Savvis Sells Virtual Switch Savvy

Service provider uses Inkra's platform to offer managed firewalls and other services

September 15, 2005

3 Min Read
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Savvis Communications Corp. (Nasdaq: SVVS) wants to set the record straight about the remains of Inkra Networks. That startup is deceased, but its heart is still pumping away.

Inkra closed its doors earlier this year after raising more than $67 million since its inception in 2000. The company made and sold a product that embodied the concept of virtualization (see Inkra Goes Virtual).

Inkra's Virtual Service Switch allowed data center managers to deploy multiple instances of a variety of security and management services -- all from the same appliance. They were one of the earliest companies that put an end to the "need a feature, buy a box" way of managing IT services. While most data center managers will admit that virtualization is a trend that's catching on, Inkra, for whatever reason, couldn't make a business out of selling its devices, despite some decent customer wins (see IBM Enlists Business Partners).

Savvis, the company that started as a business unit of Bridge Information Systems, a financial market data company, has come forward since then to say that it bought the hardware and software rights to Inkra's most recent Virtual Service Switch. Light Reading previously reported that and were the only vultures feasting on the roadkill.

A Savvis spokesman says the company has also hired several Inkra developers to maintain the software and to help the company use the platform to further its vision of "utility computing."Utility computing is a fancy pants way of providing hosted or on-demand services and applications. And Savvis is making a good business by saving customers millions on servers, appliances, and other redundant IT gear.

Here's how: Using Inkra's switch, Savvis can offer several hundred customers hosted load balancing, firewall, and Secure Sockets Layer services without buying separate appliances for each customer. It can do the same with storage services using gear from 3PARdata Inc. And it can offer hosted blade servers using gear from Egenera Inc. (See Egenera Cuts Big Blade Deal).

With those three platforms and a software management suite that controls it all, Savvis competes with other systems integrators like IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS) (NYSE: EDS) in that it can provide everything plus the pipe to companies that offer hosted email and financial services, and to those firms that sell software as a service -- like antivirus software vendors and CRM wonks.

In addition to its Inkra-born services, Savvis also provides extensive tech outsourcing services in the media market. Reuters comprised about 16 percent of its revenues for the six months ended June 30. And its IP VPN business competes with all the large phone companies chasing corporate clients with similar services.

Savvis won't say what it paid for Inkra's assets. The company's stock closed down $0.02 (2.27%) to $0.90 in trading on Wednesday. Savvis shares have traded as low as $0.38 and as high as $1.46 in the past 52 weeks.Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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