Verizon Business: UK cloud service due mid-2011

The company has said it will open a dedicated cloud-computing facility in the UK in mid-2011 to offer its Compute-as-a-service product to UK companies, as part of a global high-spec datacentre roll-out
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

Verizon Business's global cloud-computing network will arrive in the UK in mid-2011, the company said on Wednesday.

Mark Beaumont, Verizon Business's group product manager for International IT Solutions, told ZDNet UK that a dedicated datacentre for CaaS (Compute as a service) would open in the UK next year.

"CaaS is a foundation layer, it's infrastructure as a service. It's really the start for [Verizon Business] of being able to provide other services. It's a delivery method, but we also provide application management, security services, content-distribution networking, things like SAP management and so on," Beaumont told ZDNet UK. "It's a philosophy of everything-as-a-service," he said.

On Monday Verizon Business said that it had begun to offer CaaS services from its newly opened Hong Kong CaaS datacentre to companies in East Asia, complementing existing facilities in Amsterdam and the US east coast. Since it opened, customers have used the service for "staging, test development, delivering web services, using it for SAP and various other application services", Beaumont said.

Eventually, Beaumont explained, the Verizon Business CaaS network will comprise between six and 10 facilities globally, with datacentres due to open in San Jose, USA by the end of this year, the UK in mid-2011 and Australia by the third quarter of 2011.

The chain of facilities across the globe closely mirrors the structure of rival provider Orange Business Services, which teamed up with EMC, Cisco and VMware in September to offer worldwide cloud services

"We needed to have a US presence, an EMEA presence and then an Asia-Pacific presence [before a UK-specific facility]," Beaumont said. He reiterated that the UK is important to Verizon.

Region-specific facilities are necessary for two reasons — latency and data location, Beaumont said. By having the service come from a local facility, latency can be reduced, and the company can track the geographical location of customer data by using its own network. This helps "with some of the regulatory type of issues", Beaumont said. "If you're a company, some have issues with things like safe harbour or the Patriot Act, so they feel much more comfortable with those resources residing outside the US rather than in the US," he added.

In 2009, HP's European head of innovation and sustainable computing predicted that European telecom companies would become cloud providers because "it would solve the issue of where data resides".

Each CaaS datacentre will typically use Cisco hardware for its networking equipment, HP for server technology and HP-owned 3Par devices for storage "because it's fast, very scalable and we can tie into the user interface very easily to provision the storage", Beaumont said.

Verizon Business has a global network of around 220 datacentres, Beaumont said, but the CaaS facilities will be different — they will all be resilient facilities that loosely conform to the Uptime Institute's Tier 3 ranking. Verizon Business is not currently disclosing power usage effectiveness (PUE) figures.

The CaaS facilities, along with others, will also be used to offer VMware's vCloud datacentre services as well, although Verizon Business could not give timings or pricings, Beaumont said.

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