Cervalis taps Lightpath for metro Ethernet

Cervalis (Stamford, CT), a provider of IT infrastructure services including business continuity and disaster recovery, recently announced its selection of Optimum Lightpath (Jericho, NY) as its primary provider of point-to-point metro Ethernet connectivity. Optimum Lightpath is the business telecommunications services division of Cablevision Systems (Bethpage, NY).

Cervalis is using Lightpath’s metro Ethernet network to provide direct connectivity from its 70,000-sq-ft secure remote data center in Wappingers Falls, NY, and other data center sites in Westchester County, NY, to its customers’ offices and data centers throughout the New York metropolitan area.

“We have about 120 clients of various sizes, very prestigious clients, and we are primarily a Northeast regional player,” comments Mike Boccardi, president and CEO of Cervalis. Boccardi says that as his company knew it needed to enhance connectivity options for its customers throughout the region, it also recognized that Lightpath had a “fabulous network” in the area.

“One of our potential customers was already an Optimum Lightpath customer, and he said, ‘Do you have this option to get into your site?’” explains Boccardi. “Once we looked into it, we decided that it was time to bring them in.”

“Our network actually goes 60 miles north of the city, so we have network there,” remarks Kevin Curran, senior vice president of marketing at Optimum Lightpath. In addition to the localized DWDM equipment in the bandwidth provider’s New York City metro networks, Curran notes that his company also owns and operates an extensive proprietary network composed of long-haul DWDM equipment over which it offers customized routing services.

Curran maintains that, whether for purposes of business continuity or disaster recovery, his customers are increasingly seeking means of distributing data traffic throughout the tri-state area, without having to route it through Manhattan.

“Tied to this is that they don’t want to be in the Lincoln or the Holland tunnels,” he adds. “60 Hudson Street and those two tunnels are probably the three key areas of vulnerability in New York City, if there ever was any kind of a problem-not just terrorism, but any kind of fire or anything.”

Curran continues, “What we’re able to do is develop custom routes-we’ll take traffic north of New York City and cross the Hudson River up around Bear Mountain-close to Wappingers Falls, actually-then route the traffic back down through Westchester County, through the Bronx, underneath the Long Island Sound to Long Island and New Jersey, without going through Manhattan.”

Curran posits that this long-haul capability was a matter of significant interest to Cervalis. “Because they can then offer even more premium services to lower the risk of companies having any network interruption at all from any type of disaster, whether it be man-made or weather-related or anything like that,” he observes.

Brian Fabiano, senior vice president of network services at Optimum Lightpath, explains that the first thing his company did was to augment its existing WDM platform, to bring additional capacity up to Cervalis’s main data center in Wappingers Falls. Lightpath then also added 10 Gbits more bandwidth to its metro DWDM platform, to enable backbone data transport from the Wappingers Falls data center down to a site located in Greenburgh, NY.

“Once we had that backbone transport in place, we built a 10-Gbit optical Ethernet ring into the Cervalis location; then, off of Greenburgh, built and terminated a number of different 1-Gbit optical Ethernet rings that connected to each of Cervalis’s different customers,” says Fabiano. “We had that all turned up in less than 60 days.”

Optimum Lightpath’s metro Ethernet product line supports speeds ranging from 10 Mbits/sec to 10 Gbits/sec, delivered via fiber-optic connections that run directly to businesses’ locations. “That’s something that Lightpath monitors and maintains, 7 by 24,” notes Fabiano. “We perform all of the equipment monitoring, any type of maintenance on the equipment, and any maintenance on the actual [fiber-optic] plant itself.”

Lightpath says its Ethernet circuits can be used for high-capacity data transfer, Internet access, or a combined Internet access/voice services bundle, at a relatively inexpensive cost per bit.

For the Cervalis deployment, Fabiano says his company implemented Nortel’s Optera 5200 DWDM system, along with an optical Ethernet platform from Atrica for providing both 1-Gbit and 10-Gbit services.

“The most complicated part of delivering the remote data center solutions that Cervalis offers to the marketplace is getting-and staying-connected,” contends Cervalis’s Boccardi. “The high reliability and availability of Lightpath’s point-to-point Ethernet connectivity solution is essential to our business, and we couldn’t get anything like it from any other single vendor. Most of the ‘traditional’ telephone companies in this region offer extremely limited or inconsistent metro Ethernet services.”

The partnership between the two companies also allows Cervalis to offer its data center services to more than 4,000 businesses in approximately 2,000 commercial buildings that are already connected to Lightpath’s optical network.

“The interest to us with Cervalis is, we have a number of [recovery/continuity] sites on our network now, but they all happen to be in Long Island, New Jersey, [and] Westchester,” observes Lightpath’s Curran. “Five years ago, people were locating their traffic or outsourcing their business continuity stuff only a few miles from their location. Now customers are saying, we want to be 30, 40, 50 miles from New York City. So that’s one of the big partnership opportunities, is that we could say, ‘You could store some of your traffic this far away, it’s on a different power grid’-you know, there’s a number of reasons why it makes sense.”

“This partnership has enabled us to get additional customers that we would not have been able to connect to without the Lightpath network,” maintains Boccardi. “Our core offerings are outsourced production data center, business continuity, and disaster recovery, where a customer can put some of their own equipment in our facility and create a secondary or tertiary site for their equipment. The way we deliver those services for a customer that might already be in a Lightpath building would be to use a dedicated metro Ethernet circuit between the two locations. It has really opened up opportunities for both companies.”

“People are constantly saying, ‘What do I need new bandwidth for, other than just to keep my business operations growing?’” concludes Curran. “And clearly business continuity is, we see, one of the top two areas people are spending money on right now.”

Matt Vincent is a associate editor at Lightwave.

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