Does Verizon Have Its Head in the Clouds?

As we all know, Verizon recently acquired the right to offer iPhones on its network, a status symbol that mobile providers the world over have been vying for as they wait for the initial exclusivity agreements to expire. As the first provider given permission by the world’s fifth largest mobile phone manufacturer to challenge AT&T in the United States, it is probably a little bit smug right now as it waits for its February 10th launch date. But is that any reason to leave its head in the clouds?

Needless to say I was a little shocked to hear that Verizon is paying $1.4 Billion for Terremark Worldwide, a provider of cloud computing services. While it’s true that Terremark runs 13 global data centres, and data centres are valuable, 13 data centres are not $1.4 Billion valuable. Trust me. I can build you ten modular and scalable Green Data Centers for 1/10th of that with a lot more computing power than you might think you’d get for that price by going with high-density low-power 64-core servers from IBM or SUN which, by the way, cost less than 100K each, even maxed out on memory. You can easily fit 8 of those on a 20u rack. That’s the equivalent of 256 dual core servers on a single rack. Fill 8 racks with servers and 4 racks with SANs (Storage Area Networks) and you have a data centre — that fits in a small room — with the equivalent of 2,000 machines of processing power, that only costs you about 10 Million. I know Terremark also offers services and has a market cap of about 945M, but a 35% premium for something you can build yourself in a few months? I just don’t get it!