Verizon Business Launches Virtualization Services Suite

Verizon Business today announced the augmentation of its already
sizable professional services portfolio with a new suite of services focused on server
virtualization – reflecting the growing importance of virtualization solutions
in today's enterprise computing environment.

Enterprise Networking Planet spoke with Verizon Business's Abby Gregory,
manager, global services, about the new offering: Verizon Virtualization Consulting
and Management Services.

Gregory touched on the main motivators driving current adoption of virtualization, which allows an application to be spread out across multiple hosts, or multiple instances of an application to be run on a single host.

"Some of the top drivers include improving redundancy and security and
availability," she said. "That goes back to being able to spread an
application out over multiple hosts, because you are able to build in redundancy to
your application with a smaller number of hosts than typically would be
required."

The fundamental goal of virtualization, according to Gregory, is "making what you have more efficient."

"You can control costs associated with data centers," she elaborated
" – specifically space and power. Through virtualization, you are able to
reduce the number of hosts you need to support your application, and by reducing the
number of hosts required, you're reducing your floor space required at the data
center facility, and thereby reducing your power requirements."

Reducing the number of servers needed to run an application reduces secondary data
center costs as well, such as cooling and maintenance.

A Modular Approach to Virtualization

Verizon has taken a decidedly modular approach in packaging its virtualization
services, creating individual product offerings for every stage of the technology
lifecycle – from assessment to deployment to ongoing management – and for
just about every customer need. It offers hosting as an option (not a requirement),
and, although it is a VMware shop, Verizon consultants will work even with existing
deployments of 'third party' technology.

Specifically, the suite consists of seven discrete professional services offerings.

Two – Server Consolidation Assessment and Server Consolidation Design –
lay the groundwork for an organization to make the leap from non-virtualized to a
virtualized environment for existing computing resources, based on a review of
business and technical requirements.

A three-layered service, Secure Virtualization Assessment & Design, combines
the above services with a security assessment of the proposed environment.
(Verizon's security portfolio rests to a large extent on its 2007 acquisition of
the global security services firm Cybertrust.)

The Virtualization Design service is for customers looking to create a new
environment with virtualization as a key consideration, but who are not necessarily
consolidating existing resources.

Virtualization Build is pretty much what it sounds like: installation of hardware
and network infrastructure along with configuration of the virtualized application.
Interestingly, Verizon Business is willing to implement a customer's own designs
in this service, as well as its own.

Actually moving a customer's data and applications into the new
virtualized environment is covered by the Virtualization Migration service.

Finally, Virtualization Deployment Review provides an assessment and feedback on
virtualization environments implemented by customers or other third parties, including
an industry best-practices evaluation.

Gregory was quick to point out that Verizon's virtualization-related
professional services do not end with the assess-design-deploy-migrate cycle, but
indeed are available through the complete technology lifecycle – which means
ongoing management.

"That last phase is one of the differentiators that Verizon brings to the
table," she told Enterprise Networking Planet – "the ability to design
and implement a virtualization solution, but also to work with you to manage that at
the end of the day."

Indeed, in addition to managing virtualized environments that it hosts in its data
centers Verizon Business has remote application management capabilities (thanks to its
acquisition of managed services provider Totality Corporation) and can monitor and
manage virtual infrastructure as well as virtual applications running on those servers
– either on the customer's premises or at a colocation facility.

Amy Larsen DeCarlo, principal analyst for managed IT services at the research firm
Current Analysis, also
touched on this theme in commenting on the Verizon announcement: 

"They've certainly had a lot of experience in this space just as a
hosting provider. And they have the infrastructure – as well as the ability to
actually manage their clients' facilities if necessary," she told Enterprise
Networking Planet.

"As much as launching anything right now is going to be a challenge,"
DeCarlo said, "I think the timing may not be bad for this, because managed
services around virtualization is actually one area where I think there is a real
opportunity.

"There are some aspects of this that are very much focused on cost savings and
server consolidation, and companies are looking at how they're going to cut
current expenses, but they want to leverage some of the hardware they have in place,
and this is an opportunity to do that."

While Verizon faces a "pretty complicated and competitive market,"
according to DeCarlo, "they have the network advantage. "Also they can go at
this with a little more vendor neutrality than some of their competitors, so I think
that will help them."

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