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27
August
2014

Bug fixes and Internet slow down

Matt Lovell, CTO, Pulsant

Regardless of industry or environment, everyone is aware of the importance of keeping hardware and software up to date. From patching and firmware updates, to OS upgrades and system health checks, all technology must be maintained to ensure that it performs correctly and allows users and the organisation as a whole to operate properly. This doesn’t just apply to PCs or laptops, but includes aspects such as the network infrastructure. For a colocation, cloud and managed hosting provider such as Pulsant, maintaining our network is a vital part of providing seamless service, maximum uptime and availability to our customers.

There has been a fair bit of media attention over the last few weeks on so-called data jams. Essentially, as the number of connections on the Internet has increased, routers are struggling to cope with demand. According to a BBC article, the ways in which data is sent around the world is tracked via a routing tablet and the entries on this tablet went past 524,000 last week. What this means for manufacturers of network components because most routers are not capable of handling that amount of entries.

The result is that a lot of the older equipment is being replaced or updated to cope with this growth and while that is taking place, Internet users have been experiencing slower browsing speeds.

So what does that mean for an organisation like Pulsant and our customers?

Our technical team anticipated potential issues, tested and implemented resolutions in early 2014 to eliminate the possibility of problems ahead of the limits being reached. As a result of this proactive move, our customers have continued to receive the same levels of uptime and connectivity as they always have done.

Again, this comes down to keeping a close eye on hardware and software requirements, making sure everything is up to date, and ensuring that all devices within an organisation are fit for purpose and are running optimally. The most important aspect of this approach is that we are always aware of what is going on within our IT estate and can proactively address potential issues before they actually even become issues.

Categories: Blog, News

22
August
2014

Pulsant awarded certificate of appreciation by Help For Heroes

Pulsant have been awarded a certificate of appreciation by Help For Heroes for the efforts of the Pulsant staff in raising £5935 for the charity over the past 12 months.

A number of the team took part in “Tough Mudder” and helped raise the donations in aid of this noble and worthy cause. Such donations make a huge difference to the lives of some truly inspirational and brave people.

Help 4 Heroes

Categories: Blog, News

30
July
2014

Supporting IXScotland for long-term growth

Matt Lovell, CTO, Pulsant

Nine months ago IXScotland was launched – Scotland’s first dedicated Internet Exchange Point (IXP). IXScotland is powered by LINX (London Internet Exchange) that has set up similar exchanges, in Manchester for example. Pulsant is also involved in the project and is hosting the exchange at our South Gyle data centre facility – the largest in Scotland.

Its establishment has been a real boost for the region. Essentially what IXScotland does is provide faster Internet access for users – either businesses or individuals – by ensuring that ISPs can better deliver Internet traffic to one another. With lower latency and better resilience, traffic won’t need to be routed through London anymore and the result is better connectivity.

We’re delighted to be working on this initiative, adding our expertise and using our infrastructure to make IXScotland a success. As a company we’ve been driven to support local business and communities since our arrival in Scotland with a view to ultimately stimulating the ongoing development of IT services in the region.

It’s important to note that there have been previous attempts to establish an exchange in Scotland. The reason that this one will find success is that IXScotland has received strong support from the community, from business and from government, and is, of course, assisted by LINX. In addition, IXScotland is really meeting the demand for that boost in connectivity.

Going forward, IXScotland and organisations with a local presence will have an important role to play in strengthening the region, with many opportunities emerging along the way, especially with the possibility of Scottish independence on the horizon. As a business with a presence in Scotland and a drive to support the industry, we look forward to being a part of it.

Categories: Blog

6
May
2014

Multiple Data Centre Sites – Where Are The Benefits?

The network forms the backbone of a company’s IT infrastructure – without it an organisation is effectively crippled. Email, Internet services, mobile workers are all reliant on the connectivity that the network provides. Now, consider a data centre and the same principle applies. The network connects the inner workings of the data centre to customer sites and to other data centres. For a data centre operator with multiple sites this network ensures that it can deliver considerable benefit to its clients.

Pulsant owns and operates 10 data centres throughout the UK and this is something we tend to emphasise. All of our data centres are interconnected via our own resilient, high speed and high capacity fibre network. But what benefit does this actually bring to our clients?

Firstly, it is all about reliability. The fact that we own and operate the data centres means that we’re responsible for the maintenance, availability and resilience of the sites. If something goes wrong our customers can be assured that we’re doing our best to make sure that their business is not affected.

Secondly, from a backup and disaster recovery point of view, customers have a dedicated line to any one of our other data centre sites where their data can be held in the event of any downtime or failure at the initial site.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, all sites are reinforced by our Triple A Support model which guarantees access, ability and action for our customers. The aim of this initiative is to provide our customers with a first time fix wherever possible and we do this by making sure that we match your needs and queries to a team of appropriately skilled technical agents.

Of course customers can also benefit from the economies of scale, especially when it comes to cost savings regarding power buying and infrastructure investment; and our ability to support your business growth as a result of Pulsant being a multi-site operator.

Categories: Blog, Colocation

16
April
2014

Supporting the arts at Edinburgh International Festival

Edinburgh International Festival logo

The Edinburgh International Festival’s annual galvanisation of Scotland has become renowned across the globe. Drawing artistic talent from a wide array of cultures and countries, the month-long festival transforms the city into a hotbed of colour and life.

For 7 years, Pulsant has stood beside the organisers of the festival providing IT solutions and services to help meet the demands of an ever-evolving event, and the expectations of an ever-evolving public.

With so much to do and see, the thousands of buzzing festival-goers use the official website (www.eif.com) as their guide. The website supplies them with information during the festival on everything from the city itself, to performance schedules and details, to accommodation and transport links.

Perhaps the website’s most important function however, is as the gateway to the ticketing system. The ticket sales begin in March, seeing a massive surge in traffic with more and more sales taking place online. With this comes the need for, above all else, a system that is able to scale and meet demand without sacrificing stability and speed.

With the redesign and redevelopment of both the website and ticketing system in 2013, these systems were required to work together to meet new challenges thrown at them by the changing digital landscape. The growing demand on these new systems called on Pulsant to deliver cloud architecture that was faster and more reliable than ever.

The new system was moved onto Pulsant’s more complete, enterprise cloud solution. The enterprise cloud offers a more efficient and scalable service, able to quickly and efficiently react to increased demand at peak load times by making more efficient use of server hardware.

The website today provides a much more accessible experience for visitors, featuring a new media library showcasing content for both current and past events. As the festival grows and the demand on the system constantly changes and adapts, it’s vital to have a platform that can meet these new developments head-on. The team at Pulsant will continue to support the EIF, helping the organisation meet the changing needs of the festival with reliable, efficient and practical solutions.

Categories: Blog

2
April
2014

Next Generation Cloud Backup and Recovery

We understand how important your data – business critical and everyday – is to your organisation. This is why we have signed a partnership agreement with Asigra, a leading cloud, backup, recovery and restore software provider. We have added a range of complementary solutions to our portfolio – cloud to cloud, smart device to cloud, on-premise to cloud and third party cloud data protection solutions which are combined to provide a single management and recovery view of business critical data – to bring our customers added confidence and assurance that their data is safe, secure and recoverable.

Categories: Blog, Cloud

29
January
2014

Developing standards of excellence – the importance of industry bodies

Matt Lovell, CTO, Pulsant

In a market where all data centre organisations are trying to differentiate themselves and there’s a high level of competition the presence of industry bodies ensures that we’re not operating in complete isolation. Bodies, such as the Data Centre Alliance (DCA), act as a crucial link between data centre operators in an effort to facilitate interaction and dialogue. Why? Because we can learn from one another, share our experiences and knowledge, and ultimately work to improve the industry.

Find out more about the role that the DCA plays in the industry and why its presence is so important by reading the full article featured in Data Centre Solutions Europe here.

Categories: Blog, Colocation

20
December
2013

The future of power generation for data centres

Matt Lovell, CTO, Pulsant

The provision of power continues to be a crucial issue for the country, and particularly for industries that are heavily dependent on the reliable and cost-effective supply of electricity to keep operations streamlined and available. The data centre is a case in point. Data centres account for around 5% of electricity consumption across the EU and have been demonised by green groups for their carbon footprint. Therefore the industry is working hard to reduce costs and environmental impact.

Overall demand in the UK has not risen dramatically over the last 10 years but the change in lifestyle – flexible working, increase in shift and weekend work, as well as the increase of online shopping and services – has created new peaks of demand. Power generation has also shifted in the past decade with renewable energy making up about 10% of capacity, coal and gas making up the majority at 70% with nuclear and imported power comprising the rest.

Going forward there will be a continued strain to keep up with demand and meet agreed carbon reduction commitments. By 2035 it is anticipated that the UK’s current nuclear power stations will be shut down as they reach the end of their lifecycles. So where will this additional capacity come from?

The recent announcement to build a new nuclear plant – the first since 1995 in the UK and the first globally since the Fukushima disaster – will partly address this. However, prices are forecast to continue to rise so more needs to be done. Many providers will continue to increase investment to generate their own electricity. Given the specialist workforce and personnel often employed to design and operate data centres, many already possess the skills in high voltage and capital-intensive infrastructure to seriously consider building and operating electrical generation capacity.

As a Green Grid member, Pulsant sources all of its energy from renewable sources and other data centre providers are also looking to go green. Many will seek to register and generate power from renewable sources, namely solar, wind and hydroelectric projects. For larger operators, the initial investments could yield a return in as little as two to three years.

From a government perspective, the development of self-generation projects should be strongly supported – removing the demand of energy intensive operations from overall capacity will ultimately create greater efficiencies in the wider national grid and optimise investment in new generation facilities.

While self-generation may be the answer for data centre operators, it is certainly not the only solution. Providers should also look to the efficiency and green credentials of the data centre itself by continuous investment in reducing carbon emissions, making optimum use of resources as well as using renewable energy sources.

Categories: Blog, Power Generation

2
December
2013

STAR certified – but what does it mean?

Fergus Kennedy, head of compliance and information systems, Pulsant

The cloud industry was revolutionised in September this year with the announcement of the first independently audited cloud security certification. It is exactly what the industry needs – transparency and clarification for cloud users (and potential adopters).

The cloud space can be daunting and for those thinking of adopting cloud or using a different provider for their needs, there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed. At the top of that list is the million dollar question: Will my data be safe?

There are a number of great cloud providers in the industry many of whom offer very strong solutions, but what assurances do cloud users have in terms of security? The BSI security standard – ISO 27001 control set – is a good place to start. However, it doesn’t focus on specific cloud issues.

Enter STAR – the new certification that builds on both ISO 27001 and the CSA cloud control matrix. The certification was developed to help cloud users make sense of a cloud provider’s security capabilities and add a measure of assurance to the decision-making process.

We’re incredibly proud that we are one of the first companies to be awarded the STAR certification (only two cloud providers have achieved the certification so far). We worked with the CSA and BSI as part of the pilot programme and underwent the entire process – achieving Silver Status based on the maturity of our security controls.

For our customers this certification it is an additional assurance that we can provide the best, most appropriate and secure cloud product to suit their needs – our clients can be certain that we have the necessary measures in place to secure their business data. For the industry at large it inspires confidence as it gives cloud providers something tangible to hang their hats on and brings that added measure of transparency.

The certification has certainly come at the best time for the maturing cloud industry, and in the future we’ll see STAR and similar certifications in similar areas challenging providers to continually improve their offerings, strengthen their products, and elevate cloud standards to new heights.

Categories: Blog, Cloud, Managed Hosting, Star Certified

8
November
2013

Customer satisfaction – not just jargon

As a technology company there’s always the danger of ignoring the human element. This is why we focus quite strongly on customer service, both before and after implementation to complement our cloud, colocation and managed networking services. Of course this could just be marketing speak – but it’s not. It’s a genuine commitment to getting things right, delivering the highest levels of support, and retaining our customers by meeting expectations and keeping them happy.

So what do we have in our arsenal to back up this approach? At the moment we have a 95% customer retention rate, and have been awarded the Royal Warrant in recognition of the continuous exceptional service that we deliver to the Royal Household.

Beyond that, in September 2013 we adopted a customer satisfaction metric to add a tangible element to our customer satisfaction drive. We’re using Net Promoter, an industry recognised metric that not only allows us to monitor our performance, but also gives us an indication of how we match up against other companies in our industry.

After each job is completed, customers are asked to complete a survey regarding their experience of us as a company and the products and services that we provide. In addition to giving us a numerical score, customers are asked to comment and provide specific feedback. We use this feedback to view how our clients perceive us and if there are any areas of improvement we can develop. For example, we are now making changes to the way in which customers view the status of live backups as a result of responses received.

Net Promoter is well regarded in the IT industry because it delivers true feedback. It’s quite difficult to score perfectly as customers are required to give precise feedback – no simple checking of boxes – we can use.

The cloud industry is very much still in its infancy but there have been some excellent advances in its maturity, namely an independently audited security certification for cloud providers. It is equally important to have a customer satisfaction standard, because it’s critical to evaluate our services in a holistic manner so that we achieve a balance between technical excellence and customer satisfaction.

Categories: Blog, Cloud, Colocation, Managed Hosting

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