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Seeking business near home

John Seelmeyer

Redundant Networks competes on a

national playing field, but it found a measure

of success when it decided to focus first

on the home folks.

The company, which provides highly

secure, highly reliable sites for corporate

data centers, launched an aggressive initiative

to search for customers within a

stone’s throw of its corporate headquarters

in Reno.

Results of the initiative aren’t fully

known this is, after all, something more

than an impulse purchase on the part of

executives but Redundant generated

some good prospects.

And perhaps as important, the initiative

instilled a sales ethic throughout the company,

said Janice Fetzer, Redundant’s vice

president of operations.

“We had people in our network operations

group doing sales. At first, they grumbled.

But they got real excited. It was a lot

of fun,” Fetzer said.

Throughout the organization, she said,

the Reno-area sales initiative taught

employees to listen to customers and

figure how Redundant could meet customers’

needs.

And one of the company’s sales executives

said the tight geographic focus got

Redundant thinking about possible customers

outside its usual marketing

channels.

For instance, Redundant employees

made contact with a company that owns a

number of newspapers around the region,

said Paul Ream, a senior account executive

for the company. Redundant also deepened

its conversations with medical-service

providers. Neither of those industries had

been high on the list of prospects.

Those contacts came after Redundant

screened a data base of about 700 Renoarea

companies and identified 90 good

prospects. From that list of 90 prospects, it

won six appointments to make full-scale

presentations.

Those presentations will focus on the

security of Redundant’s data centers at

Reno and Raleigh, N.C.

How secure?

To get into the Reno data center in the

Reno/Tahoe Tech Center, for instance, visitors

stop in a “man trap” a room from

which all exits are locked where they’re

given the once-over before a security guard

lets them depart.

Inside, Redundant

employees monitor

the data center

around the clock.

Fire alarms, meanwhile,

are so sensitive that customers setting

up gear in one of the center’s wire

cages aren’t allowed to unpack cardboard

boxes in the data center. The cardboard

dust from the boxes would be enough to

trigger the alarms.

Software protection tools some of

them proprietary are just as rigorous.

The sales presentations to Reno businesses

also will focus on the reliability of

the data centers.

The company’s name Redundant

hints at its strategy. The data centers

at Reno and Raleigh mirror one another.

If one center fails, the other provides

immediate backup.

The two cities were chosen because

they’re widely separated, have excellent

proximity to fiber optic networks and

have good Internet access, Redundant

officials have said.

The individual centers also are configured

to provide reliable service with

uninterrupted power supplies and backup

telephone service.

Redundant officials have said that

businesses nationwide became much

more aware of the need for business

continuity after the Sept. 11, 2001,

attacks.