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5/28/2013
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Savvis Expands Worldwide Data Center Footprint

CenturyLink unit adds space in 9 locations, plans to focus on recovery services.

Savvis, the cloud unit of CenturyLink, is expanding its global data center footprint into nine locations in which it was previously underrepresented. Five of the additions are already in place, and four will be completed by November.

Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Rackspace and Google all operate and serve customers from multiple cloud data centers. Savvis and Terremark are among the most ambitious on that front. Terremark has 50 data centers offering cloud services around the world; Savvis now claims 55.

The new additions that were completed in April are located in Boston, Atlanta, Singapore and London; in May the company also completed a facility in Washington, D.C. Still to come are additions in Dallas, scheduled to be done in July; Piscataway, N.J., to be completed in August; Tampa, Fla., to be completed in October; and Hong Kong, to be completed in November.

[ Want to learn more about how telcos and Amazon Web Services are likely to collide? See Amazon, Telcos Will Battle For Cloud Customers. ]

The additions represent Savvis equipment set up in co-location and wholesale data center space as opposed to major new data centers. Drew Leonard, Savvis VP of colocation product management, said the new Washington, D.C., site was inside a Digital Realty Trust facility. DRT is a major builder of wholesale data center space, doing business as a real estate investment trust. An REIT has lower tax rates than firms organized as more conventional builders.

The additional facilities give Savvis greater reach as a provider of managed services and cloud services. Each of the new facilities is a communications hub with links to Savvis' three cloud data centers, located in Northern Virginia, Santa Clara, Calif., and Singapore. Cloud customers may link directly to one of these three facilities or choose a Savvis data center close to their own location to invoke a more secure, private network link, Leonard said.

The added facilities add 85,000 square feet of space to Savvis' global presence, boosting it to 2.4 million square feet of data center space.

Leonard said the new facilities will help add customers in one of its fastest-growing customer services: recovery services. Recovery service used to consist of a passive set of servers that could be activated if the primary systems failed. Today, Leonard said, recovery often means active/active, with the recovery system sharing part of the production workload.

With its communications links, a Savvis customer can set up recovery services in a different data center or different geographic region. Leonard noted that many customers used to use backup and recovery facilities that were not too distant from their headquarters on the East Coast. After Hurricane Sandy, Savvis has a leading alternative site for backup in Chicago.

Leonard said Savvis takes pride in the fact that none of its data centers went down during Hurricane Sandy, even though five were located in New Jersey, close to the center of the storm. The company had its own disaster recovery plans in place when the hurricane struck and needed to leverage some of its emergency fuel delivery contracts to keep all five running. When diesel fuel supplies ran low in New Jersey, untapped deliveries further south in Virginia found their way to Savvis data centers.

In the aftermath of the hurricane, some New Jersey and New York data centers found authorities closing delivery bridges and tunnels, or countermanding their disaster recovery plans by ordering fuel to hospitals and nursing homes. Savvis kept running by improvising deliveries under contract but outside the northern N.J. region, Leonard said.

Savvis is an example of how cloud services are now often co-resident with more traditional managed services or co-location services in the same data center.

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