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Cloud enablement

Verizon Offers Cloud Lessons

Claiming it wants to ease enterprises' paths to cloud computing, Verizon Enterprise Solutions is introducing a kind of a handholding service today.

Verizon's Cloud Computing Program combines managed services with IT consulting and professional services to assist at every step of the transition to the new network-based service, including the management of multivendor clouds after services have been established.

It's the latest move by a major service provider to turn cloud computing into a managed service. (See AT&T Joins Cloud Computing Set.) Verizon is hoping to stand out by taking a "holistic lifecycle approach to cloud computing," says Bruce Biesecker, senior strategist with Verizon Business. (No word on whether they'll offer granola and yoga lessons with that.)

That lifecycle includes separate services that address five major functions in moving to cloud computing: assessing needs and current status; designing a cloud computing service; managing the business's migration to a virtual environment; managing the cloud computing service on an ongoing basis; and setting up security. Verizon is willing to provide any combination of the five.

The Cloud Computing Program can be implemented regardless of where computing assets are located, Biesecker notes -- on a customer's premises, at a third-party site or collocation space, or within Verizon's data center.

In the assessment phase, Verizon Business will help enterprises determine which applications are best suited for a cloud approach. The next step is to design that approach and then to manage the migration.

"During migration, we can provide the extra staff or extra staff support they may need to manage existing applications while they are building out the new environment and testing for compliance," Biesecker says. "A lot of times, companies can find themselves understaffed during that period."

Verizon also will provide ongoing management and monitoring and will do security assessments and implementations to make sure enterprises stay in compliance with rules and regulations that govern various applications and data sets. By providing a centralized approach to monitoring computing resources that may be spread out over many virtual locations, the Verizon service simplifies cloud computing for the enterprise.

The security piece is particularly important in the cloud computing world and can be provided as a separate service, according to Biesecker. Many enterprises have hesitated to embrace cloud computing because of security and regulatory/compliance concerns.

Business continuity -- a.k.a. disaster recovery -- is another service Verizon can deliver. It lets the business customer build out a cloud computing environment by deciding how to establish backups to applications and/or data that remain on premises and not in the virtual world, so that it can be accessed during a disaster or network outage.

Verizon is seeing business customers, including small and medium-sized businesses, show interest in cloud computing, but Biesecker admits they are "all over the gamut" in their current states of deployment. The business interest is driven by the need for cost savings and a desire to see computing resources become an operations expense, and not a capital expense.

"They want to be paying for what they are actually using," Biesecker says.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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