VAR500: 20 Titans Of Transformation

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Datalink broke away from the pack when it decided to branch out from its siloed storage to a more "well-rounded data center infrastructure," said President and CEO Paul Lidsky.

Rallying around Cisco, VMware and others has helped Datalink become a services superstar that has seen massive growth in part due to its capture of technology transformations, namely virtualization and cloud computing. Datalink offers a triple threat of professional services, customer support and managed services, Lidsky said, and has augmented that with a pure consulting practice that helps clients through major transitions, such as moving data centers or preparing for the cloud.

Datalink's diversification and its move away from solely offering storage was in response to customers who wanted a one-stop data center shop.

"Our data center strategy is a direct result of our customers asking us to take a more forward position," Lidsky said. "We're fulfilling more needs for the customers."

To fill those needs, Datalink, based in Chanhassen, Minn., launched dedicated virtualization and cloud readiness practices. It was ahead of the curve on virtualization.

Going forward, Lidsky said desktop virtualization, cloud, virtualization and the concept of unified computing will be major drivers. It also will stick with the tried-and-true data center operations offerings such as backup, archiving, disaster recovery and continuity, which become more critical as virtualization and cloud computing take hold.

Datalink is also turning to certifications from its key vendors to prove its prowess and hone its skills, Lidsky said. It has brought certifications from Cisco, VMware, NetApp, Hitachi and others on board and prides itself on capturing certifications early in the process to sharpen its expertise, he added.

"Demand doesn't create training; training comes first and that creates demand," he said.

By Andrew R. Hickey


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