Cash Infusion to Fund Savvis Services

RESTON, VA. (04/13/2000) - Savvis Communications has outlined big service and network plans since raising more than $400 million with an initial public offering two months ago.

The ISP is not only planning an extranet service that will support multiple, guaranteed classes of service, but also a network expansion.

Savvis is expected to announce its Private IP Xchange service that will let business customers set up an extranet over Savvis' worldwide backbone with guaranteed service levels. Savvis' Private IP Xchange will allow customers to control the class of service that specific applications require, says Brad Hokamp, the company's executive vice president of product management and marketing.

The Private IP Xchange offering stems from Savvis' Financial Xchange service that it offers to Bridge Information Systems customers. Bridge, which offers financial information services to banks and securities companies, is a 49 percent owner of Savvis. But Financial Xchange only offers customers two classes of service today.

"Savvis isn't only talking about business class VPN services, they are talking about targeting vertical business groups," says Joanna Makris, senior analyst with The Yankee Group, a Boston consulting firm.

The class of service options Savvis plans to offer Private IP Xchange customers will include level one for real-time data exchange, level two for voice and video, level three for corporate data traffic and level four for standard Internet access traffic. Savvis is running an IP over ATM Internet backbone, which makes it possible to put applications into various service classes, Hokamp says. ATM's classes of service include unspecified bit rate, constant bit rate, variable bit rate and available bit rate, which mirror the Savvis service-level descriptions.

Savvis is calling this a private IP service, but Xchange customer traffic will run over the same network as Savvis' standard Internet access customers. It's private in the sense that Savvis will not offer class of service guarantees for traffic that leaves its network.

Savvis is expected to introduce Xchange in the next few months.

The ISP is bundling the software with Lucent Technologies PacketStar access concentrators, which Savvis is sending to all its dedicated customers. Savvis announced the deal with Lucent last month and plans to roll out at least 10,000 Lucent devices, which also support voice over IP. Savvis' Hokamp says his company plans to offer voice over IP services only for Xchange customers, and only for voice calls that begin and end on Savvis' network. "We're looking into supporting off-net calls, but that support would be further out," he says.

In addition to expanding its services, Savvis is beefing up its network. The ISP is adding at least 10 private network access points (NAPs) to its network by the end of this year and is building eight Web hosting data centers. Savvis has been building private NAPs, which are essentially peering sites operated by Savvis, in order to avoid peering at the public metropolitan area exchanges (MAE) and NAPs.

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