Terremark-Verizon cloud service ready to go

Enterprise and network capabilities mesh after acquisition

After Terremark buy, Verizon is ready to roll out an expanded set of cloud services powered by nearly 50 data centers around the globe.

Ten weeks after completing its $1.4 billion acquisition of Terremark, Verizon is ready to roll out an expanded set of cloud services powered by nearly 50 data centers around the globe.

The merger brought together Terremark's IT-centric brand and Verizon's network-centric brand, while a "reverse integration" pushed Verizon employees and data centers under the Terremark operating model, says Kerry Bailey, a Verizon executive who is now president of Terremark Worldwide.

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The number of data centers available for Terremark's cloud service has expanded from about 10 to nearly 50, he said. The combined company is offering a mix of cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) capabilities, similar to those from by Amazon and Rackspace, along with managed hosting. Bailey claims that Terremark can provide better security to enterprise customers, and some major analyst firms have endorsed Terremark's capabilities.

Before the merger, Gartner listed Verizon and Terremark as among the leaders in its infrastructure-as-a-service and Web hosting Magic Quadrant, along with Savvis, AT&T and Rackspace. Amazon was placed in a lower tier.

Additionally, Forrester analyst James Staten blogged that the Terremark acquisition vaults Verizon into the "IaaS cloud leadership ranks."

"Confidential Forrester client inquiries have shown struggles by Verizon to win competitive IaaS bids with its computing-as-a-service offering, often losing to Terremark," Staten wrote in January.

Combined, Terremark and Verizon's cloud and hosting offerings form a multibillion-dollar business, Bailey said. And Verizon Wireless' 4G network will help accelerate the shift toward accessing applications from cloud networks rather than from a customer's own data centers, Bailey argued.

Terremark's 50 data centers are spread across North America, Latin America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The basic cloud offerings will include security services to protect against threats and vulnerabilities, while performing governance, risk management and compliance. For extra fees, customers can purchase identity- and access-management services. The security offerings originate from CyberTrust, a company Verizon purchased in 2007.

Bailey said Verizon is also committed to preventing lock-in. But while Terremark's managed hosting services support multiple hypervisors, the cloud infrastructure-as-a-service network supports only VMware. Bailey said Terremark will expand the IaaS cloud to more virtualization platforms, but said he couldn't yet say which ones. Terremark will eventually release APIs to help customers move workloads between cloud networks, he said.

"We've always remained vendor-neutral. We want the cloud to be wide open," he said. "We want to solve the lock-in problem."

Bailey did not reveal pricing but said the consumption-based services, including virtual machines, storage and memory, will be "extremely competitive" with Amazon and Rackspace.

While Terremark's cloud focus is IaaS, it is also pitching some platform-as-a-service and software-as-a-service tools to help service providers and software vendors build services and applications.

Since not every application should be moved into a multi-tenant environment, Terremark has built a "single orchestration layer" for customers to manage workloads in virtual machines and dedicated servers, Bailey said.

Bailey also pitched an application-aware network that assesses the needs of workloads and lets them fail over automatically. Amazon recently had a multi-day outage in which customers that had not built high-availability services into their hosted applications suffered downtime.

"There's a general belief in the market that infrastructure providers should just provide the infrastructure and it's up to the customers to figure out how that application can fail over," Bailey said. "We're not of that mindset, because every application performs differently."

Still, Terremark hasn't been immune to the downtime problems affecting cloud vendors. The company's VMware-based service reportedly suffered a seven-hour outage in March 2010.

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