In the past several years we've seen a number of major deals among data center equipment vendors and service providers seeking to create a "one-stop shop," hoping to build deeper relationships with their data center customers.
One of the biggest of these deals was Schneider Electric's $6.1 billion acquisition of American Power Conversion (APC), which closed in early 2007. Schneider says it is beginning to leverage the company's full array of data center offerings as it works with major data center operators.
"The thing that's interesting now is the level of integration and breadth of offering we can bring to this," said John de Pippo, a solutions VP at Schneider who also is a Senior VP for Software and Services at APC. "We can offer a lot of ways a customer can get energy efficiency throughout its operations. Schneider really has the ability to do that with all the resources it has."
An example is the company's relationship with Switch Communications, which is building the 407,000 square foot SuperNAP in Las Vegas. Switch is buying up to 60 APC 1.4 megawatt UPS units and potentially thousands of server racks, as well as Square D circuit breakers and controllers and Pelco security products.
Schneider isn't alone in expanding through acquisitions.
- HP has also been building its data center product and service portfolio through acquisition, including a $1.6 billion deal for Opsware ,the acquisition of EYP Mission Critical for its design/build expertise, and its $13.9 billion merger with EDS.
- Eaton has grown through its acquisitions of Powerware, Pulizzi Engineering, Aphel and the MGE Small Systems Unit.
- Emerson Network Power (EMR) acquired Aperture, a leading provider of data center management software, which will expand its offerings to data center clients using its Liebert line of power and cooling products. Emerson also pursued a deal for UK UPS specialist Chloride.
"It's an arms race between us, Group Schneider, Eaton and others in this space to prove that value proposition to our customers," said Jack Pouchet, the Director of Energy Initiatives for Emerson Network Power's Liebert business. "Aperture fits into everything we do, and we see it playing a more significant role in data center asset management. We see that there's going to be a significant play to an integrated, systematic approach to the data center."
Sometimes that integrated approach involves deeper partnerships with a handful of major vendors, who must then work together collectively to support the client. That's what happened with RagingWire Enterprise Solutions in Sacramento, which in early 2007 formed strategic partnerships with its major equipment suppliers, including Emerson Network Power (UPS and CRACs), Schneider Electric's Square D (circuit breakers), Johnson Controls' York unit (chillers) and Cummins Inc. (generators). "For us it was about account management