What Software as a Service (SaaS) vendor Vovici does for its customers' survey software needs, it wanted managed hosting provider Savvis to do for its data center -- provide it as a service -- DCaaS, as it were.
With more than half of the Fortune 500 as customers, the Dulles, Va.-based Vovici was looking to expand its IT presence overseas to London and Singapore and to consolidate its U.S. presence. But rather than build IT facilities itself all over the world, it signed a three-year multimillion-dollar agreement with Savvis to provide data center as a service.
Vovici had hosted some applications in different locations before -- CEO Dean Wiltse didn't say which one -- but settled on Savvis.
In particular, Wiltse said it chose Savvis based on its compliance with the Statement on Auditing Standards, a standard overseen by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants that defines professional standards used during an audit of a service organization such as data center hosting providers. Many of the major data center hosters provide SAS 70 compliance, but Vovici's previous provider did not.
"It's the secure environment," Wiltse said. "We have a lot of federal government customers that have a strong concern about where their data is residing. We feel that Savvis does an outstanding job in those areas."
Data center hosting on the rise
It's no secret that data center hosting facilities are on the rise. A survey of data center managers last year funded by hosting company Digital Realty Trust found that of those to expand their data center space, more than half to use some kind of partner to get it off the ground. Many of those partners will be hosting companies like Savvis.
For its part, Vovici runs about 18 servers, which includes about six x86 HP ProLiant rack servers and about a dozen Egenera blades, at Savvis' Washington, D.C., location. Bryan Doerr, the CTO at Savvis, said a couple of the HP servers also run VMware virtualization software for better utilization. All of the hosting is done under the umbrella of managed services, which means that Savvis provides the server hardware and the data center infrastructure and all Vovici has to do is provide the applications.
Though Doerr wouldn't say how much managed hosting services cost, it is significantly more than the cost of colocation, where the customer also provides the hardware. Savvis' managed hosting business, called Intelligent HostingSM, can include services such as high-speed backup, systems management and data recovery.
Whichever services a customer uses, Doerr said that customers now seem to deemphasize the value of having a physical data center in-house.
"There's a recognition in the enterprise that the value in IT doesn't lie in infrastructure components," he said. "It lies in the application itself. The thought is that the data center and all that server gear and storage gear and network gear is all just overhead. What's really important is the intellectual property sitting on the applications."