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August 5, 2011updated 19 Aug 2016 9:28am

Savvis: don’t think private cloud is easy pickings

If it was, everyone would have cracked it already

By Jason Stamper Blog

neil cresswell savvis

Neil Cresswell, Savvis MD EMEA

The managing director of Savvis EMEA, Neil Cresswell, reckons companies trying to build their own private clouds of shared services may find it tougher than they expect.

Savvis is the co-location and cloud hosting firm bought by US telco CenturyLink for $3.2bn in April. And while it offers companies various types of cloud computing with varying service level agreements, Cresswell believes that it’s far harder to build cloud type environments in an organisation’s own infrastructure than people think: "Anyone can buy a load of hardware but it’s adding the required orchestration, security, and management that is by no means easy," he said. "Even some large vendors have struggled to get this right, and for them it’s their core business."

‘Private cloud’ is a somewhat woolly term even today. Some consider hosting by a third party to be a private cloud if the infrastructure on which the workload runs is only used by one customer, with a logical and usually also physical separation between that and the next customer’s workload.

Others have used private cloud to describe a company’s own move towards shared services in its own infrastructure, perhaps using a blend of virtualisation, charge-back, automated management and orchestration to try and get some of the benefits of public cloud approaches – but inside their own four walls.

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Of course, as well as the complexity that Cresswell discussed, another potential drawback of that definition of private cloud is that it doesn’t actually give you any of the elasticity that cloud computing is meant to – with a third party provider you can scale up your workload but crucially, also scale it down when demands falls. If you are doing this in-house, you can’t abandon your investment in storage and server hardware in order to scale down as demand falls.

Cresswell said that CenturyLink is not planning any aggressive integration of Savvis into its own business, and that while there have already been discussions about what synergies can be reaped, the Savvis brand will be retained for the forseeable future. The companies are expected to share their expertise in telecoms and cloud computing, for example CenturyLink may take over some of the telecoms and networking capability Savvis works with third parties on today, to link its many data centres of cloud hubs to its customers.

That would see CenturyLink expanding its telecoms business considerably into European markets, something it has stated publicly it is keen to do, according to Cresswell. "Likewise, there is a lot Savvis can learn from CenturyLink’s network expertise, scale, and also that we can leverage from their purchasing power, with its pro forma revenue of close to $20bn."

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