Verizon's CaaS is based in data centers in Amsterdam, Hong Kong, and Beltsville, Md. Additional cloud data center capacity will be added by the end of the first quarter of 2011 in London, Canberra, and San Jose, Calif. Two additional data centers will come on line in Culpepper, Va., and Miami by the end of the first quarter to supply cloud services to the U.S. government. In all, Verizon manages 200 data centers worldwide, with the bulk of them dedicated to its network and telecommunications traffic, hosted services, and co-location services.
Verizon cloud services are different from some people's notion of cloud computing. Verizon CaaS may host either virtual machines or actual, dedicated blade servers for any customer who wants its own physical resources. Verhoeven said some customers seek their own blade when they're running a major database system in the cloud, and 30% of its cloud business consists of the dedicated blade. Savvis and Rackspace also offer servers in either hardware or virtual forms; EC2 is a virtual machine environment.
Cloud users are no longer impressed with the speed with which you can spin up a virtual machine for them. Rather, they may want that virtual machine in a low-cost, plain vanilla, x86 environment one minute and in a highly secure, well-managed one the next. That would allow them to develop and test a system in the cloud at low hourly rates, then upgrade it to a production system with stronger guarantees of high availability. Verizon is also likely to expand its security options as an established supplier of security services to business, such as intruder detection and firewall protections.
"There is no single cloud model that is going to prevail," predicts Verhoeven. What Verizon is seeking to do is provide a variety of offerings, such as CRM and ERP, to appeal to many types of consumers. He wouldn't specify who will supply the base applications.
Verizon has plans to offer platform as a service products as well, where the cloud supplier typically makes development tools and other services available to parties running applications in its environment. But Verhoeven was mum on what direction the platform might take.
He said Verizon can combine network services with its cloud services offerings. For example, a CaaS customer can opt to use Verizon's own private, secure IP network as a substitute for the Internet, for those who want that added measure of security and surveillance.
Many of its earlier cloud offerings appeared to be extensions of Verizon's co-location and managed services offerings, rather than fresh products from a newly minted cloud vendor. Now that it's moving deeper into cloud computing, it's spending less time following the "visionaries" and more time showing what can be done. With its security, availability, and VMware compatibility, it's in a better position than some to offer hybrid cloud computing, with the same workload running sometimes on-premises, sometimes in the cloud.