Linux is no stranger to large carriers, as it has been used by many for various parts of their infrastructure over the years. AT&T announced on January 13 that it has selected Ubuntu Linux to help enable cloud and enterprise applications.
Financial terms of the partnership are not being publicly disclosed. Though the formal announcement is just now being made, Canonical, the lead commercial sponsor behind Ubuntu Linux, is well known in the OpenStack cloud world as the leading Linux distribution for deployment. AT&T is also active with OpenStack and is a member of the OpenStack Foundation and active participant in its developments.
"Ubuntu is the Operating System of the Cloud, and this relationship allows us to bring our engineering expertise around Ubuntu, cloud and open source to AT&T," John Zannos, Vice President, Cloud Alliances and Business Development at Canonical, said in a statement.
For its part, Canonical has been increasingly active in the carrier space in recent years, helping to enable both equipment vendors and service providers. In March of 2015, Canonical announced a three-year partnership with Ericsson. Similar to the AT&T deal, the partnership is about OpenStack cloud-related activities.
Additionally, Canonical is working with networking vendor Juniper. The Juniper partnership encompasses the Contrail Software Defined Networking (SDN) as part of an effort to build a Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) cloud platform based on OpenStack.
Networking-related efforts overall within OpenStack have been an area of growth for the open-source cloud platform. At the recent OpenStack Tokyo summit, the OpenStack Foundation identified the OpenStack Neutron networking project as being the most active during the platform's Liberty release cycle.
For AT&T, embracing OpenStack and Ubuntu is all about enabling a more agile infrastructure.
"We're reinventing how we scale by becoming simpler and modular, similar to how applications have evolved in cloud data centers," Toby Ford, Assistant Vice President of Cloud Technology, Strategy and Planning at AT&T, said in a statement. "Open source and OpenStack innovations represent a unique opportunity to meet these requirements, and Canonical’s cloud and open source expertise make them a good choice for AT&T.”
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.