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CenturyLink Acquires Savvis

You may recall back in April we announced that CenturyLink would be acquiring Savvis. Today, we are pleased to announce the acquisition is official and represents a strong strategic combination for our business customers.

Savvis is a well-respected name in the enterprise space and this move makes sense in a lot of ways. Because we have minimal customer overlap, this marriage has many benefits for businesses including:

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Looking Ahead: Cloud

If you are a regular ThinkGig reader, you know we love to talk cloud. Since there is so much discussion around the players in the cloud market and how service providers like us will fit in, we thought it might be interesting to share where we see ourselves headed.

Andrew Higginbotham is the chief architect of our plans for cloud services. He recently sat down with Lisa Pierce of Strategic Networks Group for an interview that appeared in No Jitter.

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How to Select a Colocation Provider: Comparing Wholesale, Carrier-Owned and Managed Service Options

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a data center and colocation?

While a data center is a physical building with the power infrastructure, cooling resources, security measures, colocation is a service based on the standards, policies, procedures, people and data center infrastructure. The quality of each of these components drives the overall end-user experience, as does the type of provider you choose.

Colocation is defined by three components: space, power and cooling. Space, measured by square foot or meter, is delivered in either cages or racks. Power is critical, because without it, there is no colocation offering. It is a robust combination of utility, generators, uninterruptible power supply and distribution at the circuit level to customer equipment. Cooling helps drive efficiencies and deliver greater data center densities, which translates into potential savings to the end-users. Combined, these three elements are a very sellable commodity.

In colocation, core competencies such as security, facility management and carrier access should be table stakes. These required items can make or break the experience. Clients benefit from these offerings and can focus their efforts and resources on managing and growing their business.

The client’s core business is at the pinnacle of its priority list and all aspects of the colocation experience must adequately support that. A colocation provider should deliver the stable foundation on which the client can execute on its IT strategy or e-commerce platform.

But how do you select a colocation provider? Which one should you choose? Let’s look at the three primary types of colocation providers:

Real estate investment trust (REIT) or wholesale colocation providers These providers want only to build data centers to their or your design, then lease you the whole site, floor or large powered suite. They deliver a building with the cooling and power distribution to the floor, but the client must distribute and manage delivery to the racks, as well as manage the entire space. This type of colocation is sold at commodity prices because you, the client, do everything! The client in this case bears a good amount of the time and costs to operate the data center.

Carrier-owned providers – Here, colocation can be viewed as the loss leader that the carrier uses to also sell its core service (network access). These providers offer a greater array of services that are directly enjoyed by the client, but limited carrier diversity can hamper choice and network growth.

Retailers/managed service providers – These providers, such as Savvis, have refined the commodity, distribute and manage the power and cooling to the racks, provide the racks and cages, and offer cabling, remote hands and support services. Levels of competency, ability and delivery of the end-user experience are the differentiators. As a refined product, this type of colocation carries higher prices than the wholesale proposition, so it’s important to carefully examine how the providers differentiate themselves and show value-add over and above the other players.

With a commodity, price is almost everything. With colocation, a greater importance is placed on value adds like capacity, connectivity, location and the human factor, all well before pricing. In fact, as Tim Anker from Colocation Exchange notes, pricing is fifth on the list of key decision factors.

In the end, your level of expectation and need for levels of service should dictate your decision on which type of provider you choose – not the price. 

A wholesale colocation provider likely will not offer power and capacity planning to accommodate for future needs. Security – not just a video of the halls and access ways, but complete security to the cage or rack level, etc. – also will be lacking. You will want to ask about network connectivity and proximity, onsite 24/7 support and flexible contract terms (typically one to three years with a managed service provider compared to about five to 15 years with a REIT).

Using a wholesaler may come with hidden costs as well. These may include:

  • Client costs for data center design, capacity, power, security and space management
  • Third party resources or internal staff who are required to travel to provide routine maintenance or upgrades
  • Network connectivity to multiple carriers – local loops as opposed to cross connects from within the suite
  • Staffing and training
  • Managed hosting and cloud services

I hope you now have a clearer understanding of the differences between full-service and other colocation providers, and know what to look for when selecting a colocation provider.

Colocation is a service. That service is based on the standards, policies, procedures, people and the data center infrastructure. The quality of each of these components drives the overall end-user experience.

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Five Tips for Moving to IPv6

Here at ThinkGig, we’ve been covering IPv6 and why businesses should be thinking about it. In addition to traditional businesses, this is a critical issue for state and local governments and public education, because the fear is that some people will have trouble signing onto public websites and getting access to critical information.

So what should you do to make sure that you are prepared? Here are five tips we think are a good place to start:

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World IPv6 Day

As you may know, today is World IPv6 Day and we are excited to participate in this “test flight” to promote the transition to IPv6.

If you are not familiar, World IPv6 Day is organized by The Internet Society (ISOC). It is a 24-hour trial to motivate Internet service providers, network operators, operating system vendors and web companies to prepare their services for IPv6 and ensure a successful transition as the world’s supply of IPv4 address space runs out.

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IPv6 Mania: Why You Should Care

It seems like IPv6 is all the buzz lately but like many “hot” IT topics, you may be wondering: Do I need to pay attention now or is something to be aware of for down the road?

From our perspective, the time to pay attention to IPv6 is now. Here’s why:

IPv6 is the next-generation Internet Protocol address standard that’s been standing in the wings ready to replace the IPv4 protocol most Internet services use today. The primary difference between the protocols is that IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses compared to the 32-bit addresses used with IPv4. That means IPv6 can support approximately 340 undecillion addresses as compared to 4.3 billion for IPv4.

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Interop by the Numbers

Sometimes, it’s impossible to resist the allure of a good set of statistics. ThinkGig invites you to hold on to your hats and take a look at the numbers that describe the power of the gargantuan portable network Qwest built for INTEROP 2011. And while the smart folks on the Qwest InteropNet team would be the first to admit that their network leans a little towards overkill, they just can’t help themselves – they do it because they can. And isn’t that what Interop has always been about?

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Great Expectations: Interop 2011

May is here, and to many of us in the networking world, that means one thing: It’s Interop time.

As the anticipation grows, we thought it would be a good idea to consider what’s going to be hot this year, aside from the Nevada desert. From where we sit, two themes we anticipate to be hot this year at Interop are: IPv6 and cloud computing.

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