TL; DR: Behind a motto of “Built right. Just for you,” Green House Data alleviates challenges in IT operations through a tailored mix of automation, managed services, cloud oversight, colocation services, and expert consulting. The Wyoming-based company has worn many hats throughout its decade in existence, continually adding and adjusting products to respond to shifting technologies and customer needs. Starting with an in-depth SpotLITE onboarding and discovery process, Green House Data aims to identify and exceed the technology needs of enterprises, enabling them to innovate faster and more efficiently.
When Green House Data first got started, it focused on energy-efficient datacenters and colocation services. The team’s home state of Wyoming offered inexpensive power and wind energy, along with a helpful subsidy. So a secure, eco-friendly facility was the top priority — for about half an hour, according to Vice President of Business Development and Co-Founder Thomas Burns.
“Within the first 30 minutes of the company, we really embraced virtualization,” he said. “Part of our program was to virtualize people’s colocation to reduce carbon footprints and electricity usage.”
Virtualization then quickly led Green House Data to cloud services, before the term even truly existed. Naturally, the emerging technology required high levels of customer support, technical expertise, and infrastructure management.
The company’s agility and nimble pivots have kept Green House Data ahead of new technologies and ready to serve its growing customer base. From the early days of helping nearby Wyoming businesses get online to handling IT operations for Fortune 500 companies, Green House Data has expanded its footprint to roughly 10 locations.
“It’s exciting to see how this market and company has really evolved, from traditional cloud hosting and retail colocation to actually being what we always wanted to be, which is a true partner with clients,” Thomas said. “For us, it’s really exciting to get to interface with more areas of the business, to be able to offer a wider range of services, and really just help people simplify their IT life.”
Putting the SpotLITE on Onboarding and Discovery
Even though Green House Data’s immensely diverse and customizable product portfolio means that few clients end up with the same selection of services, the company implements the same first steps with each customer.
The organization’s comprehensive SpotLITE process combines onboarding and discovery procedures with advising and consulting as Green House Data uncovers a client’s infrastructure needs and matches them with the managed services and overall goals required for success.
“It really gets into the nitty-gritty of what their infrastructure and applications look like,” Thomas said. “We’re looking at their performance and reliability and the formal infrastructure stuff, but we’re also talking to the folks and trying to understand what their challenges are.”
SpotLITE comes in three tiers, depending on a customer’s timeline, availability, and budget: A self-service option lays the foundation with forms and phone or email conversations, while a more detailed examination uses automated reports and software probing to provide more visibility and forecasting. The premium consultation enlists hands-on engineering expertise to build a comprehensive report of observations, recommendations, benchmarks, and projections.
Green House Data doesn’t just focus on technical requirements; it looks at how infrastructure supports overall business operations and goals, according to Thomas. SpotLITE reports include benchmarks of a potential customer’s current environment as well as the anticipated improvements and their impacts on performance, a complete implementation plan, timeline, and deployment options.
Working Alongside a Client’s IT Team to Build Organizational Value
As a team of technology nerds, the last thing the Green House Data team wants to hear is that they’re stealing a company’s existing IT jobs. Instead of outsourcing IT responsibilities, customers can leverage Green House Data resources to work more effectively and efficiently — liberating IT employees from the mundane day-to-day operations to focus on big-picture objectives.
“We can take on some of those repeatable processes and let those folks in that organization focus on where IT drives the business,” Thomas said. “That is the value we’re trying to bring. It’s very much a partnership.”
Beyond enterprise IT support, the two-way partnership drives Green House Data’s product development. According to Thomas, customer feedback nearly always informs the company’s portfolio — whether it’s a tweak on an existing product or incorporating a new program. Recent focus areas include containers, Kubernetes, microservices, and Code-as-a-Service.
“There’s going to be an occasion where a new technology might drive development, but that’s a rarity,” he said. “Typically it’s clients driving our direction as far as products and the company as a whole.”
Customers can apply Green House Data expertise and resources wherever they prefer, as the company boasts expertise in physical and cloud servers, networks, firewalls, security updates, and even desktop or device management.
“If they’re having issues with manual processes or the lack of automation in an environment, we will help fill those gaps with our expertise or take on some of the repeatable processes that do not bring an organization any sort of proprietary value,” Thomas said.
Combining IT Operations and App Development Mindsets
Green House Data’s entrance into cloud hosting and management represented more than just a new technology platform to support, according to Thomas. Cloud flexibility and business models are better served with a DevOps style of management — which can be at odds with traditional IT operations.
“DevOps is a combination of a software applications mentality and an IT operations mentality,” he said. “The IT operations mentality is to control everything, document everything, procedure everything, process everything, and timestamp everything. Everything is very secure, but it’s a slow process. It’s cumbersome and frustrating to people.”
App development, on the other hand, follows an approach akin to, “Let’s build it and spin it out as fast as possible and worry about what’s broken later,” Thomas said. The emphasis on speed and rapid deployments in a hyperconverged and hyperscale infrastructure was at odds with Green House Data’s traditionally IT operations-heavy culture.
“We had to do a lot of adjustments from a cultural and operational standpoint to adhere to where the market was going,” he said, mentioning efforts to retrain staff and update internal procedures. “We need to be able to provide a service that people find valuable and doesn’t constrain them so much they’re missing out on some of that time-to-market perspective.”
Green House Data’s Building Block Approach to Managed Services
Instead of providing a one-size-fits-all approach to managed services, Green House Data provides the à la carte options that enterprises can tailor to their specific networks, staffing, needs, and budgets.
“You don’t have to buy everything,” Thomas said. “You buy the pieces your organization needs to fill in those gaps within that organizational IT approach. Every organization has different resources, different tools, different approaches to infrastructure, and different cultures. You have to have the building block-type services to be able to adjust and provide the right solutions.”
Green House organizes its managed services into various categories that cover infrastructure oversight, security management, networking setup, and a variety of other add-ons that cover backups, disaster recovery, application hosting, and load balancing.
“We run the gamut from the basic IT operational building blocks, like deploying a virtual machine or hardening and patching an operating system, to more complex solutions like firewalls and HIPAA compliance,” Thomas said.
Green House Data is currently seeing the most traction and momentum with disaster recovery and backup services, he said. The company leverages geographically diverse physical and cloud datacenters to rapidly replicate and protect customer data and make the information readily available to be restored.
“That’s where our focus has always been, assigning the right services and the right business outcomes the customer needs, and not giving them anything else,” Thomas said. “Everything has to be cost-efficient, so we have to streamline our services to make sure they meet the needs of the client and provide the value they need.”