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Giving MSPs a good name.

The recent shakeout of application service providers left some of their kin, the managed service providers, trembling a little as well. But Houston-based VeriCenter is feeling quite healthy, thank you. While other providers tried to be all things to all clients, VeriCenter stayed focused, and stayed successful because of it, according to Gray Hall, president and CEO. He chats about technology, service, and taking the pain away.

In what way are you different from others in the hosting industry?

There are a lot of different types of hosting companies. Some offer colocation, providing the facility, and some host Web sites like basic company Web pages. Our business is to outsource management and operation for high-end businesses. The degree of complexity is higher than what most of the others in the industry deal with. We provide all the technology that’s underneath an advanced business applicationÑnetworking, security, services, everything that is considered infrastructure and keeps the business up and running.

How did the company get started?

We were started based on a vision that computing is getting increasingly complex and business customers want to outsource management and operations of computing infrastructure to get away from that complexity. They’re looking for pain relief. Managing technology is not a core competency of most businesses.

What kinds of challenges do you see in your work?

Security is a big one. Within a corporate enterprise, everything that’s done is one company’s business, and even though security is important, there are different issues present when there are multiple clients at one hosting company. You have to segment customers so they can’t see each other’s data, and so they’re treated like a single enterprise and not just one of many. That introduces a set of challenges.

Why do you feel there’s a need for your services?

The paradox of being Web-enabled for many companies is that the Internet allows businesses to do so much more–they can communicate with remote offices, traveling employees, and on and on. But it also makes it easier to implement new applications, and that causes pressure on companies to implement them, but also to reduce costs. They’re being pushed and pulled at the same time. Any time new technology is being implemented, you’re adding more complexity and using capital resources. So, clients come to us to have someone who’s familiar with this complexity and can still address the need to manage costs effectively.

Why do you like most about being part of VeriCenter?

I like this industry a lot because I believe that we’re defining a new business model, and I also love the challenge of being at a company that’s one of the leaders in this industry. That’s very fulfilling. Also, we see a lot of interesting things happening in our data center. Our customers tend to be very progressive, so you get to see major changes in the software industry. The final piece is the staff. Most of the team has been here since the early days, and whenever you have a group of bright people rallied around a common goal, that’s very exciting.

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