Verizon's public cloud aimed at enterprise

Company's Computing as a Service offering is now available to customers in North America and the EMEA regions

Verizon has rolled out its first cloud-computing service aimed at giving enterprise customers a secure way to host applications not only on virtual resources but also on physical, dedicated network servers.

Verizon's Computing as a Service (CaaS) is available now in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa; the company will roll it out to Asia-Pacific customers in August, said Patrick Verhoeven, senior product manager of IT solutions at Verizon.

Verhoeven said that while competitor Amazon Web Services' Elastic Compute Cloud is well-suited for small businesses, Verizon has outfitted CaaS with features that make it a better option for enterprise customers.

Daniel Golding, vice president and research director for The 451 Group's Tier1 Research, said comparing the two is like comparing "apples to oranges," and that Verizon is one of only two enterprise-class public cloud offerings. The other is from Terremark, a company based in Miami.

"You don't always think of Verizon as a cutting-edge IT company, but they surprised a lot of people by coming out with a pretty advanced product very quickly," Golding said.

A key difference between Verizon's and Amazon's offerings is that Verizon allows customers to run applications not only on virtual servers but also physical ones, the resources of which are not shared with any other application or customer, Verhoeven said.

"There are some apps not well-suited to virtualization -- like an e-mail server or a database server," he said. Running them on dedicated servers on CaaS gives enterprises the reliability and scalability they need for such applications, Verhoeven said.

Verizon also has achieved Cybertrust's Security Management Program Enterprise Certification for CaaS, eliminating a concern for enterprise customers who worry about the security of their applications running in the cloud, Verhoeven said.

Some enterprises also might like CaaS because Verizon is allowing customers to connect to CaaS through a private network service the company offers, called Private IP, rather than over the public Internet, Golding said. "For some enterprises, I think that will be seen as an important differentiator," he said.

Customers using CaaS can manage their service through a console that allows them to provision resources as they wish, which also means if they decommission a resource, they will automatically stop being charged for it, he said. Companies can run applications either on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Windows OSes.

Verizon is charging a nonrecurring fee of US$525 to start using the service, and a monthly subscription fee of $250. Then customers pay a fixed fee per day for the resources they use, depending on how many servers they want. For instance, a virtual server would cost somewhere between $8 to $12 per day, Verhoeven said.

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