Optical/IP Networks

Carriers Face Cloud Resistance

Communications service providers offering cloud services may face greater resistance than expected from potential enterprise customers, according to one large IT services company that's already active in the cloud services sector.

Savvis (Nasdaq: SVVS), now a part of CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), has been selling managed IT services to enterprises for years, but has found those same companies are looking elsewhere for cloud-based computing resources. (See CenturyLink Clouds Up With Savvis Buy.)

"Cloud has been defined today by the mass-market providers, the Amazons and Rackspaces," says Reed Smith, director of cloud services for Savvis. "We actually have customers who will pay us for production environments in security, performance and support, but as soon as cloud is brought up, their mind frame shifts. They just want it fast; they want it cheap; and they don't care about support."

He cites one large customer of a commodity cloud player that is buying multiple virtual clouds from that player to build its own redundant virtualized computing platform. Savvis is trying to convince them that it can match the price of the multiple commodity cloud with a cloud offering of its own that has redundancy built in.

"I'm fighting an uphill battle, because all they know is commodity clouds," Smith says.

This is an argument others have made, and they've encouraged service providers to be prepared to compete on the mass-market front. (See Cloudscaling's Bias: Telcos Show Cloudy Thinking and Mgmt World: KT Puts Commodity Spin on Cloud.)

But Savvis is clearly fighting the battle in a different way. The company announced this week a new higher tier of cloud offering for its Symphony VPDC, or Virtual Private Data Center, service. Joining the Essential and Balanced tiers is the new Premier cloud service. (See Savvis Offers Premier Clouds.)

Essential competes with commodity cloud offerings, Smith says, but with higher performance capabilities, while Balanced adds more security and performance.

"Premier brings VPDC up to the Savvis standard for capabilities and support," he says. "This is designed for production environments up to mission-critical environments."

To enable mission-critical work, Savvis Premier doesn't oversubscribe virtual cores, guaranteeing 100 percent infrastructure availability and four-nines end-to-end availability. The service offers private VLANs and stateful firewall separation from all other applications.

Savvis will continue to differentiate on its other two services, offering a better SLA -- you can check it out here -- than commodity clouds, according to Smith. The company also expects to extend the reach of its integrated cloud-transport offerings through the acquisition by CenturyLink.

Having robust managed IT offers will also be a competitive advantage as cloud services become part of the broader approach to IT, and hybrid offers that combine on-site applications with cloud-based apps or resources find favor, Smith says.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

cathymartin 12/5/2012 | 5:34:16 PM
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