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Virgin Gives Birth to Cloud Strategy

Ray Le Maistre
9/28/2011

3:15 PM -- Virgin Media Business Ltd. , the enterprise services arm of British cable operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), joined the U.K. cloud services market Wednesday by announcing its first cloud service, the Virtual Private Data Centre (VPDC). (See Virgin Makes Cloud Foray.)

And true to its word, the service provider has forged a partnership with an existing IT player to launch that service.

In April 2010 Virgin Media Business (VMB) Managing Director Mark Heraghty said he wasn't intending to invest a lot of time and money in building the company's own cloud services infrastructure and would instead look for appropriate IT partners to create an offer. (See Virgin Business Looks to the Clouds.)

That partner is Savvis (now part of CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL)), which explained its cloud services proposition to Light Reading Europe last year. (See Cloudy Days at Savvis.)

Virgin Media Business says it is linking Savvis's VPDC infrastructure to its core network and, in an emailed response to questions, told Light Reading that it chose Savvis as its partner because it "offered the best performing and most intuitive user interface. You can't simplify the cloud if you offer customers a complicated and clunky user experience."

The VMB team also notes that Savvis's proposition is supported by technology from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) and VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW).

Any customers for the VPDC service, though, will not "see" Savvis. "We have customized the Savvis interface to ensure the service we're selling offers the Virgin experience to our cloud customers," notes the VMB team.

Now Heraghty and his team face the challenge of differentiating the service from the virtual private data center services already available to U.K. users, including offerings from smaller specialists such as Netcetera and traditional rival BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA). (See BT Adds to Cloud Offering.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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