Light Reading

Verizon Connects Cloud With On-Demand WAN

Carol Wilson

Verizon today rolled out a Secure Cloud Interconnect service, making its private IP services available on-demand to connect to multiple clouds, including its own Verizon Terremark cloud and Microsoft Azure, with the promise of more to come. The company is also providing direct access to Verizon Private IP service in 15 Equinix data centers in the US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. (See Verizon Offers Secure Cloud Interconnect.)

Verizon Enterprise Solutions is promoting the new service as its answer to enterprise needs to support hybrid clouds in a secure and reliable way that isn't dependent on the public Internet, as well as an on-demand, pay-as-you-go service that makes the network as fluid as the compute and storage resource it supports.

On the multi-cloud connection via private IP links, Verizon's announcement isn't all that impressive, notes Brian Washburn, service director with Current Analysis . Multiple other providers including AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), tw telecom inc. (Nasdaq: TWTC), and Level 3 Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: LVLT) provide services similar to the Verizon SCI offer. Even Verizon has been offering private IP connections through and between many data centers, particularly between Verizon Terremark and Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX) data centers.

What Washburn is intrigued by, in this latest announcement, is the on-demand nature of the service with "burstability" and pay-for-what-you-use billing, and Verizon's end-to-end connections, encompassing the cloud, data center, and enterprise.

"Other folks have solved the unlimited bursting into the data center, but they don't have the bandwidth-on-demand that Verizon is including," Washburn says. "tw telecom has the on-demand bandwidth and the secure connection to third-party data centers, but Verizon has the potential for end-to-end service that others don't have yet. That can be a competitive advantage for them."

By replacing static ports on a router with burstable bandwidth, Verizon makes it possible for enterprises to consume much greater bandwidth over short stretches of time to accommodate specific applications or data needs in connecting to the cloud or data center, and pay only for what they use. For example, moving workloads into the cloud can create a one-time need for much greater bandwidth than the enterprise needs going forward.

Verizon sees this latest offer removing key barriers to entry for enterprises, who from the outset have wanted easily managed, secure connections to the cloud that can vary with the compute/storage load and the ability to link to multiple clouds to avoid lock-in, says Thierry Sender, director of product development. And while Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Azure is the first cloud other than Verizon Terremark to be connected via SCI, others are soon to be added.

What enterprises want is a pre-integrated solution but also flexibility in the multi-cloud space, so they don't get locked in, and ease of management when it comes to linking cloud with on-premises databases and apps, as well as supporting applications between the collocation and the private cloud space, he adds.

"We have allowed enterprises to connect to the public cloud with a multi-cloud solution accessible from their private network and eliminated the barrier to cloud adoption that we hear from a lot of our customers," Sender says.

The hybrid environment Verizon is supporting includes linking physical databases or apps on the customer premises with apps or databases in the cloud, as well as multiple-cloud links, so that enterprises don't have to make a giant leap into the cloud but can rationally tie together their resources.

What Verizon did to support this service was to extend its private IP edges into the data centers and at those locations establish connections to cloud service providers and also support connectivity for collocation to non-cloud connections, Sender says. So enterprises can add cloud service to their VPNs, and the cloud service provider serving that location shows up on their VPN like other locations, giving them the management, security and performance benefits of their private IP networks but with on-demand billing.

For more information on Verizon's cloud initiatives:

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/10/2014 | 4:34:12 PM
Re: Does this get them to where they need to be?
I don't see me-too as a problem with this kind of complex enterprise service. It's the execution that matters. The prime mover or first-to-market advantage is small. 
Carol Wilson
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
4/9/2014 | 9:47:27 PM
Re: Does this get them to where they need to be?
Actually, the me-too part - according to Brian Washburn - was more the private IP connections. The tying together of multiple clouds on the WAN is something I think Verizon is taking some of the lead on.
User Rank: Blogger
4/9/2014 | 9:40:18 PM
Re: Does this get them to where they need to be?
The hybrid cloud support is important, too, even though it is a me-too addition by Verizon in this case. It is further evidence that customers aren't sticking with just one type of cloud, which I think entperise-focused vendors like Cisco were saying that even before the recent round of carrier activity.
Carol Wilson
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
4/9/2014 | 8:52:31 PM
Re: Does this get them to where they need to be?
I think Verizon -- and others - have learned a lot from their first couple of years inthe trenches when selling "the cloud" didn't turn out to be as easy as they thought it would be.
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/9/2014 | 7:04:25 PM
Re: Does this get them to where they need to be?
I did a one-on-one interview with Verizon's John Considine, and plan an article based on that over the next couple of days. This offering certainly fits what what he told me of Verizon's strategy of allowing customers to move to the cloud at their own paces, leaving applications hosted on premises as needed. 
Carol Wilson
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
4/9/2014 | 11:20:10 AM
Does this get them to where they need to be?
There has been a lot of talk about making the network on-demand in the same way that cloud computing has been and giving enterprises all the tools they need to move to the cloud the things they deem appropriate, while maintaining integration with what's already running just fine on their premises.

Does this accomplish that goal? 
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