Consolidating Claranet’s data centre estate

Service providers are continually reviewing their data centre estate so they can offer the best possible service to their customers. This may lead to the expansion, migration or closure of certain data centres.

With the acquisition of Star Technology in late 2012, Claranet more-or-less doubled the number of its data centres. While this certainly enhanced our ability to offer leading edge services the rethink meant it was also right to close down two of our older data centres.

Closing or moving a data centre or IT room is a significant undertaking. Making sure it is carried out effectively is vital as the impact of downtime for many customers can have a massive impact on their business and any of their customers who rely on them.

One of the two data centres we recently closed was a 180 rack suite that Claranet occupied for the last 15 years and which serviced a significant number of customers.

Due to the broad array of services we offered from this facility, relocating represented a significant challenge. Services taken varied from co-location to Ethernet connectivity, from internal cross-connects, to fully outsourced and managed IT solutions so tailored approaches were vital.

Hosted email: it's a buyer’s market

With hosted email steadily becoming the defacto way in which email is delivered to organisations, the market has become saturated with varying providers that offer sliding scales of technology, service and pricing.

Traditionally the hosted email market was the preserve of service providers who partnered with vendors to deliver their service. Increasingly, the growth in the market has seen vendors choose to enter the market directly. The likes of Google, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco and VMware all have direct market offerings.

Such strong vendor presence means that it has become a buyer’s market. Google and Microsoft are increasingly turning what was a cold war into a hot war competing aggressively for small and enterprise business. This has also meant that the traditional service provider market is trying to adapt its commercial model to ensure they are competitive with the market's big beasts.

However, there are number of things that mean that vendors don’t necessarily understand the requirements of the mass of businesses that sit in-between the very small and the very large. Put simply the mid-market is poorly served by vendors. Their inability to focus on migration and service means mid-market customers are left to figure out how they can shoehorn this vendor platform into their business.

Before considering a unified communications project ask yourself these 3 questions

I heard a statistic from a leading vendor last week that said 80% of all unified communications projects fail. As someone who tries to help organisations truly embrace the transformational opportunity that exists with UC I was shocked by this statistic.

The biggest problem I see for those 80% of UC projects is that it is seen as a technology initiative. It isn't. Technology is of course key, but a successful unified communications project must consider so much more than infrastructure, servers and software.

To ensure your project is truly transformational you must look outside the technology and at how this project will and should affect people, process and communication. I believe many projects fail before they start, but asking some very basic questions can avert this:

Number portability - UK businesses are being let down - OFCOM need to act

A sorry state of affairs

Number porting may not be the most exciting subject in world but it is clearly important to many businesses, and as a blog topic it is sexier than a piece about the intricacies of rating call usage. Let’s face it, the current state of affairs is a mess. Back in 1996 when the industry (and I mainly mean BT) was told that number portability was to be a right for all customers the UK telecoms industry blazed a trail. It took almost a decade for most of our EU neighbors to catch up. However, since these halcyon days a climate of inefficiency and disappointment has prevailed.

The average time to port in the UK takes 2 days, but what that figure doesn't take into account is the arduous processes put in place by the major telcos. The process from beginning to end can and does take weeks. Conversely, the average time to port in the USA, Canada, Israel and Australia is under 3 hours. We are most definitely getting something wrong as an industry.

Number portability was put in place to provide choice to both businesses and consumers, allowing them to take advantage of new market entrants and technologies in an exciting deregulated world. Instead it has become a minefield of processes, industry acronyms and (in my own personal opinion) stalling tactics from major telcos often to prevent churn.

My personal plea to OFCOM is this: make change happen and keep in mind the business consumers who are the lifeblood of our industry.

Claranet integrates Star services

Following Claranet’s acquisition of Star in November 2012, we have been working hard to bring together the two companies as one. Our focus has been on aligning our people, processes and infrastructure in order to offer our customers an expanded portfolio representing the best services from both companies.

We are excited to have integrated Star’s services into the Claranet portfolio, and believe our combined expertise allows us to offer our customers a more diverse, competitive and stronger array of services. Star’s strong offerings around Unified Communications are complementary to our core service groupings. The portfolio now covers hosting, networks and communications.

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