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Cloud enablement

Verizon Aims for 'Everything as a Service'

Although Verizon Enterprise Solutions is aggressively deploying and promoting cloud services, the company says cloud offerings are only the means to the greater end of becoming as well known for managed IT solutions and applications as IP data services.

Patrick Verhoeven, Verizon manager of cloud services, began 2010 forecasting Verizon's aggressive push on cloud and has launched 2011 with interviews that focus on cloud-based capabilities Verizon will leverage, along with its global IP network, its security capabilities and multiple partnerships with companies such as IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), to become more entrenched in its business customers' business.

"We are leveraging these core assets around the network and around security and around IT and driving the convergence of these capabilities so we can drive the evolution to what we call the everything-as-a-service model," Verhoeven says.

So get used to hearing Verizon talk about business application management and embedded on-demand infrastructure the way they used to talk about SLAs and route redundancy.

For example, Verhoeven says, Verizon is providing a large global airline company with a new kind of SLA, one supporting "critical business processes and business transactions" in addition to network and cloud services.

"We look at cloud services not as the end game, but as an enabling technology that allows us to do some of these broader things -- these more strategic things that really add value," Verhoeven says.

To play this more strategic role, Verizon is building a cloud that it is touting as more flexible and assembling a broad set of services that include fast, on-demand provisioning of both virtual and dedicated physical computing resources, connections via public IP links or private MPLS connections, hybrid network offerings that draw on its tight links with VMWare and even very low-cost, on-demand computing resources for developers and SMBs. (See Verizon, VMware Create Cloud Services.)

The flexibility aspect includes very fast provisioning not only of virtual server resources but of dedicated physical servers, offering on-demand in minutes via a self-service portal. In addition, cloud services can be provisioned on the Verizon public IP network or private IP connectivity via Verizon's MPLS network.

What will emerge in 2011 will be more hybrid public-private, mixed cloud and premises-based options, drawing on the strategic partnership with VMWare, and playing to enterprise needs to keep mission-critical data and applications in-house while outsourcing large Web-facing applications or other business processes to the cloud.

The whole concept of private clouds will get a closer look from Verizon in 2011, Verhoeven promises, as will cloud storage options. Verizon has some, but will add others and increase its global storage nodes from three to eight.

And finally, there will be more software-as-a-service solutions from Verizon, beginning with a CRM offering.

Verizon probably has been the loudest voice among the many carriers touting their cloud offerings and understandably it is now touting its position as a leader in Gartner Inc. 's Magic Quadrant for Communications Outsourcing and Professional Services, Worldwide. In fairness, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is actually positioned just ahead of Verizon by Gartner, and both Orange Business Services and BT Global Services are also dubbed leaders, as are IBM, HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) and Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) (NYSE: CSC).

For more
Here's a look at how Verizon's cloud strategy has rolled out thus far:



— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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