In a letter to Verizon Cloud Customers as posted to Twitter by Kenn White, Verizon notes it will shut down its Verizon Public Cloud Reserved Performance and Marketplace as of April 12, 2016. Customers are encouraged to migrate their data to Verizon’s Private Cloud offerings because any data stored on Verizon’s public cloud servers will not be retained after that date. Verizon has yet to make a public announcement about the termination of its public cloud services although a company spokesperson specified that the discontinuation affects only cloud services that can be provisioned by way of a credit card and that the company remains “committed to delivering a range of cloud services for enterprise and government customers.” Verizon’s decision to abandon its public cloud product offerings points to the increasing dominance of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform within the public cloud space and the corresponding difficulty for other IaaS players to match these three vendors either in price, scale or the sophistication of their product offerings.
What should the cloud computing industry make of the recent partnership between CloudBees and Verizon to render the CloudBees PaaS available on the Verizon Cloud? The obvious point worth noting is that the partnership enables CloudBees to take advantage of Verizon’s brand, partner relationships and global IT infrastructure to more effectively position its PaaS within the larger cloud landscape. More specifically, the CloudBees-Verizon partnership allows the Java-based PaaS to position itself alongside a brand-name IaaS vendor that is rapidly developing partnerships with other technology partners to enhance the Verizon IaaS platform that was revealed in October and remains in public Beta. Note that this is not the first time CloudBees has partnered with an IaaS vendor. In 2012, for example, CloudBees announced the availability of a PaaS platform branded AnyCloud on IaaS platforms such as Amazon Web Services and HP Cloud Services. The larger point here is that the CloudBees partnership with Verizon is illustrative less of the impending demise of PaaS, and more of the consolidation of IaaS as a respected sales channel for PaaS, with the attendant consequence that completely standalone PaaS vendors with no IaaS-related partnerships are becoming increasingly rare in the industry. The bottom line, however, is that the coupling of IaaS and PaaS means that PaaS has finally, irrevocably arrived, albeit not in the standalone form in which it originally emerged, but as a critical extension and offering amongst its dominant IaaS cousin in parallel with separate, dedicated PaaS sales operations teams and infrastructures.
Hitachi Data Systems Corporation recently announced a partnership with Verizon’s IaaS cloud infrastructure to build a software defined storage solution hosted on the Verizon Terremark Cloud (Verizon Cloud) that specializes in object storage for unstructured data based on Hitachi’s existing storage products, Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) and Hitachi Content Platform Anywhere (HCP Anywhere). HCP is designed to solve enterprise storage problems related to file sharing, mobile access, data synchronization, data protection, content preservation and data security. Like Apple’s iCloud, HCP enables multiple devices to synchronize content and thereby absolves users of the task of emailing or otherwise transferring content from one device to another. The partnership represents a notable coup for the Verizon Cloud, which remains in public Beta and is in the process of building partnerships with other vendors to enhance its IaaS offering. A typical use case for the Hitachi Data Systems storage solution on the Verizon Cloud features the storage of streaming surveillance-related data or meteorologic data that requires a scalable, enterprise hardened platform that allows users to access, share and synchronize data on multiple devices. Hitachi Data Systems Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd.
Starting in Q4 of this year, the IaaS space will feature another platform geared toward the needs of enterprise customers in the form of Verizon’s new Infrastructure as a Service offering. Verizon’s new cloud platform features compute and storage capabilities that are analogous to the Amazon Web Services EC2 compute and S3 storage products. Unlike Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, however, customers will be able to provision and configure virtual machines that satisfy the parameters specific to their computing needs in contrast to selecting VMs from a list of preconfigured, out of the box options. Verizon’s press release elaborated on the Verizon Cloud’s provisioning and configuration flexibility as follows:
With Verizon Cloud Compute, users can determine and set virtual machine and network performance, providing predictable performance for mission critical applications, even during peak times. Additionally, users can configure storage performance and attach storage to multiple virtual machines. Previously, services had pre-set configurations for size (e.g. small, medium, large) and performance, with little flexibility regarding virtual machine and network performance and storage configuration. No other cloud offering provides this level of control.
Verizon already appears to have established some strong partnerships that include The Weather Channel and platform as a service vendor Engine Yard. Bryson Koehler, chief information officer at The Weather Company, remarked on its interest in using the Verizon Cloud for big data analytics as follows:
This is a breakthrough approach to how cloud computing is done. Weather is the most dynamic dataset in the world, and we also use big data to help consumers better plan their day and help businesses make intelligent decisions as it relates to weather. As a big data leader, a major part of The Weather Company’s go-forward strategy is based on the cloud, and we are linking a large part of our technical future to these services from Verizon.
Customers using the Verizon Cloud will be able to take advantage of its global network of data centers, managed hosting solutions and colocation offerings. The bottom line, here, is that the IaaS space suddenly has another exciting offering that is backed by Verizon’s famously robust communications infrastructure and customer service platform. Moreover, the solution boasts greater flexibility with respect to provisioning than its competitors, and will be supported by Verizon’s deep familiarity with the needs of enterprise customers. Verizon’s cloud offering will be available by way of data centers in Culpeper (VA), Englewood (CO), Miami (FL), Santa Clara (CA), Amsterdam, London, and Sao Paolo. The initial offering will be based out of the Culpeper data center while other data centers will go live with the Verizon Cloud platform in 2014.
AT&T became the first U.S. telecom provider to join OpenStack on Monday. In a blog post, the company’s CTO, John Donovan, noted that AT&T had been participating in OpenStack for over a year and had “already contributed a blueprint for a potential new function within OpenStack, focused on transactional task management.” AT&T will host OpenStack on dedicated equipment in Dallas, San Diego and Secaucus and plans to double the number of OpenStack centers in 2012. Separate from the OpenStack announcement, Donovan announced plans to deploy a developer-focused cloud infrastructure called AT&T Cloud Architect. AT&T Cloud Architect differs from Synaptic Hosting, AT&T’s enterprise-based, infrastructure as a service offering because it caters to developer cloud needs focused around price and flexibility such as the ability to open accounts in seconds with a credit card. The target audience for Cloud Architect overlaps with the audience for the API platform that AT&T announced yesterday to “boost innovation and collaboration with mobile developers.” AT&T’s API platform for developers features software hooks that allow developers to easily reference AT&T services in their applications. Cloud Architect represents an ambitious play by AT&T given that it will compete squarely with the likes of Amazon Web Services and Rackspace for the attention of the developer community.
AT&T is the third major U.S. telecom company to make an aggressive push into cloud computing. In January 2011, Verizon agreed to acquire Terremark for $1.4 billion. In April, CenturyLink acquired Savvis for $2.5 billion.
Just days after Go Daddy announced plans to enter the IaaS space, Verizon revealed its readiness to deploy IaaS and managed services as a result of the consummation of its technological integration with its recent acquisition Terremark. The newly formed entity, Terremark Worldwide, plans to roll-out hosting and cloud infrastructure services by leveraging a network of over 50 data centers located in North America, Europe, the Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Importantly, Terremark Worldwide intends to avoid vendor lock-in by empowering customers to migrate data from one cloud infrastructure to another. Currently, Terremark’s cloud infrastructure services support only the VMWare hypervisor whereas its managed services hosting offering integrates with multiple hypervisors. Kerry Bailey, President of Terremark Worldwide, noted that Terremark plans to integrate with other virtualization platforms as well as develop APIs to help customers avoid lock-in as part of its product roadmap over the next few years. In response to data breaches affecting companies across the U.S., Terremark also plans to provide security risk assessments and vulnerability analyses that leverage Verizon’s expertise in security, risk, and identity and access management services.