Xantaro was founded more than 15 years ago. Would you say you are firmly established in the market?

That depends on which market you mean. In the carrier market, we are an established player. Everyone knows us and our enormous competences, so we don't need any big advertising campaigns to raise our profile. In contrast, the situation is completely different in the enterprise market. There, the name Xantaro is hardly known. However, this market has only recently come into our focus.


Why did you decide to devote more attention to the enterprise segment?

The decisive factor was a project with a technology group based in Germany. Our partner Juniper had brought us in because the original IT service provider only wanted to handle a part of the upcoming order, the WLAN networking. However, the technology group needed more comprehensive support to modernise the company's IT.

After evaluating the requirements, we came to the conclusion that a central component of the solution was a powerful and dynamic data centre. In the course of the project, we realised that such a project is a huge challenge for both the client and traditional integration partners. This is because under the bonnet of a data centre fabric, carrier technologies are used, such as BGP (Border Gateway Protocol), MPLS (Multi protocol label switching) and EVPNs (Ethernet Virtual Private Network). For many IT service providers in the corporate environment, this is completely new territory - we, on the other hand, have grown up with these technologies and the complex tasks associated with them.


As a result, you have now founded a new business unit?

Originally, our focus was on operators of telecommunications infrastructures and public data centres. In the meantime, however, we have also won corporate customers from time to time, almost always on recommendation.

On the one hand, we have seen that the requirements in the enterprise segment are constantly growing and that these can best be solved with carrier technologies. On the other hand, we cannot handle such projects "on the side" in the long run. Today we know that there are numerous companies with extremely high demands on the network infrastructure. Therefore, we decided to address this market segment with our own business unit. In the meantime, we have found a Business Unit manager in Stephan Wippermann, who, as a long-standing HP and IBM employee, both brings the necessary expertise and is a well-known and respected figure in the IT industry. Under his leadership, our new business unit will convince enterprise customers facing complex tasks in the IT sector of the performance of our expert teams and the advantages of working with Xantaro. The list of our reference customers is now very respectable.


Is there really still room for a Xantaro when, on the one hand, manufacturers are courting customers and, on the other hand, IT service providers have often been set for years?

Not even the manufacturers themselves have enough resources to address all potential customers and familiarise them with the relevant topics. In our experience, enterprise integrators are often more into hardware-based solutions and simpler integration concepts, but not familiar with more complex technologies. But only with these can extreme requirements for reliability, availability, bandwidths, latency, manageability, flexibility, etc. be permanently established.

To do this, you have to be deeply involved in the technologies: understand protocols and the mechanics of network functions, establish interaction between different technical layers of the network, plus the different transmission paths - packet infrastructure, optical infrastructure, wireless infrastructure up to 5G campus networks. This requires much more than just "data sheet knowledge" - and this is exactly what distinguishes us, because we come from the carrier sector and have been confronted with requirements at the highest level for a long time.


Where do you see the differences between carrier and enterprise customers?

With a carrier, you are usually sitting opposite someone who is deeply involved in communications technology and knows the procedures and protocols very well, after all, we are talking about the production infrastructure, the heart of every carrier. To be taken seriously there, you have to have extremely deep know-how. Enterprise customers also have a different focus on technology. They also have specialists, but more for automation solutions and software development, for the production processes and the IT infrastructure in general. Data centres are part of their remit, but corporate IT departments do not focus on the associated technologies. Therefore, they cannot continuously survey the market in this area, find and evaluate up-to-the-minute solutions, and then choose what is best for their own company.


Enterprise customers certainly have different tasks than carriers, don't they?

Yes, of course. While the carrier usually formulates more technical requirements that need to be implemented, with the enterprise customer you first have to clarify the operational challenges and then translate these into a technical solution. An important aspect for enterprise customers is also how to achieve economic advantages.


And where are the similarities?

In both fields, we are moving today in highly available environments that must function without interruption - this applies to a globally networked company as well as to the telephone network of a Versatel or Vodafone. You can't just open a maintenance window and shut everything down to install a few routers and then put everything through its paces. That's why the solution we install has to be implemented during ongoing operations and work properly right from the start. It must not happen that the system crashes or that it only becomes apparent after commissioning that it still needs to be reworked.


How do you ensure this?

For one thing, we have our own technical laboratory in Frankfurt/Main, where we can simulate customer environments and put our customised solutions through their paces. There are load generators there, for example, with which we can run scaling tests, load tests, etc.. This allows us to reliably demonstrate that a concept works for 1,000 computers as well as for 10,000 or 100,000 computers. This way, the customer can also get a demo in advance to see that all requirements are met before the solution goes live in the company. Secondly, because of our history in the carrier sector, we are practised in working in demanding, high-availability environments.


And what happens if a network fails?

We have geared our service to meet these requirements, with our own TAC (Technical Assistance Centre) to find workarounds faster than a manufacturer can process the ticket. This is a big competitive advantage over many vendors. With us, our own trained system engineers are ready 24/7 to provide carrier-quality support, and with some manufacturers we have a direct line to their advanced TAC if more in-depth support is needed.

Conversely, manufacturers also use our lab, where we can recreate customer problems and test workarounds. Since we know the customers' networks and their applications, this can save them an extremely large amount of time and money.


Why do you believe in the success of the Enterprise Unit?

First of all, the market demand is continuously increasing: Companies above a certain size need high-performance networks. They form the backbone for all digital enterprise applications. However, even large companies cannot provide the necessary competences in the form of specialised employees. This is where specialists like Xantaro come into play. Our experts always bring the necessary skills to the project.

Another important point is that we do not enter into any sales obligations with our technology suppliers. So there is no pressure for us to achieve certain goals and possibly sell a customer something that does not solve his problem 100%. Our clear strategy is to develop the best possible solution. This is not necessarily bound to a certain manufacturer. We have already proven many times that we can do this. Among others, also with large companies, where we have successively earned a position as "trusted advisor". This is only possible with the right team on board, high investments in the training and further education of our employees and the "spirit" of our teams, which has inspired me time and again since the foundation.

We will continue on this path - and also achieve in the enterprise segment what we have already succeeded in doing in the carrier market.

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