Taking on Amazon
Verizon's cloud strategy puts it squarely in competition with Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), of course. Amazon's domination of the cloud market is amazing: AWS has five times the computing capacity of 14 other leading cloud providers combined; One third of Internet users visit an AWS-powered site daily.
But Verizon tries to compete with Amazon by targeting the enterprise with a complete portfolio of applications and services, whereas Amazon is limited to infrastructure, Considine says. "Amazon is driving toward and would like to be more involved with the enterprise, but that's where we live," says the Verizon man. Amazon is strongest with cloud-native businesses (such as Netflix, a marquee customer for AWS), as well as small business and developers.
Verizon's goal is to build out a service to compete with Amazon by going beyond infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), he adds. Whereas IaaS platforms such as Amazon require customers to conform to the IaaS's standards, Verizon lets customers bring their own, familiar infrastructure to the cloud.
Verizon believes it's playing a bigger game than the public cloud market where Amazon is dominant. The public cloud IaaS market is worth $10 billion to $15 billion annually. IT spending overall will be $3.8 trillion this year. "We can go in and compete for the cloud-ready market, but we want to tap into the disruption of the $3.8 trillion market and solve the problems the enterprise has. But we can't just say, 'OK, throw everything away and do it this new way in this new world,'" Considine says.
Verizon isn't alone in this thinking. It has three main competitors in the enterprise cloud market -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), BT Global Services , and Orange Business Services -- and they all have a similar ambition, Heavy Reading's Chappell says.
"They're all into ways they can go beyond infrastructure-as-a-service, but they do it on a custom basis," she says. They orchestrate the array of services enterprise customers need, which is how they differentiate from Amazon and companies like it, although Amazon is getting into that market as well, Chappell says.
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