Verizon brings cloud offering into self-service era

The new services will run alongside the existing Terremark cloud offerings

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Verizon is rolling out the beta version of a new cloud offering that will include compute and storage services that can be ordered up online.

The new service will run next to Verizon’s Terremark cloud service. “Our traditional cloud platform is more of a virtual private cloud. Sort of a bundled package of capabilities delivered with one price,” said Jim Anthony, vice president of sales and engineering at Verizon Terremark. “With this, we lift the covers off that bundling and allow customers to sign up for exactly the service they need.”

Image credit: Flickr/Jp

While Terremark is a well-known name in the crowded cloud services market, most surveys or studies I see don’t rank it near the top of most used services. For instance, in this recent Forrester study Terremark was number 13 among providers that enterprise software developers are using or plan to use. Now that Verizon has a self-service, unbundled offering, users might be more inclined to give it a shot.

However, Verizon isn’t using the Terremark brand for the new offerings, calling them Verizon Cloud Compute and Verizon Cloud Storage. It sounds to me like the first step in a process that may phase out the Terremark brand.

The new Verizon Cloud Compute offering is finally a service from a communications provider that actually builds on the advantages such a provider has.

Verizon will offer users different tiers of throughput. That should be attractive to businesses running video, for instance, Anthony said. Without high enough connectivity to storage or the Internet, video services can end up jerky for end users. “We can offer a higher level of service and a guarantee that can solve that problem in a way you don’t have another option for today,” he said.

Other types of users that might require higher throughput on demand could be those who are pushing out a software update simultaneously to many users.

This is an initial release so there are a couple of drawbacks. One is that the compute service will launch only using the Citrix Xen hypervisor. That’s popular enough but not as widely used as VMware among enterprises, which might prefer to work with what they’re most familiar with. However, Anthony said that Verizon is open to adding support for additional hypervisors. “We want to be more agnostic and let customers decide which hypervisor they want,” he said.

Also, initially, the service will be available from Verizon’s Virginia data center only. The company will begin offering the service from its other data centers across the U.S. and Europe as the beta progresses toward general availability. Anthony couldn’t say exactly how long the beta would last. Likely through the rest of this year and into next, he said.

In the future, Verizon plans to roll out a new marketplace feature. Vendors will be able to upload their products to the marketplace where users can buy and download them. For instance, Anthony envisions Citrix uploading a virtual load balancer, Cisco offering a virtual router or firewall, or others offering prebuilt virtual machines designed for certain functions.

Verizon is using Amazon’s S3 APIs for the storage service. “So if you have an app programmed for S3 and you’re unhappy for one reason or another or you’re frustrated with availability, we’ll give you another option and you won’t have to recreate the app to take advantage of our platform,” he said.

Read more of Nancy Gohring's "To the Cloud" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @ngohring and on Google+. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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