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Verizon targets hybrid cloud security with CloudSwitch acquisition

The deal gives Verizon software to help companies maintain hybrid cloud security as they move applications to the cloud. Terms were not disclosed.

Verizon Communications Inc. announced Thursday that it acquired CloudSwitch Inc., a supplier of software designed to make it easier for companies to move their applications securely to the cloud.

New York-based Verizon said it will combine privately held CloudSwitch with its Terremark IT services subsidiary. Burlington, Mass.-based CloudSwitch makes software that allows companies to move applications from the enterprise data center to cloud environments while keeping the applications integrated with existing enterprise management and security policies.

Chris Gesell, chief innovation and strategy officer for Terremark, said CloudSwitch’s focus on ease of use, security and workload portability for the enterprise is a natural fit for Verizon. The deal positions Verizon as leader in enabling hybrid clouds, he said in an interview.

“This makes the customer’s data center interoperable with the cloud,” Gesell said. “We believe in the future enterprises are going to adopt a multi-cloud environment and will have different clouds for different workloads. CloudSwitch enables us to help them manage those multi cloud environments.”

Ellen Rubin, CloudSwitch cofounder and vice president of products, said customers download the CloudSwitch software as a virtual machine, which installs into the customer’s VMware or Zen environment in their data center. It comes with a Web-based interface that allows them to point and click in order to move applications into the cloud. Behind the scenes, CloudSwitch enables hybrid cloud security by launching an encrypted tunnel to the target cloud and provides a bridge from the customer’s data center to the cloud over Layer 2, she said. Enterprise security policies are maintained throughout the process.

“Our feeling is that customers don’t want to have to rebuild their whole network security strategy for the cloud,” Rubin said.

If a customer wants to move data associated with an application to the cloud, CloudSwitch encrypts it and also makes sure communication between instances in the cloud are encrypted, she said. The software isolates the customer’s application from the cloud provider environment and control of encryption keys remains with the customer.

Amy DeCarlo, principal analyst at Current Analysis, said the deal is a good move for Verizon.

“People are interested in cloud, but they’re concerned about lock-in, security and also how they’ll migrate existing applications running in their own data center to a cloud environment…This is one way where there’s potential to link together multiple clouds, whether the customer’s on-premise, private cloud to a Verizon cloud or potentially to Amazon and public cloud,” DeCarlo said.

The application- and hypervisor-agnostic nature of CloudSwitch will be important moving forward, she said, as cloud adoption increases and cloud services mature. “That would make Terremark look like a good option, because cloud customers avoid that lock-in and Terremark could perform a broker role,” she said.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Verizon completed its acquisition of Miami-based Terremark Worldwide Inc. in April. That deal was valued at $1.4 billion.

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