The data center and service provider space continues to see a flurry of merger and acquisition activity. ViaWest has acquired AppliedTrust, a Boulder, Colorado-based security, consulting, and infrastructure services company.
ViaWest isn’t just a data center facilities provider; it is also a provider of more hands-on managed and cloud services. The acquisition boosts its capabilities around managed services, particularly meeting security and compliance needs of its customers. The two companies will work toward integrating their services into one another’s platforms.
AppliedTrust’s capabilities augment the ViaWest platform with fast enablement of secure hybrid services. Key services include IT assessment, migration, compliance consulting, cloud readiness, and deeper application support.
“It expands our offerings to include broader risk management and compliance consulting services, where today we focus on infrastructure services and how they fit in our compliant data center and cloud product sets,” said ViaWest CTO Jason Carolan. “It’s also scale — in an area that continues to expand rapidly with new threats and dynamic needs on a global level.”
“It’s all about speed to market — with cloud-first applications having attributes that now make sense across the application stack,” he said. “Companies are trying to move forward with continuous integration and development. We are especially finding that our mid-market customers need help to get there in order to compete.”
In order for service providers to meet these needs, they are expanding services via acquisition, said Philbert Shih, managing director of Structure Research.
“This deal and other recent ones reflect growing interest among hosting providers and data center operators to use M&A as a way to add specific capabilities and expertise in the area of managed services and consulting,” said Shih. “Hosting services are becoming more complex and multi-faceted, and service providers are moving to address the pain points that are being clearly articulated by end-user customers.”
Recent examples of professional services acquisitions include regional play Involta acquiring Data Recovery Services and Tech Data’s acquisition of professional services company Signature Technology. The larger enterprise cloud providers are also using acquisition to fill out professional services around cloud, such as IBM’s acquisition of BlueBox and Cisco’s acquisition of Piston.
There’s a sea change occurring across both infrastructure and organization. Often described as IT moving from cost center to profit center, the evolution is about treating infrastructure not as a necessary burden but as a way to gain a competitive edge.
That infrastructure edge requires the human counterpart. DevOps is driving an organizational evolution around agility, which requires infrastructure to evolve in support. Outsourcing and relying on service providers is one way to be agile in quickly evolving times. Security and compliance are a particularly big and time-consuming pain point that might be best left to a service provider.