TL; DR: INAP, a global provider of performance-driven datacenter and cloud solutions, delivers to customers white-glove solutions optimized to scale in step with the business lifecycle. The 2018 acquisition of SingleHop enabled INAP to expand its product suite to include enhanced private cloud and managed solutions. With an ongoing focus on customer enablement and continuous improvements, INAP aims to empower IT transformations for businesses worldwide.
Much like vintage wine and gourmet cheese, some things are great on their own, but exceptional together. Such was the case with INAP and SingleHop, two companies that proved they pair quite well after joining forces in February 2018.
Datacenter solutions provider INAP acquired SingleHop to offer customers a full suite of colocation, managed hosting, cloud, and network services, according to TJ Waldorf, Vice President, Global Marketing, at INAP, who worked for SingleHop for more than three years before the acquisition.
“Around 2015, there seemed to be a growing realization from enterprises that they needed to get out of their datacenters and into a hybrid or multicloud environment,” TJ said. “INAP had the foresight to acknowledge the continuing trend, which included a shift to outsourced IT models like colocation and managed cloud environments.”
According to Jennifer Curry, SVP of Global Cloud Services at INAP, in the 12 years SingleHop was in business, the company proved adept at developing the underlying technology needed to adequately deliver managed hosting services to customers. “From a managed hosting perspective, INAP needed to strengthen the capabilities that we currently had in place,” Jennifer said. “Rather than to try to build the solutions ourselves, we aquired SingleHop.”
From SingleHop’s point of view, the move was equally beneficial. Like INAP, the company wanted to provide clients with a robust suite of services through a single pane of glass. It was also looking to scale. “We were hitting a point of scale where we needed to make some decisions on how to move forward,” TJ said. “We referred to it as a marriage that made a lot of sense.”
Now operating as one INAP, the company is focused on delivering purposeful, performance-driven IT transformation to businesses worldwide through a full spectrum of white-glove solutions. With a continuous focus on product development, the reimagined company intends on continuing to better serve customers through expanded market reach.
Enabling Purposeful, Performance-Driven IT Transformation
Today, nearly a year since INAP’s aquisition of SingleHop, TJ said customers are reaping the benefits of the one-stop-shop approach. “The response we’ve received from customers has been very positive,” he said. “No matter what industry they’re in, today’s businesses have to be digital to compete, and customers want to look to a single provider to help them along their IT journeys.”
Budget constraints, unclear priorities, and skills shortages are also putting a strain on many internal IT teams. Based on a survey of 500 IT professionals, INAP’s 2018 report, “The State of IT Infrastructure Management,” revealed that 86% of respondents agreed with the statement, “My IT department is leading the organization’s digital transformation efforts.” At the same time, 85% of respondents also agreed with the statement, “For my IT department to succeed, we must be seen more as a center of innovation and less as an operational cost center.”
“These IT professionals want to be doing more — leading transformations in terms of digital and IT strategies,” TJ said. “But they’re bogged down with the mundane: Making sure the servers are up and running, routine monitoring and maintenance. We’re trying to be the one-stop-shop that gives them time back so they can focus on innovating and delivering on their missions.”
Post-acquisition, the company’s ultimate goal is to serve as a single provider that can help emerging startups, midmarket, and enterprise-level companies bring their IT strategies to life, whether that’s through automation technologies or managed services and support. “Since we brought SingleHop under our umbrella, we think of INAP’s mission as providing businesses the tools and capabilities they need to execute purposeful, performance-driven IT transformations,” TJ said.
Managed, White-Glove Solutions Optimized for the Business Lifecycle
Jennifer said the company’s managed, turnkey solutions serve as a significant differentiator. INAP strives to be a partner, rather than a vendor. “We truly are engaging with the client — continuously engaging,” she said. “Usually, if customers are calling us and entering tickets, it’s not because something’s broken. It’s because our service is an interactive, end-to-end process in which businesses work closely with our very high-level, technically skilled folks.”
Jennifer said INAP’s team of solution architects strive to understand not only where its customers are today, but where they want to be in the future. The idea is to create customized datacenter and cloud solutions to power, scale, and secure each businesses’ applications. “We strive to align with the business objectives and goals of our customers,” Jennifer said. “We not only keep a close eye on your environment, but are also offering constant
advice on efficiency and optimization.”
To that end, INAP offers a wide range of managed hosting, security, storage, and backup solutions that its consultants leverage to optimize infrastructure. The company’s managed server hosting, for example, is suitable for projects of all sizes — from a single dedicated server deployment to customized enterprise-scale environments. Cloud specialists are available to optimize customer environments, whether in private cloud, bare metal, or otherwise.
Looking for a leg up on your hyperscale public cloud strategy? INAP’s Managed AWS and Managed Azure offerings allow INAP’s certified AWS and Azure experts to eliminate headaches as well as the need for in-house expertise. The company also offers managed solutions for its range colocation services (cabinets, cages, and suites), including migration assistance and remote support.
“We’re not in the business of trying to over-architect anything — we want to put you in the right fit,” Jennifer said. “Having so many services at our disposal in our portfolio allows us to do that with ease.”
Ensuring High Performance, Flexibility, and Low Latency
Historically, TJ said both INAP and SingleHop have worked to continuously optimize their service experience, which involves consultation on anything from capacity constraint issues to disaster recovery.
“Being an eye in the sky for our customers — seeing what’s going on in their environments, and making recommendations — is something both companies had in their blood,” he said. “There’s been a nice synergy on that front as we’ve come together to make sure the experience is constantly getting better.”
TJ said there are three areas in which INAP customers find the most value: high performance, flexibility, and low latency. The company ensures high performance for applications and workloads through its proprietary network and optimized service experiences. Via its Performance IP© service, INAP also employs a patented route optimization engine that improves network performance and significantly reduces latency by automatically directing traffic over the fastest path possible. The service is available to INAP colocation and cloud customers.
In terms of flexibility, INAP’s wide spectrum of datacenter and cloud choices allow for a customized approach. “Because we have this full range of datacenter and cloud services, customers can make wise choices — alongside our recommendations — on the best delivery model, whether it’s colocation, bare metal, or any of the services that we offer, to make sure that both technically and economically, they’re in the best place,” TJ said.
Finally, INAP’s global footprint — which includes 53 datacenters in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific — allows customers to be in close proximity to their end users, minimizing latency. “That’s another part of the narrative that really resonates,” TJ said.
An Ongoing Focus on Customer Education and Continuous Improvements
TJ told us that INAP also strives to inform its customers on the trends, best practices, and common misconceptions in the industry to ensure they have the tools needed to make optimal IT decisions.
“For example, there’s this misnomer that the public cloud is a savior for everything, and that’s just not the case,” he said. “Through lots of conversations with our customers, we can attest to the challenges of just picking workloads up in an enterprise data center and moving it into a hyperscale public cloud.”
The company also maintains a close relationship with customers when it comes to offering new products. “Their input is what drives our road map,” Jennifer said. “The products that SingleHop was offering not only fit into our portfolio well, but they also fulfilled our customers’ requests.”
In this way, the standalone companies were great on their own, but better together — much to the benefit of INAP’s happy customers.