Virgin Media Business has teamed up with web hosting and services provider Savvis to offer a new contract-free cloud computing service to UK customers.
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Using Virgin Media's fibre-optic cable network and Savvis's enterprise virtual private datacentre (VPDC), the cloud computing service will be available without a contract and on a pay-as-you-go basis with companies paying for usage by the hour.
The service is aimed at enterprises with between 250 to 1,000 employees and offers three different service-level agreements (SLAs) and uptime guarantees.
Mark Heraghty, Virgin Media Business's managing director, said the service allows companies to quickly deploy private datacentres and avoid complex procurement processes.
"The VPDC service will allow IT managers to gain virtual computing power quickly and easily by designing and deploying their own private datacentre in just a few clicks. They can have it up and running the same day and the set-up can then be modified as and when required, with changes being ready to go within 90 minutes," he said.
Speaking at the launch at a press event in London, Heraghty admitted the company was "late to market" with its cloud service, saying the supplier has further plans for its managed services portfolio.
Ovum analyst David Molony said Virgin's announcement is a big challenge to BT and Cable & Wireless, which already launched virtual datacentre services.
"It's timely, because the cloud services business is getting some momentum. Ovum surveys with enterprises show that the proportion of enterprises trying out cloud-based network and IT services has increased from one-third to nearly half in the past year," said Molony.
"Virgin Media Business is able to offer a significant new service from a proven vendor with a high level of accreditation as well as significant hosting capacity. Savvis extends its service reach into the UK market across a high-specification MPLS network it would have taken years to build for itself."