CSPs, Data centers, Midmarket, MSP

Hello Again, mindSHIFT

Bob Lamendola

Somewhere between massive cloud service providers (CSPs) and small MSPs there sits mindSHIFT, a Ricoh company. Instead of feeling squeezed by CSP giants and nimble MSPs, mindSHIFT is feeling rejuvenated. Here's why.

Admittedly, mindSHIFT was market pioneer in the early 2000's -- acquiring many innovative MSPs along the way. But the company lost some of its luster under Best Buy's ownership in 2012 and 2013. Fast forward to the present, and current owner Ricoh appears to be making key investments in the mindSHIFT business.

A case in point: mindSHIFT is set to open its second data center in the Commack, N.Y., area later this month, the company has confirmed to ChannelE2E. First customer deployments in the new Long Island location are expected in June, according to Bob Lamendola, general manager for infrastructure services.

The new data center, dubbed Pod 1 by company insiders, is mindSHIFT's second facility in the Commack, N.Y., area. The first facility -- about 7,500 square feet -- is at or near capacity. The new facility is larger and boasts enhanced density. It offers 10,000 square feet and roughly 5.0 kilowatts of power per rack -- about twice that of the first data center.

mindSHIFT's Strategy

But this is more than a data center story. At a time when giants like CenturyLink and Verizon have considered selling some or all of their cloud data centers, Ricoh appears to be doubling down on mindSHIFT's infrastructure. While I don't know the financial numbers, I think Ricoh is making a calculated bet -- wherein mindSHIFT intends to blend its own infrastructure with public clouds from Amazon, Microsoft and other giants.

The idea of expanding mindSHIFT's data center footprint started even before Best Buy acquired the company in 2012. But that effort apparently got sidetracked under Best Buy's ownership. That's not surprising, considering Best Buy at the time was busy defending itself from irate shareholders who had lost faith in the company's retail business.

Without directly commenting on the Best Buy years, Lamendola describes Ricoh's ownership of mindSHIFT as a "match made in heaven. It was the right deal in the right  at the right time," he says. "Ricoh's ownership has allowed us to be more aggressive."

Additional Ricoh Investments

The aggressiveness extends beyond the new data center on Long Island. mindSHIFT has also worked closely with Cisco Systems Inc. and other technology companies to deploy a new network architecture. The company also has facilities in Virginia and Minnesota, with a western U.S. location expected to surface a few months down the road.

Instead of working in a vacuum, mindSHIFT partners where needed. The Virginia facility, for instance, is owned by Equinix -- the well-known cloud interconnection company.

"We aren't forcing our customers to go down a specific path," Lamendola says. "We've always had a belief in a hybrid architecture. And we've opened up and started to work with other public cloud services providers." For instance, mindSHIFT offers managed servers in AWS.

Blended models also continue within mindSHIFT's own data centers, where a mix of managed colocation services, customer equipment and mindSHIFT equipment is the norm. Some customers even leverage mindSHIFT data centers for IBM iSeries management. And yes, mindSHIFT continues to manage on-premises IT equipment for customers.

Is the mindSHIFT service catalog generating profits for Ricoh? I concede: I don't know. But the mood in and around mindSHIFT sounds upbeat. Especially as that data center ribbon cutting approaches on Long Island...

Data Center Background

PS: Here's the branding and messaging that mindSHIFT is promoting on YouTube.

Video link

Stay tuned for more updates as mindSHIFT opens the doors to the new data center...

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.