Verizon’s New Public Cloud Takes Aim at Amazon, Rackspace

Company officials say Verizon Cloud will offer greater flexibility, performance and pricing than competing cloud platforms.

Verizon officials are looking to take on the likes of Amazon, Rackspace and Google with its new Verizon Cloud platform, which the company said will offer businesses big and small greater flexibility, agility and control than competing public infrastructure-as-a-service offerings.

Verizon Cloud, which will be housed in Verizon data centers around the world, will enable customers to quickly spin up virtual machines, and to more easily set and configure the virtual machine, networks and storage requirements and performance. Rather than just having to choose between pre-set size configurations—small, medium or large—customers will have more granular control over the performance of the VM and network, and the configuration of storage.

“We are putting control and choice back in the hands of the user, while still addressing their needs for availability, performance and security,” John Considine, chief technology officer of Verizon Terremark, said in a statement. “We started from scratch, building the core components we felt necessary to achieve that goal.”

Verizon officials announced the new cloud platform Oct. 3 during a keynote address at the Interop 2013 show in New York City. They reportedly said the company will run the Verizon Cloud along with the company’s existing first-generation infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering, the Verizon Terremark Enterprise Cloud.

The public beta of the cloud service will launch in the fourth quarter, with customers initially being served by the infrastructure in Verizon’s Culpeper, Va., data center. Eventually, other data centers—in such places as Miami; Santa Clara, Calif.; Amsterdam, London; and Sao Paolo, Brazil—will be added to the Verizon Cloud offering through the first half of 2014. Beta access to the Verizon Cloud at first will be limited to a few hundred new users a month, with more being added as capacity allows.

The system is designed to support millions of virtual machines at each location, the company said.

“This is the revolution in cloud services that enterprises have been calling for,” John Stratton, president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, said in a statement. “We took feedback from our enterprise clients across the globe and built a new cloud platform from the bottom up to deliver the attributes they require.”

Verizon is looking to challenge Amazon Web Services, Rackspace and others in what promises to be an increasingly competitive market as more businesses move more of their workloads into the cloud. IDC analysts said in a report last month that between this year and 2017, the public IT cloud services market will grow 23.5 percent a year, with worldwide spending growing from 447.4 billion in 2013 to more than $107 billion within four years.

By 2017, public IT cloud services will account for 17 percent of IT product spending and will drive nearly half of all growth across five tech categories—applications, system infrastructure software, platform-as-a-service and basic storage.

"The first wave of cloud services adoption was focused on improving the efficiency of the IT department," Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC, said in a statement. "Over the next several years, the primary driver for cloud adoption will shift from economics to innovation as leading-edge companies invest in cloud services as the foundation for new competitive offerings. The emergence of cloud as the core for new 'business-as-a-service' offerings will accelerate cloud adoption and dramatically raise the cloud model's strategic value beyond CIOs to CXOs of all types."