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Blogs > Quocirca

STAR treatment for Royals in the cloud
Bob Tarzey By: Bob Tarzey, Service Director, Quocirca
Published: 8th November 2013
Copyright Quocirca © 2013
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Few 'computing' companies hold a Royal Warrant; you can search for those that do here http://www.royalwarrant.org/rwha-search. Only two have been granted in 2013, one of which was to a relatively new name in cloud services—Pulsant. Of course, it helps that the firm provides services to the crown, however, quite rightly it will not divulge details; perhaps it runs the royal web site http://www.royal.gov.uk/?

The name Pulsant came into existence about a year ago to rebrand a group of pre-existing private equity backed companies, all with a focus on data centre services, including Dedipower (managed hosting), ScoLocate (colocation in Scotland) and BluesSquare (more colocation). The company, which is focussed purely on the UK market, now has 10 data centres. Two of them are north of the border (so who knows, 2014 it may see it heading for multi-national status!). This includes hosting Scotland’s first dedicated internet exchange (IXScotland). It also has some overseas data centre capacity, but this is only used to serve its UK customers with an international presence.

With revenues of £44M (95% recurring), 15% annual organic growth and 175 employees Pulsant clearly has existing momentum inherited from the companies that have been bought together to create it. This has been achieved with financial backing from Bridgepoint Development Capital. But why would HMQ, or anyone else for that matter, turn to relatively unknown cloud services provider instead of safe sounding bets like AWS and Rackspace? Especially as, compared to its established managed hosting and co-location provider business, Pulsant’s only current cloud offering is a compute IaaS platform (infrastructure-as-a-service), with future plans for storage and business continuity services.

Well firstly, Pulsant says it is proud to be one of the first cloud service providers to be accredited with the Cloud Service Association’s (CSA) STAR (Security, Trust & Assurance Registry) by the British Standards Institute (BSI), as opposed to getting the rating through CSA self-assessment, as many others, including Amazon, have. So, whilst, with many standards to choose from, any cloud service provider of note will provide customers with the necessary reassurances around security, Pulsant has British pedigree! (For the record it is Quocirca’s view that for many organisations, almost any cloud provider will be more secure than much on-premise IT).

Secondly, like many cloud providers Quocirca has written about, Pulsant’s aim is to focus on adding value to cloud services. It will hand-hold organisations moving to cloud; helping them to re-deploy existing applications and provision new ones, often on a hybrid platform that may include resources from larger providers. To this extent, its competitors are more likely to be other UK focussed IT service providers such as Attenda, niu Solutions and Claranet.

All have a strong focus on the mid-market, adding to the conundrum mid-market companies have when trying to find the ideal partner to move to the cloud with so much choice (see Quocirca’s recent research report, The mid-market conundrum). Still, if you think the UK Crown is a mid-market organisation to take a lead from, then Pulsant may be the IT service provider for you.

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