CoreLink Partners With MSPs to Drive Colocation Growth

CoreLink Partners With MSPs to Drive Colocation Growth

CoreLink Data Centers, a colocation provider with a number of MSP customers, is looking to double its revenue and boost its service offerings in 2011. The company, which launched in 2007, acquired its initial data centers from PacWest. That deal provided facilities in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Seattle. The backing from M/C Venture Partners let CoreLink upgrade those centers to current colocation standards, noted Mike Duckett, president and chief operating officer at CoreLink.

In 2010, CoreLink added a second data center in Seattle and opened a center in the Chicago area.

“We have an engineering plan on how we will build out a data center from day one to the last day of the build out,” said Duckett, a former Terremark executive.

That, in essence, is CoreLink’s strategy: buy underdeveloped facilities and pursue improvements that meet the expectations of MSPs and enterprise IT shops. The approach is similar to Latisys formula of buying and upgrading data centers. That company was also founded in 2007.

Customer Base, Channel Effort

MSPs now account for 20 to 30 percent of CoreLink’s customer base, according to Duckett. Web hosting, SaaS and IaaS providers are among the company’s sending business CoreLink’s way .

“They are definitely a big part of what we do,” Duckett said.

CoreLink is also developing a reseller channel to extend its reach. While Corelink has a direct sales force, the company works with channel partners to tap markets that would normally fall outside its scope. For example, partners can bring in business from East Coast-based entities looking for a data center presence to serve their West Coast clients.

Duckett estimated that 40 percent of the company’s revenue and new business opportunities comes through the channel.

“Resellers get access to opportunities that many times we don’t see with our direct staff,” he said.

Next Steps

Duckett said the company this year will focus on bringing more services to its customers. That could mean adding more specialized “Smart Hands” colocation technicians. CoreLink’s Smart Hands services currently include troubleshooting, equipment installation and configuration, and moving equipment within a cabinet.

Customer feedback helps guide CoreLink’s service directions. Last year, customer demand sparked the addition of a managed security services offering. CoreLink in October announced its participation in StillSecure’s Alliance Partner Program. The arrangement provides CoreLink with a managed security offering that includes managed firewall, VPN, and IDS/IPS services as well as a Payment Card Industry compliance solution.

The addition of data centers is another possibility. Duckett said the company is always watching, but noted that it isn’t easy to find centers with upgrade potential. Regional market conditions are another concern. Duckett said he is wary of areas with lots of capacity and the possibility of supply outstretching demand. He pointed to the DC region and Northern New Jersey as examples.

Data center expansion seems to be continuing apace, following last year’s spurt. CoreLink’s engineering approach, which emphasizes modular growth, and scrutiny of markets could provide it some protection if the data center sector over builds.

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