The North West’s data centre, cloud and hosting market has seen further expansion with new entrant Datacentreplus joining the growing digital scene with its own purpose-built data centre.
Viewed as a challenger brand among the region’s big name providers, Datacentreplus is intent on disrupting the marketplace, applying competitive pressure to the pricing and flexibility of the cloud and hosting services currently offered to small and medium-sized businesses.
The Media City-based business was established in 2014 and, since its soft launch just over a year ago, has experienced growth in its first year of trading, growing to a team of eight, with plans to triple the workforce over the next 12-18 months.
Entrepreneur Hoque, also Managing Director of Manchester-based software firm Sandyx, was compelled to enter the data centre market following a series of negative experiences when trying to secure services for his other business.
He said: “At the end of 2013 we were developing applications for a customer and we were in need of data centre services. I required somewhere close by with the ability to colocate and get easily accessible support.
“I found that none of the big data centre operators were interested in talking to me about my relatively small, but vital, requirements. There appeared to be little or no flexibility on offer. It was either a 12 month contract or, failing that, anything less being quoted at a ridiculous price. I also discovered there were a lot of hidden costs.
“By adding in annual costs, set-up fees and network engineering support fees, I felt as though my business was simply being discredited and being pushed away.”
With an intent to address the problem head on, Hoque and his team posed the question, ‘how difficult would it be to set up our own data centre?’ and by January 2014 a data centre manager had been recruited, and six months later a property had been purchased and the business was operating.
“The relatively quick design and fit-out is unusual for data centre facilities, however, we were fortunate enough to work with a highly experienced data centre designer as well as electrical and cooling installers who understood that time was of the essence, meaning we were able to deliver on time and within budget.”
Based on those early experiences, Hoque and the Datacentreplus team is now dedicated to helping new start-ups with cash-friendly access to the cloud, and helping businesses with traditional operating models transition to the cloud, dispelling a few myths along the way.
“Many businesses have old operating habits and don’t have enough people within the business that know enough,” said Hoque. “Often an IT person may know the systems and processes inside out and that can be dangerous for future-proofing. In addition, some businesses think that movement to the cloud means the end of the IT team.
“The cloud is in fact a great way to grow your business and ease the pressures on the IT department, ensuring that their energies are focused on strategy and helping their organisation growth through technology, not constantly firefighting with legacy systems and processes.
“We believe that many providers in this space aren’t geared towards addressing these issues or have the ability or inclination to understand them. Businesses need to be talked through a transition and hand held, not bamboozled with technology or offers that lock them in for long-term contracts. Our mission is to provide transparency for those we work with.”