Latisys is on the expansion track once again, adding 72,000 square feet of data center space and rolling out an infrastructure-as-a-service cloud. The company, built on acquisitions, embarked in 2009 on a colocation, managed hosting and managed services strategy. The company in 2010 obtained more capacity for those services, purchasing or expanding data centers in the Washington, D.C. area, Chicago and Orange County, Calif.

Latisys continues to offer a mix of colocation, hosting and managed services under what the company terms "IT outsourcing solutions." Growth continues in both computing real estate and service lines.

Here are the details:
  • Latisys says it is adding 72,000 square feet of IT infrastructure space. The company’s seven data centers will exceed 500,000 square feet of capacity.
  • Here’s how the expansion plays out regionally: Northern Virginia (build out) -- 26,000 square feet of new space available Q3; Chicago (build out) -- 10,000 square feet of new space available Q4; Denver (new data center) -- 23,000 square feet of new space available Q4; Southern California (build out), 13,000 square feet of new space available Q4.
  • Latisys’ private cloud service targets mid-market and enterprise customers. The company describes its cloud as providing “pay-as-you-go IT infrastructure through a self-service portal.”
  • Latisys, which announced the data center expansion program March 26, also reported a new customer: BlueCava, a company that provides a device identification platform. Latisys said it is providing colocation, managed hosting, managed firewalls, corporate network services, managed storage, managed load balancing and monitoring.
New Way To Innovate

Latisys’ move to the cloud is a recurring pattern among service providers. Jonathan Sharp, vice president of products and strategic alliances at Latisys, acknowledged that the market has become saturated with virtualized and cloud-based offerings.

“Innovation is not about technology anymore,” Sharp said. Instead, the pursuit of innovation has shifted from technology to the way in which solutions are designed and delivered, Sharp explained. Services must be tailored to meet customers’ business requirements, now and in the future, he said.

The larger service providers, however, are “forcing customers into a rigid, one-size-fits-all model,” Sharp added. Flexibility as competitive edge has occurred to other service providers as well. Lanham Napier, CEO at Rackspace, noted a while back that his company offers a greater degree of flexibility than traditional outsourcers such as IBM and HP.

Business model innovation, while important, isn’t the only way to stand out. Sharp pointed to data center architecture and the ability to attract and retain technical talent as differentiators. In addition, the ability to craft solutions to meet specific business objectives requires at the very least consultative selling and possibly a consulting group that can custom fit managed services and cloud offerings. Vertical market expertise provides another avenue for differentiation, especially as cloud providers move from supporting test and dev environments to specialized production applications.