TL; DR: If your business needs to improve the scalability, reliability, and security of its infrastructure, ViaWest’s highly specialized hybrid IT solutions might be just what you’re looking for. The company’s vast network of datacenters across North America provides colocation, cloud storage and migration, disaster recovery, and security services that work toward the goal of maximizing uptime for clients. Employing a talent base that understands the pace at which modern businesses have to approach technology, ViaWest delivers effective IT management with an “always on” philosophy.
In 2013, Colorado had become widely known as a bustling tech hub and was luring businesses away in droves from California’s Silicon Valley. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) was quick to notice this trend and made the move to the mountains.
Because of the low risk of natural disasters, like earthquakes, coupled with a deep talent pool from which to draw, HDS saw Colorado as an ideal destination to build its datacenter infrastructure. And the company found the perfect partner in ViaWest and its more than 140,000 square feet of raised floor.
ViaWest offered HDS colocation and network services, space and power optimization, and ideal floor placement where the company could display logos and highlight its portfolio to potential customers. ViaWest’s solution allowed HDS to consolidate its footprint from 10,000 to 3,600 square feet, increase density to 700 Watts per square foot, and lower PUE to 1.3.
“With this new facility, we’re not only delivering on our promise by expanding in the Denver market — we’re also building a state-of-the-art datacenter that is very powerful, both visually and technologically,” said Roger Hughes, HDS’s Vice President of IT Global Service Delivery.
Jason Carolan, ViaWest’s Chief Cloud Officer, told us his company is made up of a team of IT and infrastructure experts across 30 datacenters, offering cloud storage solutions, security services, and colocation and hyperscaling consultation. Like other companies looking to scale, HDS benefited from ViaWest’s client-centered approach that provided a quick time to market and real-time, around-the-clock monitoring.
With a client base building hybrid applications that live in many different places simultaneously, Jason noted ViaWest is helping businesses improve connectivity.
“Our clients are building their hardcore transactional databases inside our facilities, whether that’s colocation or cloud, and they’re augmenting that with data analytics,” he said. “They might also be sitting in the hyperscale cloud. That all has to work together for our clients to be able to effectively run their businesses.”
According to Jason, the #1 driver that helps ViaWest accomplish this for its clients is a team that understands the clip at which modern businesses must adapt to changing technologies and a comprehensive suite of hybrid IT solutions.
Optimizing Connectivity Between Datacenters, Clouds, and Hyperscalers
Cloud Connect is one of many offerings from ViaWest linking data across multiple channels. Ideal for data migration, disaster recovery, and preparing systems for higher performance applications, connectivity can be established through IP VPN networks, ethernet networks, and virtual cross-connection at colocation centers.
“Introducing our Cloud Connect product has allowed us to optimize connectivity between our datacenters and clouds to the hyperscalers like Amazon,” Jason said.
Cloud Connect provides built-in redundancy for higher reliability and consistent uptime, as well as connectivity with public clouds like AWS (Amazon Web Services) and ExpressRoute for convenient data migration. ViaWest’s cloud platforms help reduce the time necessary to create and deploy new products, and the company’s Cloud Experts customize the hosted cloud environment to specific client needs.
For AWS, ViaWest offers managed services such as consultative design, automated backups, and proactive support and planning. Colocation — the use of a datacenter’s floor space to store a client’s infrastructure — provides a secure means of scalability. Armed with layered DDoS network protection, onsite engineers, and remote hands, ViaWest’s datacenters guarantee 100% uptime.
By using ViaWest to unify clouds, hyperscalers, and datacenters, businesses experience optimal operation with zero downtime.
“If you’re running apps in our cloud, we can give you that one pane of glass to make sure your applications are up and running no matter where they are,” Jason said.
Protecting Assets Through Secure DevOps and Disaster Recovery
It’s no secret the financial losses caused by downtime can be devastating for businesses. And the need for security can never be underestimated.
Luckily, ViaWest offers fast and affordable disaster recovery. Secure DevOps is ViaWest’s unification of philosophy surrounding the management of development, IT operations, and information security through tight integration. The company helps clients comply with evolving security, health, and privacy standards with its hybrid IT solution that complies with HIPAA and PCI requirements.
“Security is critically important,” Jason said. “The challenge with a lot of that automation is it’s one click away from publishing all your data somewhere you didn’t want it to.”
The Hybrid IT Cloud comes equipped with the ViaWest Managed Security Suite, which incorporates multiple security layers. This defense-in-depth approach is more reliable than traditional IT security as it operates across multiple platforms. ViaWest’s Security Suite includes database security in the form of SSL certificates, application scanning, backup encryption, automated policy updates, and web application firewall (WAF). For the network in general, ViaWest delivers vulnerability scanning along with malware protection, IP reputation filtering, facility monitoring, and dual-factor authentication. Vulnerability tests entail penetration testing from the perspective of malicious sources.
Aside from the obvious benefit of reduced or even eliminated downtime, the worst-case scenario preparation of a disaster recovery plan is of vital importance. Between vulnerability fortification, safety compliance, and encrypted backups, ViaWest ensures data is always accessible.
“A good 60% to 70% of our clients see security as the #1 thing that keeps them up at night,” Jason said. “And this goes hand in hand with disaster recovery.”
A Talent Base That Understands the Moving Speed of Technology
According to Jason, ViaWest’s small but effective team is the main driver of its success. Many of ViaWest’s offerings are in the form of consultation services as well as support, hence the need for a knowledgeable pool of experts.
Providing an “incubator of talent,” as Jason put it, ViaWest’s team currently spans just over 600 employees in 30 datacenters scattered across North America.
“We’re essentially an incubator of talent,” Jason said. “We have teams concentrated in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Utah, and there’s also a small group in Oregon.”
ViaWest perpetuates a workforce culture where security teams are working with experts in the industry to achieve what Jason called a critical mass achieving self-sustaining viability.
Hitachi Data Systems chose to colocate in the Colorado region not only for its strategic location. The Denver area is also a rapidly growing hub for a highly educated workforce. ViaWest’s methodology for hiring where the talent is means teams are concentrated close to datacenters.
“We want our people to be close to our facilities,” Jason said. “It helps to get the work done and also maintain the facilities. We look very closely at talent acquisition.”
Because many of these teams work remotely, they are able to complement onsite workers by providing support across time zones.
Evolving Solutions to Continue an “Always On” Philosophy
The blend of onsite and remote workforces is a cog in ViaWest’s “always on” philosophy Hitachi Data Systems found valuable. It allowed ViaWest to provide consultation, run security programs, and troubleshoot for HDS around the clock.
“It’s been in the culture since day one,” Jason said.
ViaWest knows that businesses need systems that run continuously, and the company has been actively evolving its solutions and growing its talent base to keep up with this demand. According to Jason, ViaWest’s future plans involve keeping with the tide of evolving standards in the same way clients do — by integrating new APIs and looking at the new features being introduced by the big hyperscalers.
“Sometimes we have clients that want to stay static and not change that much,” Jason said. “That actually runs counter to having good security, so it’s really about trying to educate them.”
ViaWest’s goal is to create secured housing for data and provide clients with peace of mind through exceptional service. Employing a concentrated talent base of IT experts, numerous distributed datacenters, and extensive security solutions, ViaWest arms its clients with the tools needed to keep running.