Verizon: When a Cloud is Not a Cloud

Verizon: When a Cloud is Not a Cloud

Every player in the industry today is busy promoting its own version of the Cloud. But, as we've now come to understand, the one Verizon has been promoting, wasn't a Cloud at all.

Last week, Verizon alerted customers of its Cloud that the services would be unavailable for 48 hours. To those that understand what a Cloud actually is, and the processes and techniques that make a Cloud what it is, this immediately seemed a bit illogical. With the exception of Amazon, which took its Cloud down to reboot its servers for patching last year, companies like Google and Microsoft never need to shut down any of its services to perform maintenance. Sure, the services go down from time to time, and that's expected, but there's never been a time when they had to say "OK, everyone go home. No business today because we're updating our servers."

Taking servers offline and downing datacenters completely is unheard of these days. If a Cloud platform is designed correctly, there's no need for a planned outage. But, Verizon spent this last weekend doing just that. Verizon alerted customers that its Cloud would be down for maintenance for 48 hours. The company's Cloud came back up just under the communicated timeframe at 40 hours, but still…

And, now we have a little better understanding of what happened this past weekend, through some prepared remarks from the company:

The seamless upgrade functionality allows Verizon to conduct major system upgrades without interrupting service or limiting infrastructure capacity ...Traditionally, updates have been made via rolling maintenance and other methods. Many cloud vendors require customers to set up virtual machines in multiple zones or upgrade domains, which can increase the cost and complexity. Additionally, those customers must reboot their virtual machines after maintenance has occurred...Verizon eliminates these requirements, since virtually all maintenance and upgrades to Verizon Cloud will now happen in the background with no impact to customers.

So, in essence, Verizon spent the weekend building its Cloud for the first time. And, though the company was promoting its service as a Cloud service all this time, it wasn't a Cloud at all.

I guess you can label anything "Cloud" to charge Cloud prices. Apparently, all I need is a label maker and a sales team and I can start charging rental subscriptions for my favorite pencil – all under the guise of the Cloud.

This makes you wonder how many providers out there are truly providing Cloud services.

We'll see how Verizon fares going forward, now that the company finally has a real Cloud to manage. And, since, it seems, this is Verizon's first real taste of managing an actual Cloud service, I fully expect some growing pains and unexplained outages.


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