Kevin McLaughlin and Gina Narcisi on February 2, 2016
Telecom giant Verizon and Alphabet's Google are talking about forming a strategic partnership that includes joint development of hybrid cloud services, multiple sources familiar with the matter told CRN on Tuesday.
While the scope of the partnership isn't clear, one of the plans being discussed involves a Verizon-branded hybrid cloud service that runs on Google's public cloud, said the sources, who all requested anonymity because the talks are confidential.
Hybrid cloud describes the mix of private and public cloud infrastructure that's in vogue with enterprises that aren't ready to move all their computing out of their data centers.
One longtime Verizon partner, who didn't want to be named because the talks are confidential, described the offering as "Google cloud with a Verizon wrapper."
The sources said it's not clear how the new joint offering would be sold or whether channel partners would be involved.
A Google spokeswoman declined to comment. Verizon spokespeople didn't respond to a request for comment.
A half-dozen Google and Verizon partners who weren't previously aware of the partnership told CRN they believe it would give a boost to both vendors' cloud ambitions.
"Google has the cloud, and Verizon has a network that is far superior to anyone else's, and which can be used to manage the entire infrastructure," said one Verizon partner.
Google is in the midst of a major push to attract enterprise customers to the Google Cloud Platform. It hired VMware founder Diane Green in November as senior vice president of its enterprise business, a role that includes oversight of Google for Work, Cloud Platform and Google Apps.
Google would presumably get access to Verizon's base of large enterprise customers under the partnership, a partner that works with both vendors told CRN.
Verizon, which is reportedly looking to downsize its Terremark data center business, would be able to continue competing in the cloud without the capital expenses associated with operating a public cloud, the partner said.
Verizon launched an auction last month to sell 48 of its data centers and is looking to raise $2.5 billion from the sale, Reuters reported last month.
Verizon, which already had a VMware-compatible cloud from its 2011 Terremark acquisition, unveiled a revamped service in 2013 that's built on CloudStack and Xen.
Verizon initially billed the service -- called Verizon Cloud -- as a challenger to public cloud incumbents like AWS and Azure. But when it launched Verizon Cloud in October 2014, Verizon shifted its message to providing private cloud services for enterprises.
While Google runs some of the largest-scale services in the world, it has been slow to make the transition to becoming a service provider itself. Greene told Re/code last week that she's working to change that.
"The wonderful thing is that Google, for 18 years, since it’s been founded, has been in the cloud. It's focused on its extremely large customers -- search, ads, YouTube," she said. "Much of what we're working on is moving these over for the public," Greene told Re/code last week.