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Verizon changes course, focuses on private cloud service

Verizon has turned its focus away from IaaS and toward private cloud for enterprise customers, but analysts are still advising caution.

One year ago, Verizon laid out ambitious plans to provide a service to compete with the likes of Amazon in the...

market for public cloud infrastructure. Verizon now has dramatically shifted its focus and delivered a product aimed at enterprises that want to build private clouds.

The beta version of the Verizon Cloud was launched as a unified infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform and object storage service. When it was released, it was praised for its potential innovation. But industry experts had advised customers to proceed with caution until the unified platform became fully available.

Verizon now plans to coexist with the large-scale IaaS vendors and has made its integrated platform generally available.

Verizon retained some of that technology after a year of real-world testing, but even with the scaled-back approach aimed at incorporating private cloud services into the company’s broader services, experts said the use of Verizon Cloud is limited.

The unified platform also shouldn’t be used for more than test and development or managed services until at least 2015, experts added, and it has little appeal to large enterprises or startups focused on DevOps.

It also doesn’t constitute a true unified platform, as each environment represents a different Verizon cloud platform, and Verizon Cloud essentially serves as an umbrella portal, according to Lydia Leong, an analyst at Gartner Inc., an IT consulting firm in Stamford, Conn.

"When provisioning an environment in Verizon Cloud, users must be aware of the capabilities and limitations of that particular environment choice," Leong said.

The final product emerges from beta much different from its initial billing. Verizon could actually be better served by this platform, however, as it is aimed at running specific enterprise application workloads that require a high degree of management and support, said Amy DeCarlo, principal analyst at Current Analysis Inc., in Sterling, Va.

"Verizon was pushing a mega-scale cloud message originally, an AWS slayer, if you will," DeCarlo said. "But the company has shifted to something that is much more in tune with what I think Verizon will be able to actually deliver."

Coexisting with AWS

The majority of public and private cloud products are aimed at enterprise customers who want hybrid- and multi-cloud services. Verizon has emphasized tying its cloud services with the company's existing networking, security and managed services.

For its part, Verizon said its original plans to compete in the public cloud market didn't fit with what the company was best suited for, according to Helen Donnelly, director of product marketing at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

"We realized the challenge was we were pointed at the wrong target," Donnelly said. "The rest of what we bring to the table is really geared toward enterprise customers that really care about security and care about the underlying network, and not washmycar.com."

Verizon lost some momentum during its nearly year-long beta, but the product will appeal to a certain customer base if it's marketed properly, DeCarlo said. That means less focus on generic capabilities like security and more attention to tools that help Verizon Cloud stand out, such as Secure Cloud Interconnect, she said.

It provides customers with a private IP address to connect with another cloud vendor for data migration. Verizon supports multiple vendors with this product and added Amazon to the list last month.

Verizon is in the midst of rebranding its cloud operations, a move which includes dropping the Terremark moniker. Verizon acquired most of its data center capabilities when it purchased Terremark in 2011 for $1.4 billion.

Trevor Jones is the news writer for SearchCloudComputing. You can reach him at tjones@techtarget.com.

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