Verizon is aiming cloud computing squarely at the SMB market and has Amazon and Rackspace in its crosshairs with the launch of a new, down-market Computing-as-a-Service (CaaS) offering targeted at companies with 20 to 1,000 users.
CaaS SMB, an on-demand pay-as-you-go cloud offering for small and mid-sized businesses, is a scaled back version of Verizon's standard CaaS offering, said Patrick Sullivan, Verizon director of mid-tier product marketing. The SMB offering operates on Terremark infrastructure, Sullivan said.
"[CaaS] doesn't scale all the way down to minimal configurations," he said, adding that the standard CaaS offering can often be cost-prohibitive and overly complex for smaller environments. The SMB version is aimed at companies with limited IT resources that can't handle the headaches of managing their own IT infrastructure, such as retailers, manufacturers, professional services firms and others. It's also aimed at online businesses and application developers who want to code, test and stage applications in a cloud environment.
With CaaS SMB, users leverage an online portal and use a credit card to buy and configure cloud servers. Sullivan estimated it can take roughly 15 minutes to get a server up and running through the interface, which lets users select the operating system, storage, network resources, and security options, like VPN and firewall, to customize their environments.
And unlike its larger CaaS counterpart, the SMB version is charged on an hourly basis and there is no minimum commitment, meaning servers can be spun up or torn down at any time without additional cost or penalty. Sullivan said pricing varies based on configurations and environments, but the average is 3.7 cents per hour on the low end -- for one server with minimal memory -- and about 4 cents to 5 cents per hour on average. Users receive a monthly bill based on the hourly charges.
"The economy is tough. Businesses large and small are trying to get the most out of every dollar they spend," Sullivan said, adding that CaaS SMB gives smaller companies the flexibility and scalability of a cost effective cloud solution without sacrificing performance and security.
CaaS SMB is also fully redundant, offers server cloning capabilities and is compatible with existing applications, Sullivan said.
The CaaS SMB offering is positioned directly to compete against Amazon Web Services and Rackspace Cloud on price and performance. Both companies also offer affordable SMB cloud offerings. But Sullivan said options like built-in load balancing and the ability for Verizon to be a one-stop cloud shop for compute capacity, storage, security and other cloud needs set it apart.
Additionally, Sullivan said Verizon gains an edge with its recent allegiance with VMware. At VMworld earlier this month Verizon enhanced its CaaS platform on VMware Cloud Datacenter, leveraging VMware's cloud infrastructure technology including VMware vSphere, VMware vCloud Director and VMware vShield security. CaaS powered by VMware vCloud is a hybrid cloud environment that lets companies choose which applications to move to the cloud.
With CaaS SMB, Verizon is continuing its path toward Everything-as-a-Service (EaaS), its philosophy that all of IT will be consumed as a service in one way or another. So far, Verizon's EaaS strategy includes CaaS SMB, CaaS, cloud storage services offerings and managed cloud security services offerings.
"Verizon is definitely building on a strategy that we are going to be the leader in cloud computing," Sullivan said. "We're really building toward our cloud dominance."