather.com. AT&T users were reported to be able to continue accessing their e-mail through AT&T-Yahoo's webpage.

The Christian Science Monitor reported that AT&T's webmail problems were related to a fiber optic cable being disabled.