Believe it or not, many moons ago (in 2011, to be precise) telco giant Verizon decided that is was going to be a public cloud player of note and went out and dropped over $1 billion on Terremark to build out the “Verizon Cloud.”

It almost seems quaint today to hear of companies deciding that this small upstart, Amazon Web Services, was doing something important enough that it was worth kneecapping them. This is especially the case since Amazon’s head of all things cloud, Andy Jassy, seems to have had the last laugh – all those “AWS-killers” are pretty much nowhere to be found. Rackspace, once seen as the public cloud bridesmaid, is a mere shadow of its former self.

This is no different for Verizon. That smart investment in Terremark? Seemingly not so smart, it ditched a bunch of data centers to Equinix in 2016 and then a year later, offloaded its public cloud offering to IBM. And, if you have suspicions that IBM is where public cloud platforms go to die or, more accurately, already dead public cloud platforms go to get some short-term life support, you’d probably be right.

In the interim, Verizon had several goes at this cloud thing – leveraging Citrix’s then CloudStack operating system (which Citrix itself inherited from and then later got rid of). Verizon also had a foot in the other camp, being a vociferous proponent of the OpenStack open source cloud operating system for a time.

All the time it was dabbling in building or buying its own clouds, there was someone with some sense within Verizon HQ and continued experiments were occurring on AWS. Verizon may have been publicly talking about killing the Seattle public cloud giant, but in all honesty, it saw the writing on the wall.

Which leads us to today and the announcement from AWS that Verizon “is migrating over 1,000 business-critical applications and database backend systems to AWS.” They’re not saying it’s an exclusive relationship, but it does look fairly significant in the scheme of things.

This announcement signals yet another vendor that has failed, despite huge investment, to put a dent in the public cloud market. Cisco, HPE, and VMware have all reversed their own public cloud investments in the face of the dominance of AWS (and, in second and third place, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform) respectively.

Despite all the bluster, and despite disparaging remarks about AWS simply being an online bookstore, it seems the last one standing will get the last laugh, after all.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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