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Verizon Unveils ‘Massive’ Proprietary Public Cloud

Verizon won’t be using open source kit anywhere in its back end, as it wants complete control over the stack

On by Thomas Brewster 0

Verizon is opening a new public compute cloud as it hopes to fight with the big boys, Amazon Web Services (AWS) in particular, whilst launching an object storage service.

It won’t use much open source code to power the thing, largely choosing proprietary kit across the stack, rather than use the likes of OpenStack and CloudStack. Even though it is a contributor to the latter, it isn’t saying the cloud is based on it.

The company already has a fairly sizeable infrastructure-as-a-service offering in the form of its Verizon Terremark offerings, but its latest compute platform is said to be more flexible and more accessible.

Cloud Computing - Virtual Machine Motion © Fernando Madeira - Fotolia Verizon wants to be the next Amazon

Verizon Cloud Compute will largely not be based on open source code, despite the company’s recent moves towards open systems by investing in the Xen Project and Cloudstack. It has used Xen as a basis for VM management, but has added plenty of its own code, much like Amazon has done.

John Considine, CTO of Verizon Terremark, said OpenStack wasn’t suitable as it wanted complete control over all the different pieces of its cloud.

OpenStack forces a vendor to manage lifecycles of different bits of code and implement updates when everyone else does, and that means extra cost, Considine said. OpenStack isn’t addressing those problems, according to the CTO and founder of CloudSwitch.

“We recognise that for building a cloud this big, current orchestration stacks aren’t up to the scale we are interested in,” he told TechWeekEurope.

“We intend to be a leader in the cloud space. There are few people that can actually do this,  who actually have the scale and the drive.”

Despite using much of its own code to run its cloud, Verizon has promised support across a range of cloud APIs, including AWS and OpenStack. It will also support VMWare and Xen-based hypervisors upon launch, with Hyper-V and KVM coming at a later date.

“We want others to be able to target us and go. That’s our open strategy,” Considine said.

The most impressive thing about the Verizon cloud is its granularity, Considine claimed. Users can select precisely how much storage, networking and compute they want, “literally with the turn of a dial”. With storage, users can select anything from 100 IOPS to 500 IOPS per disk, and can scale that at 10 IOPS a step.

It is claiming it is the only cloud provider to allow customers to “guarantee performance” for each virtual machine they buy. This is all part of its “reserve performance” concept.

Users can also choose what data centre they want to use. Verizon Cloud Compute and Verizon Cloud Storage are currently supported in  seven of Verizon’s 53 data centres, including four in the US, one in London, one in Amsterdam and another in Brazil.

Verizon is also promising to stand up to law enforcement when it comes to data requests, as far as it can. The company’s telecoms arm was shown to be passing on customer data to the National Security Agency (NSA) following a leaked court order from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

It also uses end-to-end encryption on its cloud services, Considine told TechWeek, so even if it was asked to hand over data, it would be garbled and Verizon wouldn’t have the keys to hand over. He also sought to assuage fears of those outside of the US about the reach of US law.

“The Patriot Act and all those things people are talking about do not require Verizon to disclose data outside of the US. We will not do it,” Considine added.

“We do not and will not disclose customers’ data stored outside of the US to the US government.”

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Thomas Brewster
Author: Thomas Brewster
Security Correspondent, TechWeekEurope
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