ByteGrid's New CEO on Expanding Beyond Wholesale Data Center Services
Raised floor in ByteGrid’s Silver Spring, Maryland, data center (Photo: ByteGrid)

ByteGrid's New CEO on Expanding Beyond Wholesale Data Center Services

The company is moving from wholesale to "wholeservice" and has a new CEO and CFO to help it along

ByteGrid’s executive-team changes reflect the changing nature of the data center provider business. The company started as a wholesale data center services play but has recently been moving up the stack into compliance-focused services. The new CEO and CFO both come with experience in developing a services business alongside a data center facilities business.

Michael Duckett, who was named CEO in June, took over for the company's co-founder Ken Parent, who became vice chairman of the board. Duckett was formerly COO at CyrusOne. His other prior roles included president and COO at CoreLink Data Centers and senior vice president for Terremark, a data center provider Verizon acquired in 2011.

“What attracted me to ByteGrid was the platform that they put in place both organically through data centers, then inorganically through services acquisition of NetRiver and Sidus,” said Duckett. “As a result, we are positioned to bring a full service capability to market. Our focus is on how we attack the business on a national basis versus just the local and regional markets where our centers are located.”

New CFO Jay Sinder formerly worked with Duckett at Corelink. Sinder joked it was a “three-year job interview between the two of us.” Sinder is fairly new to the data center space -- with six years under his belt -- but he was a telecom executive for over two decades.

Duckett said his career has largely involved companies moving up the stack to accelerate growth. During his time at Terremark, Duckett was instrumental in helping the company move from a pure colocation and connectivity focus to a a full services technology play to move up the stack, acquiring hosting providers Dedigate (Europe) and Data Return (US-Dallas).

“When you think about wholesale data center, it’s a low-touchpoint, landlord-tenant-type relationship,” said Duckett. “In the services arena, it’s high-touch in how you’re serving from both a technology standpoint as well as a customer service standpoint. This evolutional change requires strong leadership and experience at all levels of the company to effectively bridge the large gap between traditional wholesale colocation and managed services."

The push beyond wholesale data center services isn’t so much a change in direction for ByteGrid, as it is an aggressive push along the same path. ByteGrid acquired Maryland-based Sidus in March, getting into compliant hosting and cloud services. ByteGrid previously acquired Seattle data center provider NetRiver in July 2014, which also came with a managed services capability.

What started as a real estate play has morphed into a real estate and IT solutions play. The trend of expanding into multiple disciplines isn’t limited to regional and secondary-market wholesale providers. Digital Realty, the biggest wholesale data center provider in the world, acquired colocation and interconnection specialist Telx just this week, for example, and Duckett expects it’s a trend that will continue.

“It’s a great industry to be in, with endless opportunities, and as with all sustainable industries, it’s morphing a bit to keep pace with market demands," said Duckett. “Recent deals including the big M&A deal this week is an example of that; there’s a transition happening again.”

Duckett said ByteGrid will maintain its differentiation through focusing on highly compliant and secure data center services.

“The acquisition of Sidus and what they’ve accomplished with healthcare and life sciences is the foundation of that,” he said. “When you look at the requirements to be successful and the rigor on the compliance side needed in healthcare, that bridges well to so many industries and companies. Foundationally, Sidus started where it’s hardest to start in highly compliant and secure cloud services. We’re integrating that into all our data centers.”

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