The Dataless Data Center

Bob Longo, CEO of Clearpointe, joined David Strom, chief correspondent of Ziff Davis Enterprise Channel Insider, for a recent Channel Chat podcast. A transcript of that interview follows.

David Strom: Were here at the Managed Service Providers Alliance annual conference. And you guys have a very interesting situation in that you are probably the most virtual of businesses. You dont have anything tangible to sell other than your wits and expertise.

Bob Longo: Yes, its a unique proposition to really hit the market with a service-level agreement rather than a tool or the traditional onsite services. So, to really talk to business decision makers about what it means to get a service level agreement out of IT. So we tout a "three-nines," 99.9 SLA, for our partners and their customers. And really, at the end of the day, thats all they care about, is that were selling trust, that we have their back and that this SLA really means something.

Strom: So you are selling monitoring of some kind of computing systems.

Longo: Correct. We remotely manage computer networks all over the world. So through our monitoring tools we collect this data. Based on that information, we proactively resolve issues. We call it remote remediation. So this is for client networks that reside at their customer site, and we perform remote remediation tasks. We have two ways that we measure our success. One, is that if the client calls us with a problem, we have failed. The second ...

Strom: Right, because you want to see a machine thats about to kick over, their memory is goofy or whatever, their disk drive is acting up.

Longo: Correct. So if they call us with a problem, we have failed. And thats a pretty bold statement.

Strom: Now this is very different for most hosting providers that actually host something on their data center. Theyve got physical possession over the clients assets, servers and what have you.

Longo: Yes, weve had a real challenge trying to rise above the image that were a data center and that ...

Strom: Well, youre a data center without any data in it.

Longo: It is. It is. We offer the best of a data center management solution that is customer-premise. Yes, so we very much liken ourselves to the operation but not the physical co-location of equipment.

Strom: Now is this something that youre seeing, that theres a lot of interest from other VARs to enter this? You actually have VARs as your customers I would imagine.

Longo: Correct. We have some end users, direct clients, and we have many VARs that have signed up with us. So the value proposition is instead of them trying to build a network operation center, they could really get our service at a wholesale cost. They in turn ...

b>Strom: Can use it to sell for recurring revenue streams and leverage that on top of it.

Longo: Exactly. We allow them to maintain 100 percent of the client relationship. We want to be real clear that our agreement is just with the partner and the partner maintains the end-user relationship.

Strom: So dont you think its difficult then for Clearpointe to have a clear brand or be recognized as a leader in this since youre so under the cover, so virtual, dataless, data center?

Longo: Well, yes. Brand recognition for us is near and dear. We actually copyrighted the Clearpointe name and the way that our engineers interact with the clients is that they are the network operation center (NOC) powered by Clearpointe. So it really ...

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