Pacific Northwest data center operator Digital Fortress is moving up the stack into managed services. The company also announced two big colocation deals with undisclosed companies in Seattle totaling almost 1 megawatt.
CEO Matt Gerber joined the company last September to help lead the building of managed services and cloud businesses. Many mid-tier data centers are finding customers are requesting more than power and pipe, so many regional players are extending beyond facility management.
However, it’s not as simple as offering new services – a company must make an organizational shift as well. To this end, it hired key talent in the form of new vice president of Sales and Marketing Steve Voit and new vice president of operations Robi Johnson.
Voit is a former T-mobile executive who will be charged with expanding customer base and product lines. Johnson was instrumental in helping 2nd Watch develop and operate a top AWS partner managed cloud business, and will be instrumental in building the managed services practice at Digital Fortress.
The challenges with building a managed services business are the skillsets that are required to step up and across the stack, said CEO Gerber, and both hires are key to that organizational shift.
Digital Fortress will first begin offering core IT infrastructure management. A natural extension of what it already provides, it will extend monitoring and managing, showing how well customer infrastructure is running down to disk utilization, providing more proactive hands on help with getting up running, and monthly maintenance like patching. The company has engaged with a handful of existing customers as well as a proof of concept with one of its largest customers, said Gerber.
In terms of cloud offerings, Gerber said the company is still in the evaluation stages in terms of potential private cloud offerings and that it will also offer managed public cloud alongside colocation and hands on management.
“While colocation is showing healthy growth, we do see this great secular rotation out of retail colo and into cloud,” said Gerber. “If you’re going to be a successful operator, you need to be on the receiving end or help the customers ascending into that.”
In terms of the two recent colocation deals, Gerber couldn’t disclose the names or the sectors of the companies involved in the deal, but said that it was one of the largest data center deals in play for Seattle for the last 12 months.
The company was created in 2012 when two local operators named Fortress and Digital Forest merged. The merged company then acquired 18,000 square feet of additional space in a downtown Seattle facility, which it upgraded to the tune of millions of dollars.
“We’re always actively looking at other markets,” said Gerber. “When you look at our vision for the business going forward, the model we’re creating here in the northwest is applicable globally.”