As more and more businesses pivot to hybrid cloud architectures, data center colocation providers are working to make sure their platforms jive with hybrid models. But they are doing so in different ways. To assess the state of hybrid cloud within the colocation market, Data Center Knowledge is interviewing a series of data center providers about their strategies for positioning their colocation platforms to enable customers’ hybrid cloud strategies.
Hybrid cloud is a diverse space in need of flexible -- you might even say personalized -- solutions.
That's the message from Chris Downie, CEO of Flexential, one of the largest US data center colocation providers. The company has built a hybrid cloud and hybrid IT strategy around a wide range of offerings that can be tailored to each customer's unique needs. And they include services that aren’t necessarily used in conjunction with Flexential's data center infrastructure.
Flexential pitches itself as a colocation provider "whose IT solutions and expertise go beyond the traditional four walls of a data center," of which it operates 40 across 19 US locations. In addition to providing colocation space, it offers a network backbone, FlexAnywhere, that can be used to deliver 100 gigabit connectivity to a variety of locations beyond the Flexential data center network.
The provider has invested heavily in its managed services capabilities as well. It offers a variety of services for building private and hybrid clouds, as well as solutions like Desktop-as-a-Service and managed disaster recovery.
Flexential delivers some of these using public cloud infrastructure rather than its own data centers. For instance, its managed container service runs on AWS.
Broad Approach to Hybrid Cloud Colocation
Downie sees investment in such a wide range of offerings as key to Flexential’s ability to deliver hybrid solutions that meet its customers' diverse needs.
"A one-size-fits-all strategy simply doesn’t work in IT, as every enterprise has different data needs," he told DCK. "Flexential helps businesses realize the value of both personalized cloud, colocation, and connectivity options and provide the best for their workloads."
Some customers use Flexential's data center offerings or managed services to build out hybrid architectures, while others use FlexAnywhere to connect workloads hosted in other data centers with public cloud platforms. Some of course use both.
Personalization and Customization
By offering multiple independent hybrid cloud solutions, Flexential is differentiating itself from colocation providers that don't offer the same level of bespoke or purpose-built hybrid services.
"Flexential uniquely tailors all environments to meet enterprise needs, keeping personalization and customization at the forefront," Downie said.
He added that Flexential's strength in the hybrid ecosystem lies in its ability to have a team of experts evaluate its customers' unique needs, then deliver solutions (including infrastructure, managed services, or both) that meet each organization's cost, scalability, agility, performance, security, and compliance goals.
"Unlike many other colocation providers, Flexential offers expert public cloud consultants and engineers that can help customers develop and maintain true hybrid IT platforms," Downie said.
Bespoke Solutions from a Big Colo
Flexential's focus on maintaining such a broad array of hybrid-oriented solutions and customizing them to individual customers is perhaps a bit surprising, given that the company is a relatively large colocation provider. Most other large colos tend to focus on hybrid cloud infrastructure solutions much more than they do on managed services.
For businesses with generic hybrid cloud needs -- meaning those that just want to run basic workloads in a colocation facility and connect them to a public cloud in some way -- Flexential may not offer anything that others don't also provide. But for companies with truly unique or specific hybrid cloud infrastructure priorities, Flexential's combination of infrastructure solutions with consultative managed services may be a compelling offering.