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12
September
2014

Pulsant channel set for exponential growth

50 new partners to be added by end of 2014

Pulsant has seen significant growth of its partner programme since it was refreshed towards the end of last year and is seeking to add 50 new partners by the end of 2014. The programme brought in over £4 million in revenue from a compact base of partners in 2013 and is set to exceed that in 2014 with its growth.

The partnership programme is aimed at assisting partners in delivering more value to their customers and being more competitive in a rapidly evolving IT market. It was given a refined focus – on collaboration – and was bolstered by the appointment of Chris Reynolds, towards the end of 2013, to head the initiative.

“Over the last few years there has been a definite shift by end user customers towards running both on-site IT solutions, as well as deploying off-site IT systems. As a result, the demand for technology has moved beyond merely supplying just hardware and software. This has created the ideal environment for us and our partners to work collaboratively in bringing the end client the best, most appropriate solution possible,” says Chris Reynolds, partner manager, Pulsant.

The programme has already expanded with a number of new partners added this year, including Strawberry Global Technology.

Strawberry Global Technology MD Alex Brown says: “After extensively evaluating a number of reseller cloud programmes we chose to join the Pulsant partner programme. That decision was based upon the range of services available, the cost, the standard of the data centres and the quality of delivery. The Pulsant solution architects can work seamlessly with our technical team to allow us to provide our customers with additional options for cloud, hosting and colocation services.”

The programme’s collaborative focus includes actively working with partners to support and complement their business offerings. In addition, Pulsant partners benefit from the cloud expert’s experience and expertise in the industry, as well as staff resources.

“Each partner has access to an account manager who will assist in creating a business development plan that ensures we understand their business and are able to match Pulsant’s complementary services with their offering. In addition, partners get extensive sales and technical support from our team, especially from our solutions architects when it comes to developing solutions for their customers,” continues Reynolds.

Ultima Business Solutions, an IT solutions provider is both a Pulsant customer and partner. Danny Fisher, head of managed and support services, Ultima says: “As part of the partner programme, Pulsant offers us a compelling technology-proven, contractually stable, secure platform for us to leverage. In addition, we are driven by our customer base and in Pulsant we found a business that is very similar to us in approach.”

Categories: Blog, News

9
September
2014

Pulsant to expand largest commercial data centre in Scotland

Pulsant, are proud to announce the expansion of our well-established South Gyle tier 3 data centre site, based just outside of Edinburgh, with the construction of a new facility.

The expansion project includes the construction of two new data halls, consisting of up to 64 racks in each, as well as build and configuration rooms and secure storage areas. The new facility will feature two-factor authentication security access and will be configurable according to specific customer requirements.

We are currently the largest data centre provider in Scotland and our South Gyle facility is the largest commercial data centre in the country. It hosts the IX Scotland, the region’s dedicated Internet exchange, and currently supports 820 racks in two purpose-built redundant data centres, featuring 24-hour a day security and support.

“This expansion is part of Pulsant’s overall growth strategy which includes upgrading and growing our existing data centre sites,” says Matt Lovell, CTO, Pulsant. “The drive behind this strategy is to ensure we deliver cost-effective, highly secure, environmentally sound services to our customers through our technologically up-to-date facilities that deliver maximum uptime, redundancy and support.”

The new halls will complement the data centres’ existing infrastructure but will feature autonomous mechanical services in order to ensure complete redundancy and increased efficiency is achieved.

South Gyle is supported by over 30 telecommunications carriers, is PCI-DSS compliant and G-Cloud accredited. The new halls will benefit from these features, with direct fibre access to a wide range of service providers and carriers, and will also make use of blended evaporative and fresh air cooling technologies and onsite high voltage network to ensure 2N delivery of power to each rack.

“The decision to expand our existing site means that new customers can effectively move right into the new halls once construction is complete, as the infrastructure to support the racks is already in place. For our existing customers this increase in capacity ensures that they experience no disruption to their service, but will be able to take advantage of the additional racks with ease,” says Lovell.

The expansion project is scheduled for completion in February 2015.

Categories: Blog, Commercial Data Centres, Managed Hosting, Managed Networks, News

8
September
2014

Pulsant rank 35th in the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100

Pulsant are delighted to announce that we have been placed at number 35 on the 14th annual awards, which were published with the Business section and in the Sunday Times digital edition on Sunday September 7th 2014.

Read our profile on Tech Track 100



The 14th annual Tech Track 100 awards dinner will be held at Vinopolis, London on Tuesday 18 November. This is an invitation-only event

FT badges 19 April 2012

Categories: Blog, News

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 table and the entries on this table went past 524,000 last week.

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

21
July
2014

Pulsant wins Asigra partner award

We are delighted to announce that we came away from the Asigra Partner Awards having been named Fastest Growing Partner of the Year. We were recognised for our dedication and leadership in supporting technology users with innovative cloud-based data recovery solutions.

We entered into a strategic partnership with Asigra at the beginning of the year adding enterprise cloud back-up and replication solutions to our portfolio.

“Capturing market share in the highly competitive backup and recovery market requires intelligence-driven efforts at multiple levels to outmarket, outsell and outperform, winning the opportunity to deliver a more compelling solution to the customer,” says David Farajun, CEO, Asigra. “Pulsant achieves consecutively high results and therefore ranks number one in this category, receiving the win.”

Rob Davies, sales and marketing director, Pulsant, says: “We have seen a lot of growth in this area. Working with a partner like Asigra ensures that we are perfectly poised to deliver on this demand with a world-class product that rounds out our cloud and colocation offering.”

Asigra was recently named TechTarget’s top enterprise backup application for 2014, and the company has been included in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup Software and Integrated Appliances for the fourth year in a row.

The award ceremony took place during Asigra’s annual Partner Summit held in June in Toronto.

Categories: News

15
July
2014

Data centre security – the presence and mitigation of risk

Fergus Kennedy, Head of Compliance and Information Systems at Pulsant

The issue of data security is playing a prominent role in corporate decision-making and budgeting, a view supported by a recent KPMG survey that shows it is the third most important consideration in UK boardrooms today. For data centre operators, where responsibility extends beyond that of the company’s own security to encompass security controls for its customers, this is no different. Keeping a customer’s data safe is core to a data centre providers’ business where a full spectrum of security controls from the virtual to the physical is in place.

Approaches

Data centre operators face a wide threat landscape and must deliver environments that reduce the potential impact to their business and customers, whether the risks concern intellectual property, mission critical information or confidential data. Best practices and frameworks for addressing these threats must be embraced to achieve this and there are a burgeoning number of frameworks out there. However, the basics like ISO27001 must never be overlooked as it provides the much needed baseline and common ground from which to develop.

The environment into which a provider delivers its services will mould the security controls and practices deployed as the risk profile differs from one industry to another. Whether the appropriate practices are defined by PCI-DSS for ecommerce and financial sectors or CESG guidance on the new protective marking scheme for the public sector, these all have a common goal to ensure data security appropriate to the requirements of the environment in which they operate. The controls defined by ISO27001 are the starting point from which a provider must grow additional controls to meet the additional requirements placed upon them.

As the risk increases, so does the severity and complexity of the controls, but it consistently comes under to the same areas of physical security, network security, application security and people all measured against impact from the standard security tryst of availability, integrity and confidentiality.

People

Having the right people and making sure they get the support and training to do their job is essential. Threats from accidental and malicious behaviour can very quickly render large security investments impotent.

Personnel must be vetted to the appropriate level and receive awareness and competency training appropriate to their role. As risk increases for a business so does the commitment to deliver more in depth, but basic vetting, following ACAS guidelines and including DS/DBS background checks can be achieved easily. This has become a standard part of working for the industry.

It is not just staff that must be considered; visitors to the facilities and contractors who deliver essential professional services must also be taken into account. They too require training or induction to ensure they understand the site’s controls and don’t weaken the data centre security by their presence.

Networks & Applications

The systems used to deliver security controls are just as subject to threats as the systems holding data that they protect. In a modern data centre it is unlikely that security systems are kept in isolation as requirements for business continuity and remote management exist within many best practices. As a result, network segregation and security around the platforms and applications used to deliver the security controls is another potential attack vector and must be subject to appropriate risk mitigation.

Security in this space extends beyond the state of the systems at time of deployment. Regular audit, change management and patching must make up part of the ongoing maintenance to ensure continued compliance.

Physical Security

Physical security is often considered as a set of layers of protection with arguably the first layer of all being location. Ideally, data centres should be located outside of densely populated areas and far enough from significant public infrastructure or large facilities that could be considered targets for terrorism or sources of interruption or contamination to data centre operations. There must be a balance between accessibility and separation that must also satisfy specific physical requirements like access to power and telecommunication providers, and customer specific needs such as defined distance between a primary business systems and their backup or continuity services. Environmental threats like flooding must also be taken into account as potential critical threats to the operation of the data centre.

With a suitably situated data centre, a set of appropriate perimeter access controls must be deployed. The requirement for an actual physical perimeter can change depending on the compliance requirements but perimeter fences should present a reasonable obstacle to entry encapsulating the site, and entry points should be controlled and employ anti-tailgate systems. Suitable surveillance should be used, as well as tremor sensors, infrared motion detectors and robust locking systems within the perimeter, particularly for generator and fuel repository containment. Controls like vehicle registration capture and facial recognition systems can supplement access security where additional control and audit is required.

Once inside the perimeter of a data centre, the space is divided into a series of secure areas, often with within one another where the security controls deployed are appropriate to the threats and likelihood. At entry, exit and transit between secure areas controls must tie access to an individual and most commonly include two factor access authentication and in some cases extended to biometric devices. The intention is that both staff and visitor credentials are validated every time they move between secure areas. Access control is the primary security measure inside the building and should include camera coverage as an additional confirmation of access.

Security by design

Retro fitting security controls is always expensive so it is critical that the review of risk and identification of controls is included at the design stage. The inner walls of the building, particularly within the data halls, must be solid and run from ceiling to the subfloor to eliminate unnecessary spaces and points of access between areas. Filtered air systems, cooling, water, power and connectivity systems are typically housed in separate facilities and should also feature the same levels of security as the main building in terms of both access control. Threats to infrastructure can differ from traditional data security challenges so may require dedicated features like anti-ram protection.

Data centres must provide an extremely high level of service availability and need the electrical and mechanical systems to be designed to be highly available with built in redundancy and automatic failover. This means the continuous supply of power and telecommunications connectivity to site are a critical part of the design with requirement for diverse supplies of power and communications and multiple lines of protection including generators and uninterruptible power supplies.

Conclusion

The security and continuity approaches deployed to address risk within a data centre environment often exceed what a normal business would consider and as such are an integral part of the business process review and improvement of a data centre operator. Customers benefit from the extensive focus on delivering, maintaining and improving the security and availability of data held within the facilities allowing customer to focus on the security issues that are specific to their business.

Categories: News

20
June
2014

Pulsant completes latest phase of £18m upgrade to Croydon data centre

Cloud expert builds and configures own high voltage network

Reading, UK – 20 June 2014 – Pulsant, the cloud computing, managed hosting and colocation expert, has completed the latest set of improvements to its Tier iii South London data centre facility. The upgrades are the next phase in an £18m investment and have boosted the site’s levels of redundancy and uptime.

Backup generator foundations

Pulsant built and configured its own high voltage (HV) network on site, which enables it to expand the facility in terms of power with a minimal disruption to customers. This is the first HV network across the company’s 10 data centre network.

“The HV network gives Pulsant added flexibility when it comes to bringing more power into the site,” says Matt Lovell, CTO, Pulsant. “It enables us to approach future growth in a modular fashion. And the key advantage is that when this is taking place, there will be a minimum of disruption to our existing customers.”

backup generator

Other improvements include the increase of the main electrical power supply and enhanced redundancy through the addition of standby generators. The site now offers 2N power generation capabilities with electricity provisioned from two independent sources. This ensures that there is no single point of failure.

“We have also added more dark fibre options in terms of capacity and connections to the site. These new links have been provided by Zayo Networks and, as with our other dark fibre options, they offer low latency connectivity straight into the heart of London with diverse roots.”

generator

The Croydon data centre has also achieved the latest PCI DSS compliance.

“This latest upgrade follows on our recent £14m improvement project that was completed in January 2013, and ultimately completes the next step in our committed investment plan of £18m for the South London site,” concludes Lovell.

Categories: Cloud, Colocation, Managed Hosting, Managed Networks, News, Power Generation

16
June
2014

Oak Hill Capital Partners to Acquire Pulsant from Bridgepoint Development Capital

LONDON and NEW YORK, NY, June 16, 2014 – Pulsant, a leading provider of managed, hosted data centre and IT infrastructure services to the mid-market, today announced that Oak Hill Capital Partners (“Oak Hill”) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Pulsant from Bridgepoint Development Capital (“BDC”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is unconditional and is expected to complete in the coming weeks.

Pulsant was formed in October 2010 when BDC acquired Lumison, a provider of connectivity, hosting and managed IT services. This was the first step in a strategy to create a ‘one stop shop’ managed and hosted IT services supplier in the underserved UK mid-market. Subsequently, Pulsant (as the business was re-branded) made three further acquisitions: Blue Square Data, a colocation provider, acquired in February 2011; Dedipower, a managed hosting and cloud services provider, acquired in September 2011; and Scolocate, a provider of colocation, managed hosting and cloud services in Scotland, acquired in December 2012. Pulsant currently provides its services from a network of 10 company operated datacentres across the UK, connected via the company’s own fibre network.

Oak Hill is an experienced investor in the data centre services market. Its current IT services investments include ViaWest, Inc., a leading provider of colocation and hybrid cloud services to medium-sized enterprises in regional US markets, and Intermedia.net, Inc., a global provider of cloud-based, hosted services to small- and medium-sized businesses. In 2005, Oak Hill co-led the consolidation of the European colocation industry by acquiring Telecity Group plc and executing on a number of subsequent strategic acquisitions.

Mark Howling, CEO of Pulsant, commented “We expect continued significant consolidation amongst suppliers in this dynamic market, and we believe Pulsant is well-positioned to expand its leadership position by executing on targeted acquisitions, bringing additional capabilities to benefit Pulsant and its customers. As we considered our strategic options for the business, there was a lot of interest, but Oak Hill emerged as the preferred partner, having a strong understanding of the market and of businesses like Pulsant. Oak Hill will be an active partner and we are very much looking forward to working with them. I would also like to thank BDC, which has been an excellent investment partner. The business has made significant progress under its ownership, increasing profitability and cash flow, and broadening and strengthening the services and facilities that Pulsant offers. Having now used most of the funds that BDC had available for us to invest, we are delighted to have identified a new investor that can support our development in the next phase of our long-term growth.”

David Scott, Principal at Oak Hill, said “We are pleased to be investing in Pulsant and to be supporting Mark Howling and the rest of the Pulsant management team as the company continues its strong growth trajectory. With this transaction, Oak Hill builds upon a decade of significant data centre expertise, where Oak Hill has a demonstrated track record. We believe Pulsant is well positioned to grow in the data centre services market with clear and sustained demand for its services. We look forward to further building the Pulsant franchise.”

Alan Payne, Partner of BDC, commented: “With Mark Howling and the team, we achieved what we set out to do: for Pulsant to become the trusted partner to medium-sized businesses looking for a provider to meet all of their IT and networking needs.”

Advisers involved in this transaction included: Jefferies (Corporate Finance), Travers Smith (Legal), Deloitte (Financial and Tax), Boston Consulting Group (Commercial), ERM (Environment), Marsh (Insurance), MEIT (Technical) for BDC, and Torch Partners (Corporate Finance), Macfarlanes and Paul Weiss (Legal) and EY (Financial and Tax) for Oak Hill.

About Oak Hill Capital Partners Oak Hill Capital Partners (“Oak Hill”) is a private equity firm with more than $8 billion of initial capital commitments from leading entrepreneurs, endowments, foundations, corporations, pension funds, and global financial institutions. Since inception 28 years ago, the professionals at Oak Hill and its predecessors have invested in more than 70 significant private equity transactions across broad segments of the U.S. and global economies. Oak Hill applies an industry-focused, theme-based approach to investing in the following sectors: Consumer, Retail & Distribution; Industrials; Media & Communications; and Services. Oak Hill works actively in partnership with management to implement strategic and operational initiatives to create franchise value.

 

About Bridgepoint Development Capital Bridgepoint Development Capital (“BDC”) provides funding to businesses headquartered in France, the Nordic region and the UK, typically buyouts valued up to €150 million. BDC has a team of 19 investment professionals wholly dedicated to its investment activity and operating from offices in London, Paris and Stockholm. It is part of Bridgepoint, the international private equity group, which invests in businesses valued between €200 million and €1 billion across Europe.

Categories: News

7
May
2014

Pulsant boosts Maidenhead Data Centre with multi-million pound investment

Facility upgrade delivers faster connectivity, efficiency and reliability to data centre customers

We are pleased to announce that we are currently in the process of completing a series of upgrades to the electrical and mechanical systems within our Maidenhead Data Centre facility, including changes to the data centre environment and network.

Our Maidenhead data centre plays host to a number of local businesses, many of whom have long standing relationships with Pulsant. The campus incorporates two data centres and is the second largest in our network of 10 owned data centres throughout the UK. The upgrade began with the installation of a new UPS (uninterruptable power supply) architecture, and extends to the addition of a network operations centre (NOC) to complement its existing onsite support team, as well as an upgrade valued at over £200,000 of its core switch network across the campus. It features the latest technology and meets the standards set by the rest of our group data centre networks.

Matt Lovell, Pulsant CTO, says: “The upgrade is the result of a combination of factors, including meeting our clients’ changing requirements, and ensuring we deliver the best possible services and solutions by using the most up to date technology within our facilities.

“Many of our customers are based in and around the Thames Valley area and have a large footprint at our facility. It was therefore important for us to ensure that their needs were met by delivering added stability, better bandwidth and faster connections to enjoy in and out of the data centre. We have recently added a wide range of connectivity options with our partner Equinix, as well as high capacity interconnections to our Reading and London data centres.

“There’s a great sense of community amongst our clients here as many of them have been with Pulsant for some time. They understand the site and get exactly what they need from us in terms of an efficient, cost-effective solution for rack space outside of London but with great performance and low latency,” says Lovell.

The Tier 2 facility is also benefiting from the expansion of the company’s risk management framework. Maidenhead is undergoing PCI DSS accreditation, as well as Business Impact Level 2 (IL 2) certification, which are expected to be finalised in May this year.

“This added accreditation ensures that our customers benefit directly by being able to offer their customers additional secure services, while assuring them that our services and solutions have a new level of compliance over and above our existing accreditations,” concludes Lovell.

Categories: Colocation, News

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