Edge Innovation Of The Year
What are your product/solution’s key distinguishing features and/or USP?
Pulsant’s edge platform is the UK’s only true, next-generation edge platform, purpose-built to bring together the fast-expanding ecosystem of SaaS providers and thousands of regional businesses and organisations beyond the main cloud hubs. It is future-proofing organisations for the roll-out of 5G and the growth of platform-based solutions across every sector.
The platform consists of 12 regional edge data centres that we own and manage across the UK. What makes us different to many providers is our nationwide coverage. Where many providers are very focused around the London area, including Slough, our sites cover the spread of the UK. Our 12 strategically-sited data centres stretch from London to Scotland providing unmatched coverage to 95% of the population with sub-five-to-ten millisecond latency. This positions us very strongly in terms of being a platform for edge application delivery and fills the infrastructure gap between regional businesses and innovative software providers, overcoming the digital divide between the regions and the main public cloud hubs in London.
Connected by high-speed 100Gbps Zayo fibre, the Pulsant edge platform has full national route-diversity to ensure resilience in the event of an outage in any location. It sits between the on-ramp for public cloud and network-to-network interfaces with more than 30 telecommunications companies and ISPs. It already has a functioning edge ecosystem of specialists in microservices, containerisation and virtualisation.
The position of Pulsant at the edge of the regional cloud gives it a unique advantage, being at the sweet spot between the requirement for compute and storage capabilities, the demand for low latency, and the public cloud. Many business applications will still need to backhaul data to the public cloud. Pulsant enables businesses to achieve this at lower cost at a time when many enterprises are switching IT expenditure from Capex to Opex and looking to achieve greater cost control of their cloud resources in hybrid environments.
The Pulsant edge platform also has highly secure connectivity which it is strengthening through the roll-out of SD-WAN architecture, which will also further optimise application performance for end-users.
The company is also investing in a Next Generation Enterprise Cloud Platform to improve the way clients host and access different applications. It will enable businesses to unify and optimise their cloud and edge portfolio by providing a “single pane of glass” central view of all resources across private and public infrastructures. Businesses will obtain a holistic view of every application in a hybrid infrastructure, covering expenditure, performance, user-experience and security.
For application and service providers, Pulsant Edge provides the robust, regional platform architecture that will power their growth, removing the current requirement for on-premises-based workarounds. It will transform how they deliver their software applications and enable them to open up new markets.
Although it is a national organisation large enough to meet organisations’ requirements, Pulsant’s strong local presence in each region ensures it delivers a bespoke service to each client.
What tangible impact has your product/solution had on the market and your customers?
Pulsant is enabling clients and partners to access the benefits of edge computing, regardless of their location. The edge platform’s network of regional data centres enables organisations to connect to the UK’s digital edge, allowing hosting and processing to take place closer to where businesses operate.
This removes a range of traditional barriers to growth for application builders and service providers, such as latency, the management of ever-increasing data volumes, the cost of data transport, and data sovereignty. A legal technology vendor, specialising in case management and CRM software is using the Pulsant edge platform to deliver its solutions to law firms across the country for example.
Software vendors adopting Pulsant have a purpose-built platform which fulfils their edge requirements, providing full national coverage. This gives them the robust and scalable, low latency, high bandwidth infrastructure they need for their applications to become commercially viable and move beyond pilot stage.
They no longer have to choose between latency and performance. Conventionally, where latency is low, compute and storage capacity is costly. This forces application developers to place more computing power on devices than they would like. This is still costly, is a security risk and increases weight – a significant drawback in use cases requiring wearable or hand-held functionality.
The Pulsant edge platform by contrast, combines low latency with high performance and storage capacity, enabling application builders to develop a platform architecture that sits in the edge data centre and achieves greater uptake through its speed and availability. Many applications, however, still need to locate part of their architecture in the cloud and to backhaul data to the major cloud vendors’ hubs. Pulsant’s edge platform fully enables this capability through its data centres’ high-speed connection to the public cloud.
Regional enterprises using the Pulsant edge platform can fully exploit real-time, hyperlocal data to build new business models and services, as well as optimising their existing operations. They are able to take full advantage of Pulsant’s flexibility by “right-placing” their workloads for efficiency, cost-reduction and protection of sensitive data.
Pulsant also offers clients full confidence to maintain data sovereignty and security. All sites are PCI-compliant and ISO accredited and clients know their data and infrastructure is easily accessible and always in the UK, with no transmissions outside as is common with other data centres. Each Pulsant data centre is carrier-neutral, and partnership with Megaport guarantees fast cloud connectivity.
What are the major differentiators between your product/solution and those of your primary competitors?
A key differentiator for Pulsant is that its platform is designed for the demands of edge computing and is not a rebadged collection of locations of varying capacity and effectiveness. Total capacity across the network is 12 megawatts.
Pulsant’s edge focus is on the mid-market, and unlike competitors’ offerings, the Pulsant edge platform is built for the UK. The UK focus is important for businesses concerned about data sovereignty or those in highly regulated industries.
By addressing the mid-market, the Pulsant edge platform supports regional businesses that have struggled to achieve best results from their relationships with the hyperscalers. Latency remains a problem as does access to the major cloud vendors’ elaborate ecosystems of specialist vendors, suppliers and consultancies. Many regional enterprises are large enough to have complex infrastructure and data challenges but often lack large technology teams. They are undergoing a shift to hybrid solutions, but more than 50% still have on-premises workloads.
Because of the coverage we have, we are positioned perfectly to be the platform of choice for service providers that are trying to reach regional businesses. For service-providers, Pulsant’s edge platform provides UK coverage from a single contract, which is important as the enterprise shift to hybrid continues. Service-providers want edge capabilities to meet this demand, which Pulsant is uniquely well-placed to supply. When it comes to distributed applications across the UK, we get coverage that other providers don't.
Pulsant understands each client, their business objectives and goals and will tailor services to each set of business requirements.
Please supply any supportive quotes and/or case study materials to demonstrate the value of this product/solution to your customers/partners
Awareness of edge computing and what it enables is still low as the technology is so new. Even prospects who could benefit from edge infrastructure might not know what edge can deliver for them. But in order to make the edge a reality, Pulsant has invested £12 million to create the UK’s edge computing platform. Our commitment to edge computing, and our customers and partners can be demonstrated by both our significant investment in the platform, and in investment in Pulsant as a company.
In July 2021, Pulsant was acquired by Antin Infrastructure Partners, a leading private equity firm specialising exclusively in critical infrastructure. The company sees Pulsant’s nationwide presence, as uniquely well-placed to seize the huge potential for edge computing in the UK and to meet the growing demand for hybrid IT infrastructure.
In the last 12 months, as a business we have made the following significant investments to support market evolution, the demand for edge infrastructure and our edge computing strategy:
• An £8 million investment in a new national network to connect our network of UK data centres across via Zayo’s high-performance fibre network. This enables clients to access and benefit from connections to the edge, no matter where they are located or where their business takes place.
Talking about the benefits Zayo’s Managing Director of Europe, Jesper Aagaard says: “Pulsant’s impressive network of data centres serving businesses in every region across the UK will be critical to meet the growing demands of edge cloud traffic. Coupled with Zayo’s unique, low latency fibre network, this digital infrastructure will drive the next evolution of edge computing and bring its benefits to customers.”
• The acquisition of a Manchester data centre and associated clients from M247 Limited. Located in one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the UK and Europe, the acquisition supports Pulsant’s strategy of geographic expansion, enabling the company to extend its edge platform to the city and the North-West.
• A partnership with Exertis to offer Pulsant’s network of interconnected UK edge data centres to channel partners, enabling resellers to better serve those customers looking to enable data, applications and content to be processed and managed at the network edge. With end-user organisations increasingly looking to decentralise data and workloads, resellers will be able to capitalise on this transition and reclaim profit streams lost to public cloud services.
• The acquisition of Reading-based data centre and cloud services provider Amito to further strengthen our presence in the South East of England - a strategically important location for clients that will continue to drive much of the UK’s economic activity. This acquisition means we can continue to build the UK’s edge computing platform and bolster our scale and capacity in the region, which will become increasingly important as businesses embrace edge computing and demand increases.
We’re also proud to be working with our customers, especially at enterprise level to continue to build awareness of edge benefits – and our sales team are working hard with customers to spot possible use cases. The most common ones we’ve come across, include:
• Real time: A low latency use case: e.g. online gaming; need for real-time decision-making
• A new app: An ISV developing a new app (which is likely to be built for distributed architecture) that an enterprise would benefit from.
• Regulation/data security concerns: A use case that requires UK (or even local) data residency (eg due to GDPR), e.g. processing footage from security cameras guarding critical national infrastructure
• Locality/Data volumes: High volumes of data racking up huge bandwidth costs if not processed locally