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Savvis Stakes Virtualization Claim
IP service provider Savvis hit a roadblock when it first looked into offering utility computing services a couple years back: Traditional IT gear wouldn't work and it didn't look like the major vendors were planning to change that anytime soon.
Savvis wanted to offer customers everything they needed to run outsourced applications -- except the applications themselves. Service would include storage capacity, load balancing, and secure access.
But building a utility computing infrastructure to offer this would require a monumental and unmanageable amount of gear. What Savvis really wanted was to separate the logical from physical elements in servers and storage to achieve efficiency, speed, and ease of management and configuration. In short -- virtualization.
An informal search (no RFP) was discouraging at first. "We looked at conventional hardware vendors and I traveled to a couple of sites myself to see what they had," says Bryan Doerr, CTO of Savvis. "What we found was that nothing in their current product set had the kind virtualization in practice we were looking for... And I haven't seen a lot of change in that since then."
But Doerr and his team didn't come up empty-handed. By March 2004, they cobbled together utility computing infrastructure that included:
- InServ storage arrays from 3PAR;
- BladeFrame blade servers from Egenera;
- Service Edge Router (SER) 5500s from Nortel Networks, which provides remote access, routing, and firewall security in one box;
- The Virtual Service Switch and remaining intellectual property of Inkra Networks, purchased when that startup liquidated in August 2005. (See Savvis Sells Virtual Switch Savvy.)
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