Now the St. Louis company is looking to make it easier for businesses to sign on.
Savvis this year will begin developing reference architectures for the application environments most greatly in demand, said Chairman and CEO Rob McCormick. The reference architectures will enable customers to more quickly determine the computing environment they need for their workloads, such as an Oracle Corp. database. McCormick said he and other company officials are just beginning to look at what workloads to target.
"Weve virtualized the hardware," McCormick said. "Now we want to be creative with our pricing model and [the] specifications of our designs."
The reference architectures are important, he said, because Savvis tends to talk more with a customers software people, not its IT administrators. The key for businesses is not how much hardware they can access via Savvis, but how to run their applications.
Savvis is working with partners Egenera Inc., a Marlboro, Mass., server maker; storage company 3Pardata Inc., of Fremont, Calif.; and networking vendor Inkra Networks Inc., also of Fremont, to create 24 virtualized data centers around the world that customers can access via a VPN (virtual private network) on a pay-per-use basis.
McCormick said the data centers enable customers to run their workloads in a secure environment without having to worry about the cost of buying and maintaining their own hardware platforms.
APCO Worldwide Inc., a communications consultancy firm, moved a lot of its business onto Savvis hosted network when it relocated its headquarters last month to Washington. That includes the IT components of APCO Online, its Web services division.
According to Todd Wallace, APCOs director of IT, the company migrated 60 to 70 of its customers Web sites onto Savvis network, as well as its own Web site.
As APCO was planning to relocate its headquarters, it found that it would need to invest a lot of money and manpower if it were to build the state-of-the-art data center it would need to house all those Web sites internally, Wallace said.
"We didnt have the resources to invest in that type of infrastructure and didnt have the IT staff," he said
APCO chose Savvis because it offered everything from storage to networking to compute resources in its data centers, as well as everything from dynamic resource allocation, managed security services, disaster recovery, load balancing and access to Savvis IP network. APCO continues to run a lot of its back-end workloads in-house.
Through Savvis, APCO can scale its business as needed without having to invest any more money into hardware or IT staff, Wallace said.
The results have been immediate, he said. APCO has saved 20 percent to 60 percent of the staffs time, which can now be allocated to other chores rather than maintaining the data center infrastructure. The company also saved almost $60,000 it would have had to pay to build the infrastructure, as well as the recurring costs of keeping the resources updated, Wallace said.
"When you look at the big picture, $12,000 a year and no maintenance costs [with Savvis] vs. $40,000 every two to three years [in recurring costs for operating the data center in-house], it comes out cheaper and you get a lot more out of it," Wallace said.