Service provider Anexia’s journey to a brand new European network

Cloud service provider Anexia was founded in Austrian Klagenfurt just over a decade ago. Today the company serves local and international clients from offices in Vienna, Munich, Cologne and New York City. Theo Voss, Head of Network and Infrastructure, explains how a fast-growing client base and the demand for transporting increasingly more traffic over the network, made Anexia embark on a significant journey:

– It all started three years ago. To strengthen our customer offering and be able to continuously provide high-quality hosting services, we decided to create a brand-new European backbone network! We also saw the need for building a network with an even thicker skin, protecting our network and customers against security attacks.


Theo Voss, Head of Network and Infrastructure Anexia

To create the new network Theo Voss and colleagues turned to integration partner Xantaro who in turn pointed in the directions of Juniper Networks for their MX-Series routers and Smartoptics for their innovative DWDM networking solutions.

- The entrepreneurial spirit of both Xantaro and Smartoptics was definitely a key decision factor when choosing partners for our new network. I felt early on that our companies and people all share the same mindset. We all have a clear focus on developing and deploying solutions that are the best for us as a service provider and, even more importantly, our end-customers.

According to Voss, the close cooperation between the three companies with opportunities for mutual knowledge exchange throughout the project was vital for success:

- We have done everything together, from initial brainstorming to lab tests, and have all been willing to learn from each other. On a journey as important as this it was essential for us to work with companies that share our passion for innovative networking and are thinking in the same way as we do.

A cost-efficient solution for a cost-conscious company

Today, Anexia’s new backbone network reaches from Vienna to Nuremberg and Frankfurt. With the Smartoptics’ open line solution and DWDM connectivity embedded directly into the routers, data center locations in all metropolitan areas are connected over redundant DWDM systems. The possibility to combine different types of services, Fibre Channel, 10G, 100G and, if needed, even 1T in the same platform is another key advantage according to Theo Voss:

- We are a fast-growing, cost-conscious company. We need to spend our money where we get the most in return. The possibility to use the same solution to cater for different clients’ individual needs, without the need to invest in a dedicated system for each technology, was also a key success factor, explains Theo Voss.

But infrastructure cost is not everything to Anexia. To control both operational cost and service quality, the service provider has always been eager to operate their own network, rather than to rent capacity.

- Being directly responsible for all services, down to layer one in the network, gives as the control and the flexibility we need. Should we face a problem in the network or in delivering our service we don’t open a ticket. We take care of the maintenance ourselves which makes us much faster than if we would need to escalate to someone else, Voss states.

Automation paves the way for advanced customers services

While most actors in the market try to streamline their offerings and limit their product and service portfolios to achieve a cost-efficient setup, Theo Voss explains how Anexia is moving in the opposite direction.

- We want to be a one-stop-shop for our corporate customers when it comes to networking and communication services. To do this we need to provide a wide range of different services. We realised that by automating the service-setup we can do this and still run an efficient operation.

By providing an API that allows Anexia to integrate all networking equipment directly to its management and provisioning systems, Smartoptics has been instrumental in realizing the vision. Through automation, new services can be provisioned to clients without the need to log on to different services manually or sending engineers around the world.

- We have also launched a customer self-service portal within our Anexia Engine where our clients can order new services and control their network settings directly, rather than having to call or mail in to place an order. Services can be booked or cancelled at any time. Within minutes the network is quickly and flexibly adapted to the requirements of each customer. We save both time and cost and can get new services to market faster than our competitors. Automation clearly means less work for us and a smoother experience for our clients!

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