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Comsat Max

Empowering the enterprise network

Provisioning corporate connectivity and infocom solutions is gaining importance. That is where Comsat Max, a subsidiary of Bharti Enterprises, steps in. by Newly Paul

Comsat Max packages its services portfolio as the Host, Protect, Deliver and Manage concept. The company offers co-location, Web hosting, connectivity, network management, security and disaster recovery (DR) solutions. These services are operated out of the company’s Enterprise Data Centres in Delhi and Mumbai.

Hosting services

Comsat Max’s hosting services can be broadly classified into co-location and hosting.

Standard features of the co-location service include a stable power supply, redundant gensets, redundant UPS backup, 24x7 monitoring, air-conditioned environ-ment, and fire alarm & suppression system. Hosting services fall into three categories—simple hosting for small capacity users, dedicated hosting, and shared hosting on platforms such as Windows NT, 2000, Linux and Solaris.

Comsat Max’s co-location and hosting services are SunTone- certified. According to Vinay Maheshwari, DGM, Technical Services (Connectivity) of the company, this is an advantage. “Our customers benefit from the services of a true service provider. Moreover, since we are open to varied platforms, it proves beneficial for customers who use varied platforms.”

Securing the enterprise

The company’s security offerings include managed firewall and secure business service access for corporate houses.

The managed firewall services include design, implementation and management of firewalls; Comsat Max offers Check Point and Cisco PIX firewalls.

Apart from selecting, configuring and installing the firewall and hardware, Comsat Max also offers round-the-clock monitoring services. Firewall policies are customised.

Maheshwari adds that apart from connecting clients with high-bandwidth links, the company also provides VPN services.

As part of its Secure Business Service Access (SBSA) offering, Comsat Max offers security in the form of authorisation and authentication. According to Maheshwari, this is important as networking and accessibility to customers, vendors and internal employees raise issues of unauthorised access.

The two options Comsat Max offers its clients as part of SBSA are mobile identification (mID) and mVPN. mID is a double factor authentication solution. It renders three forms of second factor login; by a downloaded token, by an installed token, or by SMS-based passwords.

mVPN enables access via a Web browser with enhanced security reach functions and applications on the internal network. It works as an application based ‘gate keeper’ and lets only authenticated and secured traffic through to internal systems. It also creates a secure tunnel for transactions. mVPN solutions have features such as zero footprint clients, no keyboard logging and no local caching.

Maxing deliverables

Apart from lowering costs, managed connectivity services ensure better monitoring and quicker control. Comsat Max uses VSATs, IP VPNs, clientless VPNs, and managed terrestrial links from infrastructure providers for its delivery services. Point-to-point and point-to-multipoint network connectivity are also possible. VSAT connectivity is available in extended C and KU bands. Bharti’s acquisition of Comsat Max means that a network of over 9,000 VSATs is available.

Preparing for the worst

DR is another service offered by Comsat Max. “In 2002, when we started providing a DR service, the concept was just gaining ground,” says Maheshwari.

Comsat Max conducts an analysis, maintenance and audit plan, and recommends DR solutions based on these. It works closely with clients in terms of devising DR programmes and the process is split into many stages

Under the ambit of DR, Comsat Max conducts an analysis, maintenance and audit plan, and recommends solutions based on these. It works closely with clients in terms of devising DR programmes and the process is split into many stages. “First, we have a meeting with all the customer’s business heads and decide which applications are critical. Then, based on our current infrastructure and input, we devise a DR plan,” says Maheshwari.

The solution formulation process consists of five steps:

1. Assessing risk and analysing business impact

2. Developing a strategic outline for recovery

3. Reviewing onsite and offsite backup and recovery

4. Developing and testing a recovery plan

5. Maintaining and auditing the plan.

The DR site can be hot, warm or cold, depending on the time period decided by the customer for data recovery. “As part of the DR programme, we conduct fire drills once every six months. We also take care to replicate the database at the main site in Delhi on a day-to-day basis,” explains Maheshwari.

The DR service is structured like an insurance-based model. The insurance premium is linked to the type of disaster solution recommended.

Managing networks

Comsat Max also provides Overseas Technical Support Services (OTSS) and Network Infrastructure Management Services (NIMS).

Under OTSS, the management solutions offered are onsite facility management services, technical support services and remote network management services. The facility management service includes IT infrastructure and vendor management, installation of new system hardware, support of servers, LAN and WAN.

Technical support services are targeted to VSAT service providers, operators, private VSAT networks, ISPs, and datacentre service providers. For technical support, the offerings include project management services, onsite support services and remote support services. The remote network management service encompasses remote, link and bandwidth monitoring, apart from remote administration and auto-escalation facilities.

NIMS includes configuration management, e-mail and voice support for specific devices. The advantages that Comsat Max says it offers its clients opting for this service are cost effectiveness, availability of expert resources and services, and monitoring and support services.

A call away

The help desk for all services offered by Comsat Max works at two levels. The first level handles basic client assistance queries. At the second level, calls are handed to the advanced technical help desk that is manned by skilled technicians.

The Max background

Established in 1995, Comsat Max was born as a result of privatisation and the accompanying boom in the telecom sector. On August 31, 1995, Comsat Max formally launched operations by starting VSAT connectivity services for corporates.

When Internet services were opened to private companies in 1999, Comsat Max got the licence to provide services to enterprises all over India. “We have been providing DAMA services since 1998, and in 1999, we started TDMA services,” says Vinay Maheshwari, DGM, Technical Services (Connectivity) of Comsat Max.

As the number of clients grew, the company changed itself to adjust to the growing market demands. “In order to address the demand for value-added services and grow in the value chain, we aligned ourselves to customer requirements and established a data centre in Delhi. In 2002, when the broadband market was emerging, we introduced our broadband product Skyblaster,” adds Maheshwari.

Another step towards expansion was the collaboration with Gilat, a satellite network company from Israel. Comsat Max has 17 points of business covering all the major Indian cities. Its chief offerings include connectivity, hosting, security and management services.

Comsat Max has been recently acquired by Bharti’s AES (Advanced Enterprise Services) group. This has increased the combined VSAT base to 9,000. Bharti also gets managed services in its portfolio of enterprise services under AES. This has made it the leading VSAT provider.

However Ramanish Kochgave, the company’s Marketing Manager, declines to comment on the rebranding options that are likely to follow this merger. “The rebranding initiative is still being debated. When mergers occur on a large scale, it takes some time for companies to get integrated,” he explains. “We shall know the final outcome in about 15-20 days, when the company merges with Airtel Enterprises.”

Clientele

Ramanish Kochgave, the company’s Marketing Manager, states that their major clients include ICICI, Citibank, Castrol, National Panasonic, Videocon, Kodak, Hero Honda and Essar.

Comsat Max has a strong overseas client base. “We started working with clients abroad about two years back,” says Maheshwari. “We have done projects in Morocco, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Madagascar and many other places.”

For their overseas clients, Comsat Max provides services such as consulting, design, implementation and training. The company also offers network consultancy and troubleshooting. “The SAARC and Africa regions have good markets for these services. Within India, we provide internal training to franchisees and sometimes to our customers, but for the overseas market training is a paid service,” concludes Maheshwari.

Newly Paul can be reached at

newlypaul@networkmagazineindia.com

 
     
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