Category Archives: Verizon

Verizon Business brings multi-cloud management solution to network-as-a-service offering

Verizon Business today announced Network as a Service (NaaS) Cloud Management, a new service that allows businesses to control application components and network architecture across multiple cloud environments – public, private and hybrid – all on one unified online portal. The new solution is designed to work with Verizon Business’ NaaS offering and vastly simplify multi-cloud… Read more »

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How to turn the cloud into a competitive advantage with a scorecard approach to migration

Closeup on eyeglasses with focused and blurred landscape view.We have seen enterprise cloud evolve a lot in recent years, going from specific workloads running in the cloud to businesses looking at a cloud-first approach for many applications and processes. This rise was also reflected in the Verizon State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud 2016 report, which found that 84% of enterprises have seen their use of cloud increase in the past year, with 87% of these now using cloud for at least one mission-critical workload. Furthermore, 69% of businesses say that cloud has enabled them to significantly reengineer one or more business processes, giving a clear sign of the fundamental impact that cloud is having on the way we do business.

These findings give a clear sign that whilst companies will continue to leverage the cloud for niche applications, enterprises are now looking to put more business-centric applications in the cloud. This approach requires designing cloud-based applications that specifically fit each workload — taking into account geography, security, networking, service management expectations and the ability to quickly deploy the solution to meet rapidly changing business requirements. As a result, a core focus for 2016 will be the creation of individual cloud spaces that correspond to the individual needs of a given workload.

The key to cloud is collaboration

This focused alignment has led to the role of enterprise IT evolving to that of a cloud broker that must collaborate with lines of business to ensure overall success of the organisation. By using an actionable, scorecard approach for aligning cloud solutions with the needs of each workload, enterprises can make more informed assessments on how best to support applications in the cloud.

Three practical steps are as follows:

  1. Consult the Business and Assess User Requirements: IT professionals should build a relationship with their organisation’s lines of business to accurately identify critical application requirements to create the right cloud solution. Some questions to ask include:
  • What are all the barriers for successful application migration?
  • What is the importance of the application’s availability and what is the cost of downtime?
  • What regulations does the application and data need to comply with?
  • How often will IT need to upgrade the application to maintain competitive advantage?
  1. Score Applications and Build a Risk Profile: The careful assessment of technical requirements of applications can mean the difference between a successful cloud migration and a failed one. A checklist to guide IT departments away from major pitfalls is important. Such as:
  • Determine the load on the network
  • Factor in time to prepare the application
  • Carefully consider the costs of moving

In addition to assessing the technical requirements, IT professionals must evaluate the applications’ risk profile. Using data discovery tools to look at the data flow is instrumental to detecting breaches and mitigating any impact.

  1. Match Requirements to the Right Cloud Service Model: Choosing the best cloud model for enterprise IT requires a thorough comprehension of technical specifications and workload requirements. The following are key considerations to help IT directors partner with their business unit colleagues to define enterprise needs and determine the right cloud model.
  • Does the application’s risk profile allow it to run on shared infrastructure?
  • What proportion of the application and its data are currently based on your premises, and how much is based with a provider?
  • How much of the management of the cloud can you take on?

Cloud is empowering IT professionals to gain a greater role in effectively impacting business results. Working in the right cloud environment allows for operational efficiency, increased performance, stringent security measures and robust network connectivity.

What’s on the horizon for cloud?

In the coming months and years, we will see an increased focus on the fundamental technology elements that enable the Internet of Things – cloud network and security. Networking and cloud computing are at the heart of IoT, comprising half of the key ingredients that make IoT possible. (Security and infrastructure are the other two.) This is not surprising considering IoT needs reliable, flexible network connections (both wireless and wireline) to move all the collected data and information from devices back to a central processing hub, without the need for human intervention. Similarly, cloud computing provides the flexibility, scale and security to host applications and store data.

Going forward, success will not be measured by merely moving to the cloud. Success will be measured by combining favourable financials and user impact with enhanced collaboration and information sharing across a business’ entire ecosystem. Those IT departments that embrace the cloud through the creation and implementation of a comprehensive strategy — that includes strong and measurable metrics and a strong focus on managing business outcomes — will be the ones we talk about as pioneers in the years to come.

Written by Gavan Egan, Managing Director of Cloud Services at Verizon Enterprise Solutions

Verizon launches NFV OpenStack cloud deployment over five data centres

VerizonVerizon has completed the launch of its NFV OpenStack cloud deployment project across five of its US data centres, alongside Big Switch Networks, Dell and Red Hat.

The NFV project is claimed to be the largest OpenStack deployment in the industry and is currently being expanding the project to a number of domestic data centres and aggregation sites. The company also expect the deployment to be adopted in edge network sites by the end of the year, as well as a number of Verizon’s international locations, though a time-frame for the international sites was not disclosed.

“Building on our history of innovation, this NFV project is another step in building Verizon’s next-generation network – with implications for the industry,” said Adam Koeppe, VP of Network Technology Planning at Verizon. “New and emerging applications are highlighting the need for collaborative research and development in technologies like NFV. We consider this achievement to be foundational for building the Verizon cloud that serves our customers’ needs anywhere, anytime, any app.”

Verizon worked with Big Switch Networks, Dell and Red Hat to develop the OpenStack pod-based design, which went from idea to deployment of more than 50 racks in five data centres in nine months, includes a spine-leaf fabric for each pod controlled through a Neutron plugin to Red Hat OpenStack Platform. The multi-vendor project uses Big Switch’s SDN controller software managing Dell switches, which are orchestrated by Red Hat OpenStack platform.

“Dell’s Open Networking initiative delivers on the promise of bringing innovative technology, services and choice to our customers and Verizon’s NFV project is a testament to that vision,” said Tom Burns, GM of Dell’s networking business unit. “With the open source leadership of Red Hat, the SDN expertise of Big Switch and the infrastructure, service and support at scale from Dell, this deployment demonstrates a level of collaboration that sets the tone for the Open Networking ecosystem. This is just the beginning.”

What did we learn from Verizon’s IoT report?

Iot isometric flowchart design bannerVerizon has recently released its State of the Market: Internet of Things 2016 report, which outlined the growth and potential for the IoT industry. The report features a number of use cases and information detailing the technology’s rise to fame, but also barriers for enterprise organizations over the coming months.

Here, we’ve detailed a few of the lessons learnt from the report:

IoT is no longer a nice idea, it’s becoming mainstream

If 2015 was the year IoT gained credibility in the business world, 2016 is the year IoT gains commercial feasibility.

While the concept of IoT has been around for some time, the idea of the technology having a B2B commercial backbone, capable of delivering on commercial objectives is now a reality. The potential of IoT has been well discussed but now we are seeing companies delivering on the promise. IBM is one which has particularly active in this segment, driving the Watson use case through the press repeatedly this year.

Wearables had a head start on B2B applications, though could be to thank for the relative ease of acceptance within the industry (both for enterprise and consumers). The marketing campaigns surrounding the earliest fitness wearables or smart watches normalized IoT, allowing for what could be perceived as a simple transition into the B2B sphere. But thanks to these (comparative) simple applications, the integration of IoT into the manufacturing process, healthcare, transportation, utilities, smart cities and any other context you could think of, has been a seemingly simple transition.

According to Verizon’s research, IoT networks connections have been growing healthily, the number of connections in the utilities industry has grown 58% between 2014 and 2015, and this is also backed up by forecasts by IDC research. The IDC’s findings estimate the IoT market spend will increase from $591.7 billion in 2014 to $1.3 trillion in 2019.

IoT might be entering mainstream, but data could hold it back

Data acquisition, analysis and action might be becoming one of the most repetitive conversations in the industry, but that is for good reason.

Verizon captureVerizon recently commissioned a report by Oxford Economics highlighted only 8% of businesses are using more than 25% of the IoT data which they have collected. In fact, only 50% of the businesses involved in the study said they would be using more than 25% of the collected IoT data in three years’ time.

On the surface, this shouldn’t seem as an issue that would cause too many problems, until you take into account the long-term deliverables of IoT. The promise of IoT is the collection of vast quantities of data to allow advanced analytics tools to make accurate predictions and customizations. If only a partial amount of the data is being analysed, only a partial amount of the promise can be realized.

IoT has hit the mainstream market, however it will never reach the promised deliverables if companies are not analysing more of the data collected. What is the point is spending millions on sensors, connections, storage and data scientists, if the full potential of the technology cannot be achieved. Can the long term financial security of the IoT industry be guaranteed if the promise is never fully realized?

There could be a number of reasons for the backlog of data, though industry insiders have told BCN the interface required to translate different data sets into a common language for analysis could be one of the reasons for the holdup. It would appear not all of the IoT value chain has evolved at the same pace.

Regulators will have to play a more significant role in the future

Regulation does and will play a major role in the delivery and adoption of IoT. Back in 2007 the Energy Act in the US accelerated the role of IoT in the monitoring of energy consumption, and while this could be considered the initial catalyst, growth has increased year on year ever since.

Verizon capture 2While this is an instance of regulation giving the IoT industry freedom to grow, it should not be seen as a surprise if regulators put in place rulings which could limit what the industry can and cannot do. Whether it is the ethical use of data, volumes of data which can be collected on a single person or the means in which and where the data is stored, regulation is likely to play a more significant role in coming years.

The report discusses the security of IoT which is a constant barrier for businesses and individuals alike. New regulations are likely to severely punish instances of data loss, and when you consider the sheer volume of data should IoT reach its potential, future instances of data loss could be disastrous.

Currently regulation within the IoT market is relatively low-key, encouraging growth of the technology as opposed to monitoring it, however there are a number of areas which need consideration in the short- to mid-term future. Lack of control and information asymmetry, low-quality consent, intrusive identification of behaviour patterns and user profiling and limitations on the possibility of remaining anonymous whilst using services are all areas which should be taken into consideration.

Cisco and Verizon team up to launch Cisco Spark

Cisco corporateCisco is expanding its partnership with Verizon Enterprise Solutions to offer its new cloud-based collaboration service, Cisco Spark, to Verizon’s customer base.

The announcement builds on continued efforts from Verizon to bolster its range next-generation collaboration solutions, which already includes offers such as Cisco WebEx Cloud Connected Audio, Collaboration Meeting Room and Verizon’s UCCaaS Mobile First service.

The new joint offer will deliver Spark Message and Spark Meet features integrated with Verizon’s business collaboration services. The ultimate goal of the partnership will be to develop a service delivered in such a manner that customers are unable to differentiate between the Cisco and Verizon components. While currently available in the US, the service will be available to enterprise and government customers worldwide towards the end of the year.

Cisco has also announced the allocation of $150 million to the Cisco Spark for Developers Fund to generate new ideas for the ecosystem. The fund will cover direct investments, joint development, additional enhancements and developer support.

Verizon has been making considerable efforts over the last 12 months to increase its cloud-based communications offerings, to meet the demands of an increasingly mobile and collaborative workforce. With enterprise increasingly searching for opportunities to create a more productive working environment, software- and cloud-based offerings which enable employees to work in the office, from home or on the road, are quickly becoming the norm.

“Verizon is a leader in delivering global, mobile-enabled unified communications solutions to our business and government clients,” said Bob Minai, Executive Director, Advanced Communications at Verizon. “By integrating Cisco Spark meeting and messaging capabilities into Verizon’s collaboration portfolio and global network, Verizon and Cisco will continue to help enterprise clients with digital transformation initiatives that drive better customer experiences and meaningful, measurable business outcomes.”

The partnership continues Verizon’s trend of collaborative business, following up on last month’s announcement that it would be teaming up HyperOffice. As part of the agreement, HyperOffice would distribute its communications suite from Verizon Cloud infrastructure. Primarily, the tool will enable employees to work alongside freelancers, customers and other stakeholders all using different collaboration tools that need to work together.

Verizon announces its plans to pull out of public cloud

VerizonVerizon Communications has served notice to its customers that it is to pull the plug on its public cloud offering.

The news emerged as security researcher Kenn White used Twitter to publish a copy of a customer communication sent from Verizon Communications, which warned client that Verizon will ‘discontinue its Public Cloud, Reserve Performance and Marketplace services on April the 12th. As an alternative, Verizon said it will offer Virtual Private Cloud which, it says, provides the cost effectiveness of a multi tenant public cloud but includes added levels of configuration, control and support. It claims this will improve isolation and control for more advanced businesses.

When Verizon shuts down the virtual servers currently running Public Cloud and Reserved Performance, no data or content will be retained, it told customers, warning that without prior transfer to the discontinuation their data would be permanently deleted.

Virtual Private Cloud is the service that Verizon intends to carry on offering to the enterprise market and Verizon said it is making significant investments in the enterprise cloud platform in 2016.

In January BCN reported that Verizon was examining its options for selling its global estate of 48 data centres. Verizon would reportedly expect to raise over $2.5 billion and streamline its business. Currently its colocation portfolio generates $275 million a year. Other telcos such as AT&T, CenturyLink and Windstream have also divested themselves of their data centres businesses in recent years.

According to channel publication CRN Verizon could work with Google to cater for the increasing demand for hybrid cloud systems among enterprise customers, with a Verizon-branded hybrid service running on Google’s public cloud a possibility. This would obviate the need for Verizon having its own public cloud offering. Neither party has confirmed or denied the speculation about their alleged partnership.

Apple to build new cloud infrastructure as Verizon sells off data centres – reports

datacentreTwo US tech giants are heading in opposite directions regarding datacenters, according to a couple of recent reports

Local US news sources report that Apple has filed a permit with Washoe County in Nevada, to build a new cluster of data centre facilities near its original Reno site. The planning application for Apple’s new ‘Project Huckleberry’ involves the construction of the full shell of a new data centre, several data centre clusters and a support building. The new Huckleberry project will have essentially the same design as an earlier installation in Reno, dubbed Project Mills, according to Trevor Lloyd, senior planner for Washoe County Planning and Development’s Community Services.

Apple was first attracted to invest in the area in 2012 when it received an $89 million tax abatement incentive to locate in Reno Technology Park. Apple recently applied for permission to build a new substation to support further development as the existing site is reaching its capacity, according to Lloyd.

Permission for the site, based on past trends, should be granted by the end of January, according to Lloyd. Tax incentives for cloud infrastructure projects could make economic sense for regional development authorities given their long term impact, according to Mike Kazmierski, president of western Nevada’s Economic Development Authority. “When you put tens of hundreds of millions of dollars on a huge data centre project, you’re in it for the long haul,” said Kazmierksi.

Cloud service provider Rackspace is also planning to build a data centre at Reno Technology Park.

The demands that data centres make on the local community are minor in comparison to benefits that a cloud computing infrastructure brings to the community though economic investments – and owners of data centres should use this in negotiations, according to Kazmierski.

Meanwhile, a large stock of cloud infrastructure could come on the market as telco Verizon Communications reportedly began a process to sell its global estate of 48 data centres. According to insiders quoted by Reuters Verizon is aiming to raise over $2.5 billion and streamline its business. Currently the colocation portfolio generates $275 million in EBITDA.

Telcos such as AT&T, CenturyLink and Windstream have also divested themselves of their data centres businesses in recent years.

Verizon announces IBM integration partnership for SCI customers

VerizonVerizon has announced IBM as the latest partner in its Secure Cloud Interconnect (SCI) service, bringing the total to eight cloud service options for its clients.

Verizon Secure Cloud Interconnect customers can now connect to IBM Cloud data centre sites in Dallas and San Jose in the US and Tokyo and Sydney in the Asia Pacific region. Two additional sites are planned in Europe for the beginning of 2016.

The Verizon Interconnect supports IBM’s broader portfolio of Direct Link services, which allow customers to link their existing IT infrastructure and the cloud compute resources on the IBM Cloud. The service has three offerings, Cloud Exchange, Network Service Provider (NSP) and Colocation, in a range it says will cover all public, private and hybrid eventualities.

The new IBM Cloud addition means Verizon’s Secure Cloud Interconnect now offers access to eight cloud providers. It already has links with AWS, Google CloudPlatform, HPE Rapid Connect, Microsoft ExpressRoute for Office 365TM, Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute, Microsoft Azure Government and Verizon’s own cloud service along with service from data centre providers Coresite, Equinix and Verizon. Its service is available at 50 global locations in the Americas, Latin America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Users of Verizon’s Secure Cloud Interconnect are promised a direct line to IBM Cloud services through a secure, flexible private link that promises to move workloads easily between clouds. Verizon says it gives enterprise clients more options for storing data. The new service brings a variety of settings, which means data can be stored in a traditional IT environment, a dedicated on- or-off premises cloud and a shared off-premises cloud. This, says Verizon, makes the adoption of a hybrid cloud more achievable and provides a cloud computing estate that is easier to adjust according as business requirements change.

“With SDN at the heart of our Secure Cloud Interconnect solution, IBM customers will find it delivers an unbeatable combination,” said Shawn Hakl, VP of enterprise networking and innovation for Verizon. Yesterday reported on a similar deal between HPE and NTT.

Elsewhere, Verizon has also announced the expansion of its IoT portfolio, as it launched what it claims is the world’s first Cat1 LTE network feature for IoT. In addition, it announced that it will be giving developers additional tools on its ThingSpace platform, with more application programme interfaces (APIs) and application enablement platforms (AEPs) including an integration of its Bug Labs’ dweet APIs and freeboard visualisation engine.

Verizon and VMTurbo collaborate over smart cloud brokerage

cloud exchangeUS telco Verizon and control system maker VMTurbo have jointly created the Verizon Intelligent Cloud Control to help Verizon customers migrate workloads to the most suitable public cloud service.

The system works by calculating the enterprise customer’s performance and resource needs and matching them up to the most likely provider. The partners claim this is the first automated system of its kind on the market.

Existing cloud brokerages, they claim, have to manually recommend workload placement to public cloud service providers (CSPs). However Intelligent Cloud Control gives Verizon customers a system that automatically makes instant calculations on price, performance and placements, while taking in compliance considerations. It also makes all the sizing and configuration decisions needed in order to install and migrate workloads to public cloud providers.

Verizon claims the system will be easy to use with a single interface and detailed cost controls that will eliminate billing surprises. The system will also help end users keep on top of performance and compliance issues through rigourous cloud monitoring.

The ‘Verizon Intelligent Cloud Control powered by VMTurbo’ service will launch during the first quarter of 2016. Initially the service will include connections to Amazon Web Services, IBM SoftLayer and Microsoft Azure.

Verizon’s customers said they needed a better way to manage their risk when moving to the public cloud, according to Victoria Lonker, director of enterprise networking for Verizon. “We are removing the complexities and myriad trade-offs between price, performance and compliance in various public cloud services,” said Lonker, “now they can focus on the applications and services.”

VMTurbo’s Application Performance Control system is used by 1200 enterprises to guarantee Quality of Service for applications and to make full use of all resources in cloud and virtualized environments.

“Intelligent Cloud Control is different from today’s cloud brokers and managers as it factors in application performance and price,” said Endre Sara, VP of advanced solutions of VMTurbo.

Enterprise no longer fears cloud as adoption hits tipping point – Verizon report

VerizonCloud computing is on the verge of becoming the de facto method of buying business systems, according to a new study into adoption and attitudes towards the new generation of technology.

The number of enterprises that are not adopting cloud computing are a small minority, according to Verizon Enterprise Solutions’ 2016 State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud report. As the majority have run mission critical applications over the cloud, and there is near universal recognition of better performance, usability and lower cost of ownership, the fear of adopting cloud and abandon old expensive computing models has disappeared, according to the report.

The lean toward the cloud has reached the tipping point, according to Ryan Shuttleworth, cloud CTO for Verizon Enterprise Solutions and he predicts that companies will push on to look for ‘new opportunities to grow’.

The enterprise user feedback came from a mixture of Verizon’s own cloud customers, anonymised cloud customer usage data and data supplied by analysts such as Forrester and Gartner. This year the highest ever number of enterprises (69%) said they had re-engineered at least one business process using cloud computing, almost double the numbers from the previous year. An overwhelming majority (88%) said it was an improvement on their old computing model and improved responsiveness to the business, while 65% said it improved overall operations.

Having proved the concept of cloud computing, cloud phobia has disappeared, according to Verizon, as 87% of businesses think the cloud at least matches on-premise computing and 80% say they feel as secure or more secure than they do with an internally run IT service. As a result, 87% of businesses are now using the cloud for mission-critical workloads, up from 71% last year and 60% in 2013. By 2016, according to Verizon’s figures, the mission critical penetration of cloud computing could reach 98%.

Last year, it was news when a cloud was used for mission-critical workloads, according to Shuttleworth, but now it’s the de facto standard. “Companies are now using cloud technologies to create new customer experiences, business processes and new opportunities to grow,” said Shuttleworth.

There was some positive news for enterprise IT departments, however, with the revelation that private cloud on the rise with 44% of enterprises using, or planning to use, a private cloud system.