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Meeting ever-changing expectations with Flexential

Meeting ever-changing expectations with Flexential

Miguel Amado

Flexential has more than 20 years of experience. Founded as ViaWest in 1999 and rebranded in 2018 after a series of changes and acquisitions, Flexential has 40 data centers and prides itself in being adaptable to different environments and needs.

We talked with Ryan Mallory, COO of Colocation Services, to know more about the company, cybersecurity, sustainability and more. Check out the interview for Website Planet’s blog below.

Before rebranding and creating Flexential, your organization had a long journey. What were the main challenges to keep being relevant and gaining ground year after year in a competitive industry?

Today, customers have ever-changing expectations for their service providers, so transparently, the main challenge is ensuring we’re bringing the most up-to-date, purpose-built products and services to the market. Leaders are looking for efficient, cost-effective, sustainable data centers – and very few are settling for less. For 20+ years, Flexential has remained committed to staying in-the-know on the latest IT trends and keeping conversations open to ensure our customers are satisfied.

For instance, we recently fostered honest dialogues with our customer base to understand how we can better serve their needs now, and in the future. From there, we rolled out three new FlexAnywhere blueprints, which are designed to directly address the key pain points CIOs are facing today. The customizable blueprints – since one-size-fits all solutions cannot adequately meet unique customer needs – help companies:

  • Provide agility and the ability to scale IT infrastructure, enabling teams to rapidly scale up or down resources, infrastructure, and data center footprints according to demand
  • Improve application performance and reliability, providing CIO-level visibility into critical infrastructure
  • Deliver superior network performance and interconnection, providing secure and reliable connectivity to core data centers, and improving network reliability to customers’ cloud providers and business partners

Flexential highlights that each solution is tailored to the specific business and needs of the clients. Can you give us an example of that?

Every customer has unique needs and by using a consultative Hybrid IT approach, Flexential carefully matches the given workload and application requirements with the appropriate infrastructure solution. For instance, ProMach was going through a season of rapid growth and needed support from a provider to host and manage their hybrid production environment.

ProMach had a highly complex IT environment, so a dedicated Flexential team oversaw the implementation from start to finish, making thoughtful decisions along the way. Flexential delivered geographically diverse, enterprise-class data centers to support a highly sophisticated DR solution, given that downtime would have a significant, negative impact on their business. Every single decision made in the process was strategic and targeted to ProMach’s specific needs (a customer’s dream).

Security is a huge issue these days. Why should I trust Flexential?

Security breaches have the potential to quickly damage a corporations’ brand value and reputation, often causing severe financial and legal consequences. With the threat landscape more expansive than ever, and the skills shortages/staff productivity challenges persisting, many businesses need a provider, like Flexential, to remain safe and secure.

When working with Flexential, companies have access to a wide array of data and network security services with a security expert on the job 24/7. From disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) practices to ensure system availability and data integrity, to monitoring and threat detection services including managed firewall and automated DDoS protection, Flexential’s around-the-clock expertise helps organizations stay ahead of threat actors. In addition,

Flexential provides upfront assessments, ongoing audits, simulated event tests, and regular reviews of security and disaster recovery plans to ensure that the company is in a position to stay out of harm’s way – now and in the future.

The pandemic accelerated digital transformation initiatives and other ideas, like hybrid work. How did you observe this important moment and what adaptations your company made to support those new demands?

Every day, the world becomes more digitized, and the pace of change is only accelerating. To remain competitive in the digital economy, CIOs and IT leaders need to create solutions that align with their current business needs, while building a decentralized infrastructure that allows adjustment due to large scale disruptions or changes, like remote work. We understand this isn’t an easy task, so Flexential is committed to helping companies navigate this initiative.

As leaders pick up the pieces from two years of utter confusion and frustration, Flexential has made a conscious effort to help them​​ reimagine what it takes to meet the needs of their teams and their end-users. For example, the team created the easy-to-reference FlexAnywhere blueprints, which have been pivotal in helping customers better scale digital business. Flexential took a great deal of time gathering customer feedback from hundreds of real-life deployments to ensure these blueprints were built for those who need it most. The IT landscape will continue to evolve and, simultaneously, so will our offerings.

Sustainability is a growing topic and concern for society in general and a strong point in your culture. Can you detail to us your initiatives in that subject?

In recent years, green-savvy organizations are demanding more ESG reporting transparency from their providers and better tools to operate sustainably. To adhere to these desires, we have taken critical steps to design, build and maintain our data centers sustainably.

In December, we tied our multi-billion-dollar investment directly with sustainability. Specifically, we issued $1.6 billion in green bonds as part of a $2.1 billion securitization, the largest single ABS issuance in the industry. The notes were issued under our very own Green Finance Framework, illustrating our commitment to aligning business growth and sustainability. Moving forward, new data center projects supported through the Framework must demonstrate a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.4 or below, as well as zero water usage, to qualify for funding. We operate with the environment top of mind – and will continue to indefinitely.

What are Flexential’s plans for the next 3 to 5 years?

Flexential will continue its fast-paced facility and platform expansion. In 2022 alone, we are adding 33MW of new sustainable data center development projects and expanding our FlexAnywhere platform to offer customers over 220 MW and 3 million sq. ft. of capacity across 19 markets. We are committed to continually improving our offerings to our customers’ liking, which is made possible by active listening and continual pivoting.

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