When small to midsize businesses (SMBs) think of data centers and co-location, most likely business leaders envision a huge, cold building filled with racks of servers for large, enterprise customers with deep pockets and lengthy contracts. One company is trying to change that reality and bring a simpler, more easily accessible facility to SMBs in 17 U.S. cities.
365 Data Centers (formerly 365 Main) is already a top co-location provider, but this week, the company announced big changes, including a name change, updated product offerings, new executives and a brand-new business plan.
Two of the company’s new leaders, CEO John Scanlon and CMO Keao Caindec, bring years of data center and business experience to the updated venture. Both have worked together at MCI, Yipes and Internap and have developed a reputation for bringing innovation, transformation and forward thinking to the companies they’ve worked with.
During a briefing on the new company’s offerings, Keao Caindec told me that the company has completely changed its product offerings as well as its core business toward serving SMBs. Caindec said:
“The big part of what we’re announcing is really the fact that we’re shifting our focus really to address the co-location and data center needs of small and midsize businesses—companies with fewer than a thousand employees… We think it’s a very underserved market, certainly at the national level. And we’re also making changes in terms of how we package our services and provide them to make it easier for those businesses to consumer co-location services. Moving away from those three- and five-year agreements and big cage and cabinet requirements that a lot of those big enterprise-focused co-location providers require and moving toward what we call a more cloud-like consumption model.”
The company plans to put a new spin on data center use for a lot of smaller businesses. By helping these businesses grow through affordable co-location services and commitment-free terms on contracts, 365 Data Centers seems to have found a niche that has been overlooked for many years. At a time when SMBs are proving to be the lifeblood of the country’s economy and the hope for the future of job growth, the 365 Data Centers offerings could save many SMBs money and provide resources for business expansion and efficiency.
The 17 U.S. cities where 365 Data Centers are located include tier 1 and tier 2 cities such as:
The data centers are in downtown locations and are highly connected. The company sees these cities as tech hubs where innovation and small business growth provides fuel for local economies to expand. Caindec said that the 20+ million SMBs in the U.S. require more flexibility and look for a “more local touch” when seeking to migrate systems into a data center and especially when looking to migrate to the cloud. CEO John Scanlon offered this view to me during the briefing:
“We have seen the adoption of kind of advanced technologies with SMBs really differ across the metropolitan areas in which we compete. A lot of the core Midwest of our country is just now starting to evolve into taking advantage of services that we [in the quickly evolving tech field] think of as being a bit more commodity or yesterday’s news. SMBs have come to us looking for ‘what do we do next?’ We want to help them along [the cloud] path, and not scare them with a 62-page contract and five-year commitment that other large providers are so quick to demand of that customer who is uncertain of what that next step is… That’s where we see a real mismatch when it comes to the SMB trying to make those small, incremental steps without having to make massive commitments that would lock them into a multiyear contract. That’s where we’re trying to break down those barriers. Allowing them to come in and use our services more on an as they need it [basis]. Help them migrate the component that does naturally fit within the cloud services.”
And since many SMBs can’t afford a dedicated IT staff or rely on contract help, 365 Data Centers still has them covered. Caindec explained further about the needs of smaller businesses and how SMBs can still find local assistance within this nationwide company:
“There’s a big difference between a startup in Silicon Valley that is prepared from day one to move everything into a public cloud and a small business, like a health care provider in Nashville. Small businesses may not be thinking of ‘the cloud’ per se. They’re thinking ‘how can I make sure my systems don’t go down?’ ‘I’m worried about a power outage.’ ‘ I’m worried about security and meeting HIPAA requirements.’
"…Many of them [SMBs] are looking to change their way of thinking to move their systems into public cloud environments, maybe migrating to a hosted Exchange or Gmail, but many of their systems they want to move into a data center as they grow. A lot of those systems are managed by local IT consultants, which they [SMBs] use. We also have a deep partnership with Ingram Micro—we are one of their approved vendors—so we work with their 40,000 VARs nationwide. … Certainly from a client [SMB] perspective, they absolutely do need that assistance and we provide that, but we’re also very accessible within their markets. We like to be in those local markets where people can go in and access their systems when they need to."
The 365 Data Centers are sure to provide many SMBs with a more sensible, scalable data center environment across the U.S. With SMBs being identified as the economic bread-and-butter of our nation, perhaps other data centers will follow suit and cater to the companies that make our country globally renowned for its entrepreneurial spirit.