IT organizations looking to leverage the cloud often find that they have to either find a cloud service provider that supports the virtual machine environment on which they have standardized, or tweak their applications in a way that allows them to run on the supported virtual machines.
Rather than forcing customers to make that decision, Verizon Enterprise Solutions is moving to unify the hypervisor environments it can run in the cloud by deploying a custom hypervisor on its cloud that can recognize application images that were designed to run on any of the major hypervisors.
Verizon Terremark CTO John Considine says Verizon is using an instance of a Xen hypervisor that it has customized in a way that allows it to run application images that were originally designed to run on, for example, VMware. That approach makes it a lot simpler for the cloud service provider to support multiple types of application workloads without having to require customers to tweak their applications before moving them onto the Verizon cloud.
As part of that heterogeneous cloud strategy, Verizon has also decided to support OpenStack, CloudStack and Amazon Web Services (AWS) APIs as part of a deliberate effort to make it easier for customers to migrate existing cloud applications to the Verizon cloud.
Considine says that having its own hypervisor development team is one reason that Verizon finds itself in a position to compete effectively against the largest cloud service providers. In addition to building out a new state-of-the-art cloud platform using servers from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and storage from NetApp, Considine says Verizon has access to networking infrastructure on a global scale that most other cloud service providers can’t match. The Verizon cloud also makes use of solid-state drives (SSDs) for primary storage.
The end result, says Considine, is that Verizon Enterprise Solutions is only one of a very small number of cloud service providers willing to actually guarantee application performance.
Verizon is clearly committed to becoming one of the major providers of cloud services specifically tuned to the needs of the enterprise. This is in contrast to other providers that appear to be more interested in forcing the enterprise to adjust to the needs of the cloud service provider.