CentriLogic acquires Advanced Knowledge Networks to strengthen cross-country presence

CentriLogic, which recently unveiled a shiny new data center in Toronto, is expanding its footprint across Canada through an acquisition that will help bolster its presence in Vancouver, Calgary, and Halifax.

The company isn’t buying another data centre, but instead, has bought Advanced Knowledge Networks (AKN), a nationwide provider of managed IT infrastructure including hosting, cloud, and private Wide Area Network services. CentriLogic president and CEO Robert Offley said integrating AKN will enable it to leverage existing deep relationships and cross-sell the services of both entities.

AKN was founded by Monica Rok at the turn of the century. She said that the advent of ADSL technology, which was more nimble than frame relay, was her opportunity to start a business and focus on private networks for mid-size customers that was national in scope and not just for Canadians but for the U.S. as well.

The companies have already worked in partnership for the past couple of years, he said, with AKN having set up colocation for its customers in CentriLogic facilities, as well as interconnects for its private network with the major telecommunications carriers. CentriLogic owns and operates 10 interconnected data centers throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

Founded 15 years ago, AKN’s customers include national brands such as Bayshore HealthCare, Harry Rosen, Leon’s Furniture and Longo Brothers Fruit Markets. It has always been profitable, said Offley, and has a great base of customers, including both mid-size and large enterprises. CentriLogic is already looking to deploy managed services in cities where AKN has a strong presence, he said. “Right now we’re fairly Ontario focused.”

AKN’s offerings are already natural extensions of services CentriLogic already has, but the acquisition bolsters its capabilities in some areas, said Offley, as AKN has done a good job of integrating private networking technology and voice, noting its success in supporting Longo’s Point-of-Sale (PoS) and satellite offices. “It really feels like a natural fit,” he said. AKN is strong in the retail sector, and CentriLogic has been working to flesh out its e-commerce offerings.

It also has long-term relationships established with telecom carriers, as well as deep relationships in healthcare and with provincial governments that CentriLogic is looking to build on, said Offley. “Some of those relationships are tough to crack into.”

CentriLogic unveiled its new data center in Mississauga, Ont. in late August, not long after Microsoft announced it would be opening two data centres in Canada, one in Toronto and one in Montreal. Oracle opened its first data center in Canada in September to support localized data residency for its cloud services as well as public sector customers who want to leverage SaaS offerings and remaining compliant. In early 2014, IBM announced it would spend more than $1.2 billion USD to significantly expand its cloud computing services, including building a new data center in Toronto.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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