Canadian solution provider re-brands itself

Word of mouth as gotten HighVail Systems pretty far, but the Toronto-based IT solutions integrator is hoping a re-branding and a new marketing campaign will help take it to the next level.

With a focus on areas such as data availability, system reliability, business continuity and data centre energy efficiency, HighVail Systems was founded in 2003, and counts among its customers a number of Tier 1 financial institutions.

HighVail’s president, Bradley Brodkin, says the company’s old logo was created by him and his partner and was two rectangular boxes with a line in between to signify two computers communicating. That signified what the company did but it was basic, and there was no colour.

“We wanted to re-brand the company, bring some recognition to the company in the marketplace, create some awareness by really getting out there and marketing ourselves as opposed to relying on word of mouth,” said Brodkin. “We did grow to a $12 million company by word of mouth, we’re not complaining, but at the same time it would be nice to go to the next step, and the re-branding is really the first phase of that for us.”

The re-branding and marketing campaign, says Brodkin, is designed to expand the client base HighVail works with as well as bring more standardization to the way the company does business.

“The re-branding itself if more just raising the profile of the company so people recognize we’re not a small player anymore, we’ve become a major player,” said Brodkin. “We’ve moved up to 73 on the CDN Top 100 list this year; that’s a big thing.”

While HighVail isn’t necessarily looking to get into new areas of business, Brodkin says it is looking to expand its business areas and evolve to reflect the changing solutions that are coming to be wrapped-around the area of high availability.

“The key buzz words out there today are virtualization, data efficiency and green computing, and these are all things we’ve been doing for a number of years,” said Brodkin. “Our strength, and really the name says it. HighVail. It’s high availability.”

When the company was founded Brodkin says high availability, or HA, was pretty much just two computers being available for the other, failing-over should one go down. The concept, however, has evolved over the years, from being able to fail over individual services, to a clustering of multiple servers, to using the capability for disaster recovery and back-up. Along the way more and more storage has been required, and the need for efficiency has increased, leading to technologies such as virtualization to improve server utilization.

That’s where HighVail’s expansion will come, says Brodkin. By getting unto new products such as VMware, an area the company hadn’t played in the past but has now added as a partner.

“We’d never really gotten into VMware as a company because we did high availability and VMware was server virtualization,” said Brodkin. “Now virtualization is very important in the market, we see that, and we’ve added that expertise to our portfolio.”

HighVail has also added HP to complement its server portfolios with Sun Microsystems, has added more storage vendors, and is also moving into data de-duplication. Green computing is also a growing area for HighVail, and from a technology perspective fits in well with its existing areas of business.

“There are a number of reasons why companies are basically bursting their infrastructure budgets for power, cooling and space,” said Brodkin. “If you take better advantage of the power and the performance and the capability of the processors and storage out there today, by default you’re going to be using less because you’re doing more on the same platform.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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