Green House Data leadership have had a strategic vision for the company since its inception in 2007.
The provider of cloud, colocation, hybrid IT and managed services grew from a single location in the middle of the country, expanding to the East Coast and the West Coast, to provide the coverage that its international customers were looking for. While the company grew organically for its first seven years, that changed with its first acquisition in 2014. Four years later, Green House Data on Thursday announced the acquisition of Infront Consulting Group, it’s fifth in that time span.
Green House Data, an 80-person firm that serves nine U.S. markets, has headquarters in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and offices in Denver, the Pacific Northwest, Atlanta and Dallas. 17-year-old Infront of Toronto has experts in Microsoft Azure, mobility, data-center and managed services. The company also has locations in the U.S., the U.K. and Asia Pacific. The merger will increase the employee base to 125 people.
“For us, Infront represents an opportunity to continue along the path of being able to solve our clients’ challenges while they work toward their strategic shift to the cloud,” Shawn Mills, CEO of Green House Data, told us.
For now, the two companies will operate under their own names, capitalizing on each brand and growth in their respective markets. Green House Data focuses on midsize companies and SMBs with the help of about two-dozen smaller MSP partners, while Infront clients are larger billion-dollar companies with complex IT environments.
“The reason why it was a great opportunity for us to join forces with Infront is because they focus on large enterprise customers. Now we’ll have the ability to go up and down the full stack of companies, including Fortune 100 companies,” said Mills. “It was that expertise that was attractive to us.”
Whether clients want to move away from legacy applications and infrastructure, go all-in with cloud, manage Azure workloads, or employ a hybrid model, the partnership forms a company capable of helping organizations to simplify compute resources, access consulting services and optimize end-to-end application delivery. Green House Data and Infront will help their shared clients compete by extending IT teams, supporting DevOps, and being available around the clock with a "15-Minute Hear from a Human" response time service-level agreement (SLA).
“More and more enterprises we’ve worked with have requested ongoing IT management as their consulting engagement concludes,” said Rory McCaw, CEO of Infront Consulting Group. “We saw a natural fit with Green House Data’s managed services expertise and an opportunity to organically expand into a more comprehensive platform.” McCaw will retain his role with the acquisition.
Green House Data’s acquisition strategy has helped the company grow its capabilities and expand its geographic footprint. The Infront acquisition allows Green House Data to get Microsoft Azure expertise on board quickly.
While AWS is growing quickly, a survey revealed that Green House Data customers had their sights set on Azure, so the company made an initial investment in Azure for hyperscale managed services.
“We took the temperature of our customers, and they were telling us what they want, so we aligned with Infront,” Mills said. “It’s the fastest way for us to ramp up our expertise in Azure while also getting the location in Canada.”
More than one-half of Infront employees are based in Toronto — a key strategic market for Green House Data.
“We want to offer our services into the Toronto market,” Mills added.
Infront services primarily include designing and migrating workloads for clients interested in a hybrid deployment model; these customers have on-premises infrastructure and their own data centers, and they also have the need for off-site colocation infrastructure. Some have private cloud, but new workloads are going to hyperscale Azure — exactly where Green House Data is looking to bolster its services.
The latest acquisition won’t impact Green House Data’s MSP partners who are purposefully handpicked to operate in U.S. markets where the company doesn’t have a presence. Green House has been working with MSPs since 2008. Their MSPs cater to businesses with 25-250 employees and offer those clients services such as private-cloud deployments, disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) and backup as a service (BUaaS).
“We provide our MSP partners back-end infrastructure. They’re closer to the customer and provide solutions that address the unique challenges faced by small companies,” said Mills.
While Green House Data is careful about not competing with its MSPs, the company does have plans to add more MSPs in markets where it doesn’t play.
In April, the company hired David Neely as vice president of channels. His job is to expand its channel sales program and enable partners with cloud technologies and managed IT.
Green House Data says it plans to add even more expertise and expand locations.
“Our strategy is to add capability and engineering services in markets, worldwide,” said Mills.