SIAS Grows Their IBM IaaS Offerings with TierPoint Infrastructure & Services

By Ralph Thomas, VP and GM, TierPoint New York Operations

One of the growing elements of TierPoint’s business in New York is helping customers in the technology industry innovate and create revenue streams using our facilities and services.  We provide easy access to efficient power, connectivity, the Internet and a host of additional services while the customer delivers specialized services and applications to their customers.  In some cases, clients use a mix of TierPoint colocation and managed services.  More frequently, they are taking advantage of our cloud and hybrid cloud services to deliver platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings and software as a service (SaaS) applications among other solutions.

Secure Infrastructure & Services LLC (SIAS) is a prime example of this trend.  They are a fast-growing customer that is tapping into a market that is going through a quiet resurgence. Here is their story.

IBM Reinvests in Power Systems
IBM Power Systems are a line of computer servers that were introduced in the early 1990s.  They were very popular among the Fortune 500 and small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) but their growth stagnated as Microsoft Windows and flavors of Linux emerged in the Internet age.  Worse, IT pros and developers turned their attention elsewhere making finding support more difficult.  About two years ago, IBM decided to reinvest in Power Systems to tackle increasingly large workloads along with customers’ heavy uptime demands.

Around the same time, SIAS was formed to offer infrastructure and consulting services to AS400 iSeries (part of the Power Systems family) users as well as other users of the IBM AIX operating system.

For the first time in five years, IBM Power Systems have achieved four consecutive quarters of revenue growth. Many of the legacy systems in use have reached their end of life yet the applications written for them remain popular.  However, Peter Briggs, SIAS’ managing partner, says that “most companies are increasingly frustrated managing this infrastructure.  It is also very difficult to find IT resources with the requisite expertise to maintain them.”  This is the problem that SIAS solves.

sailing to MV

Peter Briggs, managing partner at SIAS, helps clients navigate IBM infrastructure challenges

In conjunction with TierPoint, SIAS has designed a virtual cloud platform that allows them to offer capacity on demand for all kinds of workloads for IBM users.  This includes production capacity, virtualized capacity and a lot of disaster recovery (DR) and replication workloads. Typically customers like to run enterprise resource planning (ERP), financials and other mission critical applications that require high-volume transactions.

DR is one of the top challenges of these IBM users.  “We find that companies that are willing to maintain these systems on their own for production workloads are very reluctant to recreate the environment in a separate location for DR purposes,” says Briggs.  “This is one of our biggest opportunities because we can maintain customers’ DR solutions for significantly less money and eliminate the IT overhead associated with maintaining it themselves.”

SIAS’ services are run on its own equipment housed inside TierPoint’s Westchester County data center.

Creating a Symbiotic Relationship
So at this point, you may have noticed that SIAS offers many of the same services that we do.  That’s true, but even though our data centers are vendor agnostic, our clouds are largely Wintel, VMware, Cisco and NetApp.  SIAS has deep specialized IBM expertise around AIX and OS5, frankly a rarity.  We have developed a symbiotic relationship with them to serve customers that have multi-platform requirements, such as Ocean State Job Lot, yet they still purchase a set of products from us ranging from Internet provisioning, cross connects and support services.

SIAS’ Peter Briggs:
“Our relationship with TierPoint works because they have a lot of people who understand our business.  I can always get someone on the phone up through senior management if I have an issue.  They are always stirring the pot to help me win business.”

What’s Next
SIAS has begun work on a second virtual platform at TierPoint’s Bethlehem, PA location with possibly a third in Marlborough, MA.  It is rewarding to see SIAS grow. The company is one of several examples of TierPoint’s clients that have built businesses based on TierPoint infrastructure and managed services.  In a future piece, we’ll cover a company that uses our cloud to offer a desktop-as-a-service solution and another that offers a platform-as-a-service to allow customers to run everything from Oracle to Hadoop.

Cloud vs. Colocation – From the Customer’s Perspective

Guest Blog By Jeff Mehrmanesh, Director of IT at Ocean State Job Lot

Editor’s Note: We asked Jeff Mehrmanesh, director of IT at Ocean State Job Lot, a leading closeout retailer with 116 stores, to share his perspective on cloud versus colocation services. This is his response.

How do you determine where your data should live?
We look at the content that is up for discussion. Are we talking about data, services, communication or really anything at all that the business needs? We start with the content. Is the content, and what you are proposing to do with it, a differentiating component that is core to your business? Is it a commoditized service that really isn’t directly going to add value to the main line of your business? Continue reading

Message from the Pope of TierPoint: Plan and Prepare for the Cloud

By Jeremy Pope, GM, TierPoint Texas

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of posts authored by TierPoint senior executives commenting on a variety of topics including industry and technology trends, customer pain points and stories that help readers get to know TierPoint a little better. First up is Jeremy Pope, general manager of TierPoint Texas.

Jeremy Pope

Jeremy Pope

On Helping Clients Transition to the Cloud
I was born in South Louisiana, where I spent much of my time outdoors with my grandfather who was a logger and avid outdoorsman. He introduced me to the outdoors, and I never lost that bug. Whether it is spending time in the mountains or in the wilderness, you can learn a lot about business from nature. Perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned is the importance of preparation and having a strong game plan. You cannot expect to be successful without clearly thinking through contingencies that can make you more agile and accurate in your decision making. Continue reading

FAQ Friday: What are Top Elements of a Great Customer Experience?

By Brian Schwartz, TierPoint Content & Social Media Marketing Manager

During one of the recent winter storms that have been belting the northeast, Ram Bhagwandin, a facilities manager at TierPoint’s Hawthorne, NY data center, received a phone call at 3:00 a.m. The temperature was -2°F. In that cold, servers (and people too) can get a little cranky. His job was to help ensure that equipment inside the facility kept running smoothly.

Bhagwandin spent more than 20 years running IT architecture for large organizations before joining TierPoint two years ago. For this week’s FAQ Friday, I asked him about the top two things he and his team do to help deliver a great customer experience. Continue reading

Automating Business Operations with Private Cloud Technology

By Christian Lappin, TierPoint Sr. Sales Engineer

When it comes to business and technology, the main objective has long been automate, automate and automate some more. We’ve seen the advent of VMware and Microsoft Hyper V systems drastically alter the landscape of local network management for the better, replacing cumbersome physical machine maintenance with streamlined, software-defined workflows handled virtually. Continue reading

FAQ Friday: “Active Active” Data Centers Are a Hot Hot Topic Within Disaster Recovery

By Brian Schwartz, TierPoint Content & Social Media Marketing Manager

This week I spoke with Christian Lappin, a TierPoint senior sales engineer, who is a business continuity/disaster recovery expert and an active member of the FBI Infragard Task Force. He speaks with clients each week about high availability, and says that in recent weeks he has been receiving lots of questions about “active active” data centers and how clients can transition into one from their current environment. Continue reading