40 hours later, Verizon says its cloud is back …

After taking a ton of heat for what ended up being a 40-hour maintenance shutdown over the past two days, Verizon said the work it did will prevent these sorts of stoppages in the future.

This maintenance work, added what Verizon called “seamless upgrade functionality” that will enable similar major upgrades to happen without service interruption, according to a press release posted Sunday afternoon.

Going forward, Verizon said, “virtually all maintenance and upgrades to Verizon Cloud will now happen in the background with no impact to customers.” There wasn’t a ton of information about how this will work, but there you have it.

Last weekend, when Verizon advised customers a week in advance of  what it said could be a 48-hour shutdown for planned maintenance, all sorts of things hit the fan. The prevailing opinion was that cloud computing vendors should be able to handle upgrades and maintenance with a lot less downtime than that.

Verizon is trying to make a name for itself in enterprise-class cloud infrastructure.  In that market it must contend not only with other telco-rooted companies– [company]CenturyLink[/company], [company]AT&T[/company] et al — which are trying to pitch the same customers but with public cloud giant [company]Amazon[/company] Web Services, which has proved serious about winning corporate workloads.

As if that’s not enough, legacy IT powers like [company]Microsoft[/company] and [company]IBM[/company], which are already in virtually every enterprise account are pitching their own respective clouds aggressively.

In a cloud melee like that, Verizon, which launched this new Verizon Cloud last fall, had better make good on no-more-upgrade-shutdowns because people will be watching.

Verizon Cloud shut down passes 30-hour mark

As of about 6 a.m. EST Sunday morning, Verizon’s Cloud was on hour 30 of what could be a 48-hour planned shutdown to rollout a major service upgrade. The provider had hoped — and its PR team had expressed — that most similar closures last 24 hours or less.

One customer Kenneth White, a security architect who designs systems for non-profit and federal clients, followed through on plans to live tweet the outage.

[company]Verizon[/company] has said that the major upgrade being implemented now will make future upgrades less painful to customers. Updates on the work should post on this Verizon customer forum.

While maintenance and service upgrades are to be expected, and users appreciate getting advanced warning on such events, the prevailing sentiment is that a full day — let alone two days — of no service is beyond the pale.

There are several ways cloud providers can offer high-availability service including hot patching and live migration. It was unclear if these technologies are part of Verizon’s plan going forward.

Data center construction fire

In other cloud news last week, there was a fire Friday morning at the construction site of a new [company]Amazon[/company] Web Services data center under construction in Reston, Virginia. According to CNNMoney and other reports, Loudoun County firefighters were sent in at 10:12 a.m. and had the fire, reportedly started by welding equipment on the roof, under control in about an hour.

Mirantis makes its OpenStack plug-in friendly

OpenStack upstart [company]Mirantis[/company] last week rolled out its OpenStack based on the new Juno OpenStack release. Mirantis has also worked with Tesoro to certify its Trove database-as-a-service in Mirantis OpenStack 6.0. ONe of the key goals is to make it easy for third parties to develop plug-ins that will integrate easily with this release.

In October, Mirantis scored $100 million in Series B funding from Insight Venture Partners with August Capital, [company]Intel[/company], WestSummit Capital [company]Ericsson[/company] and [company]SAP[/company], bringing total funding to about $120 million.

Structure Show!

Steve Herrod, who helped [company]VMware[/company] become, well, VMware, is now at General Catalyst Partners where he’s looking for startups in proactive security technology, and other areas that will be key in next-gen enterprise infrastructure.

Given the current availability of capable open source software and cheap (near-free) cloud infrastructure, there’s never been a better time to be a startup, Herrod notes. But listen to the whole show. He knows whereof he speaks.

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Hosts: Barb Darrow and Derrick Harris.

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Structure 2012: Steve Herrod - CTO and SVP of R&D, VMware

Structure 2012: Steve Herrod – CTO and SVP of R&D, VMware