What Verizon DMS Isn't

3:10 PM Not a cloud. Not a CDN. But a little of both

April 11, 2011

2 Min Read
What Verizon DMS Isn't

3:10 PM -- Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) folks are mighty proud of their new Verizon Digital Media Services , but even in their excitement, they carefully avoided saying Verizon DMS is either a) a super-charged CDN or b) a new cloud-based service. (See Verizon Fires Up Digital Media 'Factory' .)

Given that the only thing hotter than CDNs is cloud-based services, or cloud-based CDNS, that might seem odd. I mean, why not hitch your new service to one of these fast-moving wagons?

Well, here's why or at least my idea of why.

First, the Verizon DMS folks I talked to -- President David Rips and CTO Stu Elby -- went way out of their way to draw a clear distinction between Verizon's DMS and a CDN because they want to stress the fact that DMS does a lot more than a CDN, and does it in a different way.

CDNs push media-rich content closer to the consumer, Verizon's DMS actually centralizes that content for one purpose -- transcoding and formatting for different devices and different services -- then distributes it to EdgeNodes for storage and later distribution to consumers.

But for reasons of economies of scale, what Verizon's DMS calls an edge is still a much more centralized data center-like facility, with one being created per large metro area in the U.S. this year.

Second, and perhaps more interestingly, Verizon avoided the "cloud" word for other, perhaps less obvious reasons. To some extent, Verizon's DMS is doing what cloud services do -- moving the complexity of service delivery into the network, using network intelligence to deliver tailored services on demand. Rips repeatedly refers to the new service as a "digital media utility" and cloud offerings deliver IT services on a utility basis.

But calling the digital media offering a cloud-based service confuses the value of both the Verizon DMS and true cloud services. The latter need to be on-demand, and able to be turned up and down as needed and billed on a usage basis. That's not what the digital media offering is all about.

Verizon avoided a couple of potential marketing pitfalls by avoiding either the CDN or cloud moniker. Now they have to meet the challenge of marketing a service that doesn't easily fit into any bucket.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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