Home Opinions An interview with Virtus Data Centres

An interview with Virtus Data Centres

archives2013

Compare the Cloud speaks to Mark Underwood, Senior Business Development Director of Virtus Data Centres

CTC: Mark tell us about yourself

I joined Virtus Data Centres in Oct 2011 and I am responsible for new business sales opportunities as well as the on-going development of strategic business relationships with partner businesses. Previously I spent three years at Global Switch managing the sales function for the two London docklands sites. Prior to that, I worked at PacketExchange for 18 months in a new business sales capacity working with some of the larger European network providers and US social networking and content providers delivering wide area peering services. I was at TeleCity for 5 years managing their New Business sales function within the UK. Prior to that I worked with Level 3 Communications as an account director, I spent 4 years at Easynet in direct sales and as Web Development manager and I started my working life at Dun & Bradstreet where I spent 11½ years in a variety of sales focused roles.

CTC: Who are Virtus?

Virtus is a leading UK provider of environmentally efficient, modern, interconnected carrier neutral data centres.

Virtus owns, designs, builds and operates environmentally and economically efficient data centres around the heart of London’s cloud and digital data economy. Our customers can rely on our secure facilities and uptime record for their data and applications, enabling them to store, protect, connect, process and distribute data to customers, partners and networks within our data centres and the global digital economy.

Virtus Data Centres was established in 2008 and is a well capitalised developer and operator of Tier 3 data centre facilities within the Greater London region. Virtus was explicitly set up to deliver additional capacity into a market facing increasing demand for a limited supply of high quality cost efficient data centre facilities and services.

We own the freehold to every property […] and can therefore provide price certainty to our customers when contracts are reviewed.
We own the freehold to every property that we build from the ground up and as such we are not subject to the vagaries of upward rent reviews and lease adjustments by property landlords and can therefore provide price certainty to our customers when contracts are reviewed.

We believe that Virtus offers a uniquely different approach in today’s data centre market place. We have a significant ownership in the company by employees who have invested into the business, which we believe creates a very different attitude in how we engage with our customers and run our business. We take individual responsibility for our reputation and we look for better outcomes for our customers whilst building sustainable value within our business. We have fully committed shareholders and investors, and we are able to build our data centres speculatively without the need of anchor tenants which means that our prospects and customers have the ability to move into high quality modern data centre space immediately.

As a business we remain focused upon our core strengths and competencies, which are building and operating data centre infrastructures and in doing so we provide flexible solutions to facilitate our customers’ growth by not restricting them to today’s specific requirements.

CTC: So what does Virtus do in the Cloud Space?

Our data centres are built around the needs of cloud companies and customers with both hybrid and traditional data centre needs. We have just launched our “CoLo-on-Demand” service which is specifically tailored to the needs of Cloud service providers.

We come from a cloud as well as a data centre background and we want to help cloud providers get established quickly in a low cost, low risk manner, and help established cloud providers to grow quickly and flexibly. We offer low entry costs, ultra low risk commitment and flexible high quality, service agreements.

Virtus’ CoLo-On-Demand allows you to turn-up or turn-down the amount of computing power you buy. You no longer have to over-provision for peak loads – you can now match your overheads to the revenue you generate. You can scale up, scale down or even cancel your commitment, at any time.

Virtus’ CoLo-On-Demand allows you to turn-up or turn-down the amount of computing power you buy… you can now match your overheads to the revenue you generate.
We believe that having predictable low cost surety of growth and capacity is as important to growing cloud businesses as low entry costs and risk free commitment – CoLo-on-Demand guarantees Cloud businesses the flexibility to scale in a contiguous manner – we will reserve adjacent racks giving you a highly efficient and cost effective growth plan.

By providing space in which Cloud companies can grow and expand their services within our data centres, our technology sector customers and end users can co-habit, interact and grow. We look to work together in partnership with cloud and technology businesses and in so doing we believe that we are delivering an eco-system which enables end-user customers to integrate their own IT infrastructure seamlessly with Cloud services. This in turn enables cloud companies to build and grow their product and service portfolios, which results in an environment which is mutually beneficial, creating the catalyst for exciting new developments.

CTC: What is Virtus policy with regards Cloud providers having open access?

We have a uniquely flexible approach to encourage technology companies to grow into our data centres. This has resonated extremely well within a number of channels and we are now engaged with number of Telco’s, Hardware Vendors, Distributors, MSPs and ISVs who can provide innovative and flexible solutions to further enhance Virtus’ data centre environments as a true technology eco-system. In so doing we bring together the skills resources and expertise to work collaboratively with both our technology and end-user customers and partners.

CTC: What do you think sets Virtus apart in a competitive datacentre and colocation marketplace?

Quality, Value, Innovation, Service and Flexibility are at the heart of our business.

We are a people business with a strong client lead approach. We are fixated on delivering the best service possible supported by extensive industry knowledge and expertise.

As a leading UK provider of environmentally efficient, modern, interconnected carrier neutral data centres. Virtus owns, designs, builds and operates environmentally and economically efficient data centres around the heart of London’s cloud and digital data economy.

All our London sites provide purpose-built, highly specified data centre space with meeting and office space, and offer a full range of colocation, interconnection, support and monitoring services.
Our customers can rely on our secure facilities and 100% uptime record for their data and applications, enabling them to store, protect, connect, process and distribute data to customers, partners and networks within our data centres and the global digital economy.

Located in prime locations in London, our data centres have excellent communication, transport and airport links. Our highly resilient and secure data centres are built to advanced quality standards using innovative modern design techniques delivering industry leading power and cooling efficiency. All our sites are operated to the highest operational and security standards.

This ensures our data centres are ideally flexible for handling a broad range of requirements. All our London sites provide purpose-built, highly specified data centre space with meeting and office space, and offer a full range of colocation, interconnection, support and monitoring services.

CTC: What connectivity options are available to your customers?

Our data centres are carrier neutral and we actively encourage network providers to PoP the facilities to create a wider choice of carriers and service providers for our customers. Our data centres are served by diverse incoming fibre duct entry points and dual meet-me-rooms so that our customers can always be assured of network resilience and redundancy to support the redundancy built into the data centre infrastructure. In terms of connectivity options our customers have access to a full portfolio of network solutions including IP Transit, Point to Multipoint Ethernet, MPLS and VPLS services as well as Dark Fibre and DWDM services from multiple carriers.

CTC: Who are the management team in Virtus?

Our internal leadership is a key factor in our continued success.

Neil Cresswell is Chief Executive Officer of Virtus Datacentres. Neil has more than 25 years of experience in the data centre, technology and banking industries; building successful, high growth, profitable businesses with a reputation for quality, innovation and customer service.

He has worked across UK, Europe, Asia and the U.S for companies such as Savvis, Attenda, BNP Paribas, IBM and Fiserv. In April 2013 he joined Virtus Datacentres as CEO. Neil was previously with Savvis (a leading global supplier of cloud and datacentre service and a division of CenturyLink Inc), for six years, where he was Managing Director of the EMEA Region as well as having global responsibility for Savvis’ financial services sector.

Neil holds an honours degree in Business Studies from the University of Westminster and is a graduate of the Henley Business School Advanced Management Programme.

Konstantin Boreman is Chief Operating Officer and is responsible for the operational aspects of the business. He has over twenty five years of experience in the Telecommunications and IT industries and a proven track record in building successful businesses from start-ups to large enterprises. Prior to joining Virtus Data Centres in early 2012, Konstantin spent 10 years at Interxion, a leading European data centre and colocation services company where he played a key role in delivering 22 consecutive quarters of revenue growth which led to an Initial Public Offering. Before joining Interxion, Konstantin spent 7 years at Global Telesystems (GTS) in senior commercial and general management positions.

Daryl Seaton is Chief Financial Officer he started his career in JP Morgan Asset Management in the UK Equities team where he gained his CFA qualification. He then moved into Private Equity, working for 3i plc. Daryl joined the company in May 2005 from HBOS plc. Daryl’s experience of leverage buyouts and investments spans a wide spectrum of geographies, sectors and transaction types including 8 years within the property and data centre sectors. His transactional and fund raising skills were invaluable during the set up and early growth of the business and he continues to play a key role in the day to day management of Virtus.

Steven Norris is our Chairman, Steven was a Conservative Member of the UK Parliament from 1983-1997. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department of Environment, then the Department of Trade and Industry in the government of Baroness Thatcher and Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Home Office under Prime Minister John Major. He was Minister for Transport in London from 1992-96 and a former Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party. In 2000 and 2004 Steven Norris was his party’s Candidate for Mayor of London. His private sector appointments have included chairmanship of Jarvis (the construction and rail engineering company), AMT Sybex and a non-exec director of a number of other smaller companies. Steve is also chairman of the Data Centre Alliance which represents the DC industry to the external world.

CTC: Have you got any programs that help cloud providers with billing models?

Colo-On-Demand enables [Cloud Providers to] scale their rack densities from 0 to 10kW …and we reserve additional adjacent cabinets for them to grow into.
To really encourage Cloud companies to start, embed and grow within our data centres, we have launched CoLo-on-Demand. The on-demand solution enables start-ups through to mature cloud companies to come in and take space, power and (with a carrier partner) connectivity that is both scalable and low cost. Contained within a flexible contract this ground breaking product is designed to enable cloud companies to mirror their overheads to revenues. We provide a service that enables them scale their rack densities from 0 to 10kW as their business or hardware scales and we reserve additional adjacent cabinets for them to grow into.

CTC: One question we ask all our interviewees, What is your definition of Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing to me in its simplest form is IT services delivered across a network be it across a private network or across the public internet. Generally delivered as an op-ex based model to allow organisations to buy “IT-as-a-Service”.

CTC: Mark, finally can you tell us where you see the datacentre industry in five years’ time?

I see data centres at the very epicentre of the Cloud revolution and at the heart of our digital economy. Technology has transformed the way we live and communicate. Cloud computing, social media, mobile apps the “big data” explosion and on-demand services can only be delivered from purpose built highly efficient data centres.

These data centres will continue to evolve, becoming more energy efficient; they will become highly connected data and technology hubs serving our growing demands to communicate and consume more and more data and IT services.

CTC: Mark, how can anyone reading this get in touch with you?

You can contact me directly by email mu@virtusdatacentres.com, on Twitter: @Virtus_Mark or by phone on 44 20 7499 1300. Or visit our website: http://www.virtusdatacentres.com. Its definitely worth hearing what we have to say.