Savvis chooses Cisco for network upgrade

Nortel and Juniper hardware replaced

Savvis is spending US$33 million to replace the two aging networks connecting its data centres with a single IP backbone featuring Cisco core and edge routers.

Nortel and Juniper previously supplied Savvis' routers.

Savvis is buying Cisco CRS-1 routers and Internetworking Operating System (IOS)XR software for the core of its network, as well as Cisco 12000 Series routers as its multiservice edge platform. Company officials said they selected Cisco because its Service Oriented Network Architecture aligns with Savvis' push beyond Web hosting to virtualization and utility computing.

"We like Cisco's new operating system -- IOS XR -- and the feature set it is bringing to bear for service providers," says Savvis CTO Bryan Doerr. "We like the capacity of their systems, and we like the relationship we have with them for current and next-generation platforms."

Savvis will move to the new Cisco network next year.

The service provider plans to introduce several services made possible by the new Cisco routers, including managed metropolitan Ethernet access, advanced QoS techniques and policy-based management. "Both the managed VPN product based on the new platform and the managed Ethernet services will be available in late third quarter or early fourth quarter next year," Doerr says.

Savvis also plans to increase its virtual services, which include virtual firewalls and network access control, to such things as a virtual intrusion-detection service. Savvis wouldn't say when the new virtual services will be available.

Doerr says Savvis customers can take advantage of the Cisco network to deploy applications globally without having to buy or operate their own IP networks. "We're providing one-stop shopping for an infrastructure ready to run your business applications, whether they are Web-hosting applications or other applications," he says.

The new, MPLS network will replace two networks that Savvis bought through acquisitions. One, originally built by Bridge Information Systems, is an ATM network based on Nortel equipment with which Savvis supports its managed and virtual services. The other is a Juniper-powered, MPLS-based network purchased from Cable and Wireless America that Savvis uses for transit services.

"With this equipment refresh, we're going to take our managed IP network . . . and fold that into the same IP core that supports transit services," Doerr says. "This project is about refreshment of equipment and additional capacity, but it's also about convergence of our managed and transit services into one core platform."

Savvis will migrate its core routers, edge routers and edge services to the Cisco network starting early in 2007. Transit customers will be transferred to the new backbone in 2007, and managed-services customers will be transferred in 2007 and 2008.

Savvis will upgrade the network connecting its 25 data centres, which are primarily in the United States but in Singapore, Tokyo and London as well. "Wherever we have a data centre, we want a fully managed network . . . with the ability to deliver VPN service, IP transit services and the application-deployment footprint," Doerr says.

The new network is capable of supporting IPv6 -- a long-anticipated upgrade to IPv4, the Internet's main communications protocol -- and Savvis plans to begin IPv6 testing next year. "We will be ready to release a product based on IPv6 in 2008," Doerr says.

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