A client of ours acquired a very profitable online business. Here’s how we handled the technology side of their merger.
To no one’s surprise, any technical acquisition comes full of compatibility questions:
- Are our businesses complementary?
- Do our audiences overlap?
- Will our teams get along?
- Can our growth and distribution channels be merged?
Less likely to be asked — and often regretted — is whether our technology stacks can speak to each other. There’s a sense that if the business fundamentals are there, the technologies they run on can be reconciled after the fact.
That’s what our long-time client, a media company, thought when it acquired a high-traffic business. This new company was running on a hyper-scale cloud environment — nothing like the server-based infrastructure our customer was operating on. Not a problem, it thought, since the new acquisition also had a cloud team capable of managing it.
When our client got under the hood, however, it found a cloud team with its feet halfway out the door. It also found significant infrastructure that wasn’t compatible with a long-term colocation strategy.
Deft works in both hyper-scale and private cloud, so we were able to perform a critical infrastructure risk assessment that identified the best way to bring the two businesses together and prepare for future growth.
A proper infrastructure audit requires broad knowledge
Our client had always run its business in a private cloud, managed through Deft colocation. It didn’t have a team set up for public cloud, and it didn’t look likely that they’d be able to keep the team they acquired.
If they were going to have to invest in an entirely new team of engineers, they wanted to know it was worth it.
We’re lucky to have long relationships with many of our clients. In this instance, Deft had served as a trusted advisor for over a decade, so we had a detailed understanding of what success would look like for the client. We’re also staffed and skilled to manage many types of infrastructure, meaning that we had the talent to assess the hyperscale cloud environment they were acquiring and identify how it could work with the private cloud setup they were used to managing.
An infrastructure audit revealed that while the public cloud model had been great during the acquisition’s explosive period of growth, it didn’t necessarily make sense for the long term. We put together a plan that would optimize and manage the current hyper-scale environment while we developed a new, hybrid cloud to support both sides of the business more efficiently and effectively going forward.
We knew the client well enough to know what needed to be done to meet their risk, operational, and financial profile. And they knew from past experience that a hybrid approach could meet their needs in the most cost-effective way. As we were looking at a mature hyper-scale cloud posture, we took the following approach:
Removing commas by embracing hybrid cloud
Our job wasn’t just to determine what to do with the acquired company’s infrastructure. It was to create an infrastructure that would work best for the new, combined company. This initial audit helped, but it was only one step in understanding how to best align the infrastructure in support of the newly expanded business. Reserved instances were engaged, savings plans leveraged, and intelligent automation and microservices were implemented to optimize elasticity and lower costs. Still, working within the private cloud framework — or the public cloud for that matter — would only let us improve the economics so far. In this case, not far enough.
We both recognized more was possible.
If you want to remove commas from your infrastructure checks, you need to look at a hybrid approach.
These architectures leverage the best of both colocation and cloud to deliver optimal performance, reliability, and cost management.
Building a hybrid cloud, purpose-fit for merging businesses
Moving to a hybrid environment doesn’t just mean smashing the existing cloud and colo infrastructures together. There’s a lot here — developing, deploying, managing, securing, scaling, and supporting a global hybrid environment.
Here’s a 5-step TL;DR version of the hybrid approach story. (No one wants to read 10,000 words on cloud strategy.)
- Hybrid approaches begin with the placement of steady-state compute in a data center, which can dramatically lower costs on applications with consistent traffic, versus keeping them in the cloud. It’s not complicated but it takes time to assess what can — and should — be where, as well as how to safely move it without impacting your business.
- From here, a detailed assessment of data storage costs and egress costs occurs, including a comparison of use cases with data in — and accessed from — different locations (e.g., cloud vs. data center).
- With our data center environment established, it’s time to identify the native cloud services that must be utilized for lack of feasible or reasonable alternatives. This is often AI/ML but can expand beyond that.
- We also need to understand what aspects of the user experience need to be at the edge and what can remain at the core of your environment. Put another way, what needs to be as close to the end user as possible to guarantee a high-quality customer experience?
- Once the previous opportunities are addressed, we look at security and resilience.
Finding the right technology in your merger process is Deft’s specialty
In the end, our client acquired a fully functional platform and business.
Their team knew there were efficiencies to gain, but did not know how or where. They needed insight into how the new environment could integrate with their current infrastructure and DevOps processes — and they needed help making that integration a reality.
Deft helped them realize a global, scalable, secure, fully managed hybrid cloud that fit the company’s technological expertise, operating processes, and financial expectations.
At Deft, we provide technology, from data centers and infrastructure to data backups and managed services. Instead of trying to sell you one of Deft’s offerings, we work to understand the assets you have and the way your business wants to function. Then we figure out how technology can make your business better — whether that’s through our services or not.