Verizon and Carpathia launch hybrid offerings
Two public cloud announcements from hosting providers this week, with some interesting similarities…
Verizon has launched its Computing as a Service (CaaS) offering. This is a virtual data center (VDC) offering, which means that it’s got a Web-based GUI within which you provision and manage your infrastructure. You contract for CaaS itself on a one-year basis, paying for that base access on a monthly basis. Within CaaS, you can provision “farms”, which are individual virtual data centers. Within a farm, you can provision servers (along with the usual storage, load-balancing, firewall, etc.). Farms and servers are on-demand, with a daily price.
Two things make the Verizon offering distinctive (at least temporarily). First, farms can contain both physical servers and virtual (VMware-based) servers, on an HP C-class blade platform; while hybridized offerings have become increasingly common, Verizon is one of the few to allow them to be managed out of a unified GUI. Second, Verizon offers managed services across the whole platform. By default, you get basic management (including patch management) for the OS and Verizon-provided app infrastructure. You can also upgrade to full managed service. It looks like, compared to similar providers, the Verizon offering is going to be extremely cost-competitive.
In yet another example of a smaller hoster “growing up” with serious cloud computing ambitions, Carpathia has released an offering it calls Cloud Orchestration. It’s a hybrid utility hosting model, combining its managed dedicated hosting service (AlwaysOn) with scaling on its virtual server offering, InstantOn.
Carpathia has stated it’s the first hybrid offering; I don’t agree that it is. However, I do think that Carpathia has rolled out a notable number of features on its cloud platform (Citrix Xen-based). It’s made a foray into the cloud storage space, based on ParaScale. It also has auto-scaling, including auto-provisioning based on performance and availability SLA violations (the only vendor I know of that currently offers that feature). OS patch management is included, as are other basic managed hosting services. Check out Carpathia CTO Jon Greaves’s blog post on the value proposition, for an indication of where their thinking is at.
Side thought: Carpathia is one of the few Xen-based cloud providers to use Citrix Xen, rather than open-source Xen. However, now that Citrix is offering XenServer for free, it seems likely that service providers will gradually drift that way. Live migration (XenMotion) will probably be the main thing that drives that switch.