Verizon Augments On-Demand Cloud Services

Verizon Business has bulked up its Computing-as-a -Service (CaaS) on-demand cloud computing infrastructure on Thursday to further advance its "Everything-as-a-Service" vision.

And while CaaS is not yet available through the channel, Verizon Business cloud computing product manager Patrick Verhoeven said the CaaS roadmap includes channel availability in the near future.

Verizon's CaaS offering lets enterprises and SMBs provision infrastructure and on-demand computing resources like physical and virtual server, storage and network capacity. All provisioning on Verizon CaaS is managed via Verizon's management portal.

According to Verhoeven, the CaaS update adds a new server cloning option which lets IT admins customize configurations of CaaS virtual servers by creating a reference server image, or a golden image, that can be reused to speed deployment of server clones supporting the same application. For example, if an admin tweaks an operating system or application setting, or localizes server languages, that customization can be repeated using server cloning.

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Verizon also expanded the applications and operating systems supported by SaaS, adding SUSE Linux, which is commonly used in ERP packages; and Microsoft SQL Server 2008, which has been added as a click-to-provision server option. The addition of SUSE Linux and SQL Server 2008 augments the support for Windows, Red Hat, Apache and SQL Server 2005 that CaaS already supports.

Lastly, the updated CaaS offering bolsters network flexibility, adding the virtual router and shared VPNs, including Verizon Private IP, to connect back-end systems to Verizon CaaS via the online portal. Additionally, Verizon now offers CaaS users metered, burstable bandwidth up to 1 Gbps to add immediate and temporary compute capacity. Verhoeven said that the burstable bandwidth option lets users only pay for what they're using, so if they're not using bandwidth, they're not paying for it.

Along with the updates to CaaS, Verizon on Thursday also completed its first annual SAS 70 Type II examination. The SAS 70 auditing standard illustrates that Verizon's CaaS data centers are in compliance and Verizon has the controls and processes in place to manage and monitor its CaaS platforms along with customer applications and infrastructure. Verhoeven said the successful SAS 70 completion can ease the concerns of potential customers as they evaluate moving critical IT services to the cloud.

Next: Verizon's Utility-Based Pricing Model

Verizon also updated the user interface adding more reporting capabilities, more usage and billing data and requiring fewer clicks.

Verizon's CaaS offering uses utility-based pricing where a customer subscribes for $250 per month and is charged fixed fees per day based on the on-demand usage and consumption in an a la carte fashion.

According to Verhoeven, Verizon CaaS users are about 80 percent enterprise and about 20 percent SMBs and since the service launched in July 2009, Verizon signs between three and four new CaaS customers a week. CaaS differs from other cloud offerings in that it requires a contract, which gives customers more piece of mind.

"They want a stronger legal framework, not just a credit card swipe," he said.

While Amazon EC2 is likely Verizon's most visible competition, CaaS also directly competes with Terramark and Savvis on the enterprise cloud front. Verhoeven said Amazon "serves its purpose" and represents a commodity that offers raw capacity quickly and cheaply, while services like Verizon's offer a deeper level of security and flexibility with more transparency that is better suited to run mission critical production applications.

CaaS and the most recent updates, Verhoeven said, continue Verizon's Everything-as-a-Service vision.

"We want to be able to deliver business applications in the same way we've been able to deliver dial tone for the past few decades," he said.