Storage services provider GlassHouse Technologies has been buying other companies. There was a Chicago-based server virtualisation company, an Israeli-based company in the database area, and now DCMI (Data Centre Moves International), which is involved in datacentre migrations and re-modelling.
GlassHouse UK MD Paul Hammond explains that GlassHouse has changed. Whereas it used to be a storage services company it is now an infrastructure services company, layering server virtualisation, database and now datacentre skills onto the existing storage services base.
DCMI is, was, a 25-man concern with tools and methodologies to model datacentre refreshes and redesigns, such as consolidating servers. GlassHouse was involved in a BT contract and encountered DCMI there, where it was involved in datacentre changes.
Hammond said: "We were working on a project in BT; fixing some backup problems. DCMI was working there as well. We got involved with consolidation and we also knew some of the guys that set up DCMI."
The complementary nature of the two firms business was realised and eventually an acquisition was decided upon: "Initially we had a view to partnership, to be more efficient. As we talked we became more knowledgeable and ownership made more sense."
The terms of the acquisition, by one private company of another, were not disclosed although it was not an all-cash deal.
What does it mean for GlassHouse? One result is that it can now participate in green datacentre work. However, in Hammond's view, this is not basically driven by green issues per se. CIOs, he says, have faced power cost hikes, with the annual electricity bill rising from one percent to seven percent of their IT spend. They may not actually be consuming any more power but they are spending a lot more money on power.
He says: "If a CIO can take two percent off the power bill it can add up to millions of pounds." By undertaking server consolidation though virtualisation and better storage utilisation through networked storage the CIO can reduce a power bill.
Coincidentally his company's board may have adopted a green wish or two, such as having a carbon footprint reduction goal. Server and storage consolidation projects which reduce power needs slide perfectly under that green umbrella but are not driven by it. Hammond said: "It's another Y2K thing in a way."
With the DCMI methodologies and tool the results of server and storage consolidation can be modeled in terms of power needs. What is the result if I take out five racks in my datacentre and re-design the layout of the remaining racks? The tool can calculate physical footprint reductions and also power needs after changes. The DCMI people can run analyses to find datacentre hot spots and so redirect cooling activities to better deal with them.
Hammond says BT is involved initiatives around fresh air cooling of datacentres. The company is also setting up a wind farm off the Kent coast. It's electricity bill is huge with Hammond saying that BT uses 0.7 percent of the UK's entire power supply.
GlassHouse did not buy DCMI specifically to become better involved in the greening of datacentres. What it has found is that, with its new-found set of datacentre infrastructure change skills, it is well-positioned to advise clients on the power consumption consequences of data centre re-modeling and can suggest ways of re-modeling that optimise power consumption.
Storage services are still part of the GlassHouse mix but now form a skills segment alongside other specialities such as server virtualisation and database work, all under a data centre remodeling service with nicely-timed green attributes.