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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Steve Garrou, VP of Global Solutions Management, Savvis (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jan 16th 2012

Since making its initial public offering in February 2000, Savvis has experienced significant growth, not only organically but also through acquisition. When the company decided to expand its operations in 2005 from network services to global IT services, a name change went along with it, and Savvis Communications became Savvis, Inc. In 2007 and 2008, the company opened offices in Singapore and London, respectively. In 2011, Savvis, Inc. and CenturyLink merged to create one of the leading global managed hosting and colocation providers.

SramanaMitra: Hi, Steve. Let’s set a bit of context both about your personal background and about Savvis.

Steve Garrou: Sure. Sounds good. I am the vice-president of global solutions management at Savvis. I joined the company just over three years ago. My background is primarily in solution development, solution management, outsourcing services, IT outsourcing, as well as business process outsourcing, and most recently, cloud computing and other types of cloud services. My lens for the conversation is really around a business perspective. I spend a lot of my time with clients in the field and with analysts and other industry folks working through specific areas of clients’ business needs and helping them adapt technology or guiding them towards adapting technology to meet those needs.

Savvis is very much a global company, and I work with clients around the globe. We see a lot of similarities with those clients, but also some geographic differences. As far as Savvis goes, we, up until about six months ago, were an independent public company with about $1 billion in revenue. We were acquired by Century Link and Century Link is, I believe, the third largest telco in the United States, and we operate as a subsidiary. So, we are referred to as Savvis, a Century Link company.

SM: Okay. Now, would you talk about the core business of Savvis that constitutes the $1 billion revenue.

SG: There are three main lines of business for Savvis as a company. First and foremost is our hosting and cloud computing line of business. Very fast growing, it’s done tremendously well over the years. We had our start around managing large and complex financial services networks and data centers and data center services and have grown into large Web hosting environments and applications and also into cloud.

The second major area is colocation. Savvis owns and operates just over 50 data centers globally. Those are data centers from which we provide colocation, which is just space within the data center as well as the managed services around cloud hosting that I referred to earlier.

Finally, we have a global MPLS network. Through our network services, we are able to connect not only those 50 data centers but also points of presence around the globe to make sure that we provide connectivity and network services to our clients who are looking to take advantage of our hosting services.

SM: Where is the bulk of the business? Is it a U.S. business largely?

SG: Yes. I’d say we’re 75% US, 25% the rest of the world, with the bulk of that being in Europe, but we have strong growth in Asia. Our Asia line of business is growing very rapidly.

SM: Okay. So, you’ve been in the cloud business for how long? By you, I mean you personally.

SG: I’ve been in the data center business for probably six years or so, which was the beginning of virtualization and VMware. One of the service offerings I looked after when I was with Unisys was an early adopter of VMware as well as some of the other virtualization technology that the company was building. So, I’ve been involved with that maybe five or six years.

SM: What’s the difference between cloud computing and the data center business?

SG: I think cloud computing is really paradigm around a consumption model and commercial structure. There are aspects of cloud computing that are very much the same as data center and data center management, obviously. You need to worry about looking after capacity. You need to worry about security. You need to worry about connectivity. You have those same considerations with cloud, but the biggest shift that we’ve noticed is in the consumption model and the underlying commercial structure. So, the pricing, the contracting, those types of things are associated with cloud computing.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Steve Garrou, VP of Global Solutions Management, Savvis
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