VMware option arrives for Peer 1


Vancouver-based hosting firm Peer 1 Managed Network Enterprises Inc. is giving its customers the option of hosting their private clouds on VMware Inc. technology.

The company on Tuesday announced its participation in the VMware Server Provider Program, which is a pre-requisite for any hosting firm that wants to offer VMware solutions to customers.  The option to use VMware projects has ranked high on many customer wishlists, Peer 1 said.

Tim Varma, vice-president of product development at Peer 1, said that with VMware solidified as a staple in many organizations, it’s crucial to be able to offer these services to companies considering the outsourcing route. Nominate someone you work with for a ComputerWorld Canada IT Leadership Award

“Whether they want to have a disaster recovery site running on VMware or they want to mirror what they have in production internally out and onto a hosting provider, we have to offer that,” he said. 

As a result of joining the program, the company said, customers will benefit from higher utilization of hardware by running workloads on fewer servers, reduced downtime, better disaster recovery options, as well as more development, testing and staging options.

In addition to VMware shops, Varma said application developers who want to run their apps and have a different infrastructure for development, testing and staging will also be interested in the service.

Another selling point, according to Peer 1, is that customers will have the option of managing and monitoring their hosted private cloud using VMware’s vSphere platform, as opposed to the select APIs usually offered by hosting providers. “We’re going to give customers visibility into their solution that generally isn’t available in the hosting market,” Varma said.

Peer 1 also said customers will be offered three VMware vSphere licence options, which include Standard, Advanced and Enterprise Plus.

Last month, Peer 1 brought its SMB-focused ServerBeach service to its newly opened Toronto hosting facility. The brand is geared toward tech-savvy SMBs and startups that are comfortable acting as the primary systems administrator for their servers.

In addition to its partnership with VMware, Peer 1 recently joined forces with Microsoft Corp. to launch Microsoft Exchange as a hosted service.

According to Russ Conwath, former research analyst with London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group Ltd., it’s important for infrastructure providers like Peer 1 to offer more than just hosting or co-location services. Capturing the entire market entails providing additional Web services like e-mail and SharePoint.

“By adding in the Microsoft component, that’s a very important thing to look at,” said Conwath.

These announcements along with its participation in the VMware program will be important for Peer 1 as it competes in the hotly contested Canadian hosting market.

U.S.-based Savvis Inc. entered the market earlier this summer with its $121-million acquisition of Toronto-based managed services and co-location firm Fusepoint Inc., while another major Toronto hosting provider, Q9 Networks Inc., recently kicked off a $125-million hosting facility project in the Greater Toronto Area.

Peer 1 added that its VMware private cloud service is hosted on the company’s 10Gb SuperNetwork and will be serviced by in-house VMware Certified Professionals and 24/7 call centre support.

– With files from Kathleen Lau

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