I’ve been watching the cloud scene for a good number of years now and the first iteration of most of the clouds were, well, boring. I’d call these version 0.4 clouds on a good day. Basically they seemed to be made up of standard enterprise storage and servers, running VMware, single tenant except for the rare case of some ‘shared’ storage that was walled off by having the service provider (mostly Telcos) provision and attach storage to specific servers.
Then along came some advances in the software and hardware that actually enabled some basic multitenant capabilities. Of course with the new capabilities came a whole lot more competition as well. To differentiate themselves, some providers went down the acquisition route pretty early with Verizon being one of them (2011). They quickly acquired Terremark for their managed services and their beginnings of a cloud platform. In addition to Terremark, Verizon also acquired CloudSwitch, a cloud software technology that allowed companies to create hybrid clouds between on-premises data centers and public cloud providers as well as between public clouds.
Verizon just recently announced a whole slew of interesting changes to what they offer called cloud 2.0. Based on what I’ve seen I couldn’t agree more. First of all, the new cloud, officially called Verizon Cloud (in beta), is based on the IP they acquired from Terremark and CloudSwitch, as well as a significant investment in new IP. For example, Verizon Cloud has one unified interface for single-tenant or multi-tenant resources. This greatly simplifies the end-user experience, plus puts more control into the end-user's hands. Also, according to their CTO, John Considine, they have their own thin hypervisor that supports VMware, Xen, KVM, and soon Hyper-V Virtual Machines. This type of functionality is still very unique and I think extremely valuable to customers as it provides them the ultimate in choice. It also allows customers to build hybrid clouds with the same technology they have on-premises – no matter who the vendor is.
Another cool offering with the Verizon Cloud is the ability to ‘Bring-Your-Own-VM’ – the customer can use the Verizon-configured VMs with the normal stacks on them or they can bring their own. This again allows customers choice and a much simpler migration process when federating a hybrid cloud. One other great feature caught my eye – the ability to dial Storage IOPS and Bandwidth settings on the fly. For example, if your VM seems to be taking to long to get work done at the standard 100 IOPS – then just slide the bar until you have up to 15,000 IOPS. And don’t forget--all this is done from one UI, which allows the customer to see what their resource allocation is, what their consumption has been, and what their bill looks like and what it will look like after changes to resource sizes.
Finally – Verizon has been busy cutting partnerships with Oracle and I’m told more to come. Verizon’s roots with large scale applications management are deep and have a long history going back several decades with large scale applications, managed services, and colocation services. Combine that with their vast data center and network investment, their massive wireless network for mobile – I’d say Verizon Cloud doesn’t need a version number as they are making continuous moves in the right direction.
For customers who want choice, high performance connectivity, with a trusted brand – well, just look to (the) Verizon – they seem to have clouds that are worth a look.