Despite carriers' best marketing efforts, enterprises still view them through the narrow lens of voice and data transport services, making it all the more difficult for telecom operators to stand out in a crowded cloud computing market. By offering telecom cloud services that do more than spin up servers and software, carriers can shed their reputations as slow-moving phone companies.
"The fact that we can provision a server in eight minutes is not what's going to be our differentiator," said Kerry Bailey, president of Terremark Worldwide Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Verizon Business. "Our differentiator is going to be the fact that we ... make this an enterprise-class cloud."
Last week Verizon announced its joint telecom cloud services strategy with Terremark, the cloud computing provider it acquired for $1.4 billion earlier this year. Pure-play cloud providers have failed to offer the security, reliability and advanced services that traditional telcos have built their reputations on, Bailey said. Verizon can add that to Terremark's cloud services.
Bundling other managed IT services into telecom cloud services will help carriers stand out from the standard IaaS providers, according to Doug McMaster, vice president of data center services at NTT America, which announced the commercial availability of its NTT America Enterprise Cloud in April.
Both Verizon and NTT America also emphasized the need for telecom cloud services to differentiate through flexibility—that is, the ability to support hybrid hosting and hybrid cloud models.
"We're not just another cloud player. We're not just someone who has developed a cloud layer or an orchestration layer. We're somebody who can tie together all of these services," McMaster said. "Our focus in the months to come is certainly going to be on these additional services in the cloud space."
Hoping to attract large enterprise customers, Verizon is tying its network to technology it acquired from Terremark to make the security policies and provisioning processes for telecom cloud services both application- and network-aware, Bailey said. The Terremark cloud can automatically detect and apply policies for specific applications. It can also apply specific policies if a customer accesses telecom cloud services via Verizon's MPLS network rather than the public Internet, he said.