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.
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.