Verizon promises to get its cloud service online in early September

Verizon's Siki Giunta

Things have been pretty quiet on the cloud front from Verizon since last October, when the company made some pretty big promises for its brand new, built-from-scratch cloud. But, starting the first week in September, that cloud, which has been in beta for months, will be broadly available to paying customers.

The game plan has been tweaked a bit in the intervening months. “We’ve enlarged the scope of our next-gen cloud and included a managed service tier — which is one thing our customers have been asking for. And we’ve been on-boarding services from a brand-new console,” said Siki Giunta, global SVP for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, in an interview. Giunta joined Verizon 5 months ago (well, 5 months and 23 days ago, but who’s counting?) from CSC, where she directed that integrator’s global cloud business.

“We have the base compute, object store, network for very competitive pricing and then we have a rate card for guided services, where we take over more of the traditional management like monitoring and patching but the customer still brings their own templates. And then we have premium where we do all the maintenance of the applications,” she said.

This tiering of base level from higher-end services is becoming the norm for cloud providers. Rackspace and CenturyLink — which also has roots in the telecom universe — are doing similar price breakouts.

What is new is that the company will offer Verizon Cloud Compute as described last year, but will also layer service tiers and a new interface atop that base cloud. And the promise of Amazon-like capabilities without the noisy-neighbor headaches that can afflict workloads on public clouds remains in place.

Coming from Verizon — a tiered cloud

And, Verizon will offer its new cloud in tiers — Verizon Cloud Compute is the new cloud platform as described last year. But there will also be a “unified” Verizon Cloud offering that layers service tiers and a new interface atop that base cloud, Giunta said. And for the record, Verizon continues to field its legacy Terremark-based Enterprise Cloud; but the plan is to migrate those customers over to the new infrastructure in time.

Giunta said she came to Verizon because she saw big possibilities in aggregating that company’s various telecom and networking assets into a broad offering that can accommodate not just current business workloads but a the growing mass of next-gen applications that fall under the broad Internet of Things rubric. In those applications, machines often talk to machines (hence the M2M jargon) without human intervention and data from all those devices — from Fitbits or Jawbones to jet engine sensors  –get aggregated and parsed.

Parlaying Verizon’s network for IoT cloud

“Verizon is a strong M2M player and we’ve aggregated 400 partners in that area. we see a trend that IoT creates the dynamic of a cloud that uses network and wireless network — and we feel strongly that we have a cloud that is IoT ready,” she said. Verizon and its partners are migrating its existing m2m applications to its cloud, she said.

Over the past few months, I had heard indirectly from Verizon insiders that there were some growing pains and glitches in the rollout of what is, after all, all a very ambitious architecture. Giunta seemed to acknowledge that a bit, noting that while Verizon’s new cloud is running for 500 customers in various stages of beta — “everything is great and hunky dory until they have to pay something.” When billing starts, the rubber meets the road.

Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst Lydia Leong said the gist of this news is that Verizon is now doing managed hosting on a more cloud-like platform than in the past. “They’ll compete with Amazon on some deals, but I see this as more directly competitive with Rackspace, AT&T and CenturyLink,” she said.




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