Case Study: Billion-Dollar “Startup” Kodak Alaris Outsources Data Center and Managed Services to CentriLogic

PrintKodak Alaris is a digital imaging business, born from one of the world’s most iconic brands. As a young company launched in 2013, Kodak Alaris has been called a “$1 billion startup,” with facilities and offices around the world. The 3400-person firm develops and sells award-winning document scanners, information management software, photo kiosks, imaging services and consumer apps that make it easier for people to print and share images around the world.

IT infrastructure for a startup

After the company was launched, the IT group began promptly to build out a brand-new infrastructure environment, application ecosystem and core processes. Part of that mission was implementing a new data center strategy. Kodak Alaris had been renting data center space from Eastman Kodak (which it spun off from two years ago) in Rochester, New York, since its 2013 inception. One option was to build its own data center, yet Brian Burdette, IT Director for Server and Collaboration at Kodak Alaris, says that going with a third-party data center provider became a winning strategy, for both economics and flexibility.

“We knew it would ultimately be necessary to complete the separation from our legacy systems,” he says. “It made a lot of sense to go with a third-party provider, as we have a smaller IT staff now to support the systems that we needed.” The company’s new server infrastructure has been built from the ground up and includes support for around 300 third-party applications, most of which are running on-premise, and includes support for manufacturing operations. Roughly 20% of the applications are licensed via a SaaS delivery model. When deciding between building its own data center and using an IT infrastructure outsourcing firm, Burdette decided that a third-party provider would incur less risk. “If for some reason we need to change an office location, we wanted to avoid the potential move of a data center as well.”

Choosing CentriLogic

After going through a formal RFP process and whittling the list down to three providers, Kodak Alaris chose CentriLogic for its co-location needs. Burdette cites the top selection factors as cost, robust information security, and skilled technical staff. Burdette was also intrigued by CentriLogic’s ability to offer other services beyond co-location, such as managed services and backups. Location was an important consideration during the vendor evaluation process, since most of the company’s systems were hosted in a Rochester data center. “The local area also fit in with our footprint in terms of where our employee base is today,” Burdette says.

In October, 2014, Burdette and team began building the foundational server environment in the CentriLogic Rochester data center, with migration activities following shortly thereafter. The three-year contract is valued at just under $1 million, and includes: 10 racks to accommodate approximately 40 physical and 500 virtual servers that host around 80% of the company’s applications; managed services including backup for several Linux and Unix-based servers; and network connections between the data center and the Kodak Alaris global network. The data center migration is expected to largely be completed by the end of 2015.

Current and expected benefits from partnering with CentriLogic

Staff augmentation: The 100-person global IT department didn’t care to add overhead in terms of staff and support for its Unix and Linux servers, which comprise a minority of the company’s primarily Windows-based environment. CentriLogic’s capabilities in this area through its Advanced Technology Services division eliminated the need for Burdette to hire and train staff to support those open-source systems.

Cost savings: While it’s too early to predict specific savings, Burdette says he expects that Kodak Alaris will be far more cost efficient with CentriLogic, by avoiding the significant capital expense of building a new facility and hiring IT professionals to staff and manage it. CentriLogic’s overall portfolio is also price competitive, he says. “Their team showed a lot of adaptability in accommodating our needs on price, which will help us grow faster as a young company.”

Small company feel, big company services: Burdette was attracted to the smaller size of CentriLogic, deeming it a better cultural fit than working with some of the larger players in the data center space. At the same time, he is confident that whatever additional hosting or staffing needs arise in the future, CentriLogic will be able to accommodate them.Like any business, our mission is to be profitable,” Burdette says. “CentriLogic will help us keep our IT costs low and allow us to leverage a number of different services over time.”

Business benefits:  With CentriLogic minding the store in terms of IT co-location services and performance, Kodak Alaris’ IT group can now focus on deploying business-enabling applications and new customer-facing services.  Burdette says that IT’s goals are to become an even stronger partner for the business and its revenue-generating activities.

A long-term relationship:  Burdette says he is confident in the direction that CentriLogic is going, given its consistent growth and its focus on managed infrastructure and hosting services. As well, the company’s responsiveness has been valuable during a complex transition time for Kodak Alaris. “The CentriLogic team has been wonderful about going the extra mile, such as letting us take a two phased approach to fees that would match our migration plan. We love their passion for what they do.”