Savvis unveils cloud-based service

Savvis will announce today a next-generation cloud computing platform that it claims is the first fully virtualized private data center offering aimed at enterprise customers.

The service, due out next year, will allow companies to buy the full range of data center services — compute power, storage, security and networking — on demand and as a service through a Web interface.

Savvis’ Virtual Private Data Center (VPDC) platform includes multiple quality of service levels as well as built-in security including firewalls, intrusion detection and intrusion prevention.

Savvis has built its VPDC platform using Cisco Nexus 5000 and 7000 switches and VMware vSphere software. “Our customers have not had the level of control or the variety of services or the platform capabilities that this new service is making available as a service,” says Bryan Doerr, CTO of Savvis.

Doerr says Savvis’ VPDC platform is different than other cloud computing offerings because it is based on leading-edge Cisco and VMware platforms. Another special feature is that customers can configure their own virtual private data centers and pay for them by the hour.

Doerr said the beta customers for the service are companies that manage many Web sites tied to specific products and marketing campaigns.

“These microsites can have significant needs or small needs,” Doerr says. “There’s a lot of variability in the environment, and the companies need to consolidate and get a lot of the cost out of these. Cloud deployment is a natural, but not just for compute. They need full-blown cloud services.”

Doerr says Savvis’ VPDC platform will be less expensive than alternative methods of hosting microsites and will provide a common platform so new microsites can be deployed quickly.

Melanie Posey, research director for hosting and telecom services at IDC, says the Savvis VPDC platform is a better fit for enterprise customers than mass-market cloud computing alternatives from rivals such as Amazon.

“This is kind of a bridge between the traditional managed hosting approach that moves incrementally towards a more flexible type of cloud service delivery model,” Posey says. “And it’s all being provided in a very familiar fashion for enterprise customers.”

Posey says Savvis is at the forefront of the push towards virtualization and utility computing by Web hosting firms.

“Savvis has a longer-term vision…for having a truly virtual private data center,” Posey says. “They are expanding this whole notion of elasticity to networking, security and all the other stuff you need to go along with that that makes for a complete data center.”

The trick for Savvis is to figure out a way to keep its customers and their multi-year contracts in the face of competitors such as Amazon that sell services for pennies per hour.

“The virtual data center is Savvis’ paradigm for how to take the whole idea of cloud and include it in what they already have within the customer relationships that they’ve always had,” she says.

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