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Ahead Focusing Deeper On AWS, Microsoft And Cloud Providers

Mark Haranas

Fresh off its acquisition of vCore this week, solution provider star Ahead says it has a ‘very large focus’ on cloud providers like AWS and Microsoft Azure.

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Ahead is betting big on boosting its cloud capabilities with hyperscalers Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure this year as the solution provider powerhouse invests millions in solution provider acquisition and top talent.

“We have a very large focus on the hyperscaler cloud providers such as AWS and Microsoft,” Stephen Ayoub (pictured), president of Chicago-based Ahead, told CRN. “We continue to grow that team and invest in top technical talent to provide an end-to-end solution to our clients with both on-premises and cloud capabilities.”

Already a top Dell Technologies, Cisco Systems and VMware channel partner, Ahead is doubling down on investing in AWS and Microsoft Azure. The company is now an AWS Premier Consulting Partner with over 70 AWS specialists and more than 50 AWS certifications.

[Related: Michael Dell On VMware, Ukraine, Apex, PCs And Channel Partners]

Ahead is a fast-growing national solution provider that expects to surpass the $2 billion gross revenue mark this year, with more than $200 million in professional and managed services revenue backed by 1,300 employees.

Ahead’s cloud push comes as enterprise spending on cloud infrastructure services soars, while data center hardware and software spending continues to remain relatively flat year over year on a worldwide basis, according to data from Synergy Research Group.

Enterprise spending on cloud infrastructure services reached $178 billion in 2021—doubling the data center market spend last year. The $178 billion in cloud infrastructure services spending represented an increase of 37 percent compared with 2020, as enterprises invest in AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud compared with products inside their own data centers.

Ayoub said Ahead had “phenomenal growth in our cloud business and cloud services” in 2021 and anticipates exponential growth in 2022. “We’re going to align with AWS, Azure and get momentum from the public cloud market,” he said.

In 2019, enterprise spending on cloud services surpassed data center hardware and software for the first time ever. The global COVID-19 pandemic then fueled an even more drastic shift to worldwide IT operational and spending towards the cloud, according to John Dinsdale, a chief analyst at IT research firm Synergy Research Group.

“Enterprises are now spending twice as much on cloud services as they spend on their own data centers,” Dinsdale told CRN last month. “It’s a strong testimony to the value and attractiveness of cloud services that the 2021 market growth rate actually exceeded 2020 growth, despite the enormous scale that has already been achieved.”

Ahead Acquires vCore This Week

As Ahead doubles down on cloud providers, the company this week acquired fellow solution provider vCore in a move to strengthen its cloud and networking muscle.

“vCore is a leading partner on the West Coast,” said Ayoub. “Their technical leadership, account focus and culture align directly with Ahead, giving us geographical reach and added technical talent to our growing portfolio.”

vCore, which made CRN’s 2022 MSP 500 Elite 150 category list, provides customized IT solutions and services for more than 100 companies across North America, including cloud storage, network infrastructure and managed services.

“Together, we’ll better meet the end-to-end needs of our enterprise clients and help them accelerate their transformations to more agile and innovative cloud-native businesses,” said Ahead founder and CEO Daniel Adamany in a statement.

Ayoub said Ahead is looking to boost its cloud-native capabilities in software and data engineering to help customers accelerate their digital transformation strategies.

Acquisition Strategy Ahead

Ahead has made some blockbuster channel acquisitions over the past several years.

In 2020, Ahead acquired channel standouts RoundTower Technologies and Kovarus.

Last year, the company acquired data analytics consulting firm Vertical Trail, who specializes in helping enterprises discover high-value insights through cloud-based data engineering and data science solutions.

Looking forward, Ayoub said Ahead will likely continue to grow its cloud and technical capabilities as well as geographic market reach via acquisition.

“Ahead is going to continue to add capability acquisitions to get us deeper within our technology portfolio, as well as traditional VAR acquisition for geographical reach,” said Ayoub. “We’ve been very pleased with our growth and acquisition strategy, and are very confident in the differentiation that we bring our clients with our extended portfolio.”

Mark Haranas

Mark Haranas is an assistant news editor and longtime journalist now covering cloud, multicloud, software, SaaS and channel partners at CRN. He speaks with world-renown CEOs and IT experts as well as covering breaking news and live events while also managing several CRN reporters. He can be reached at mharanas@thechannelcompany.com.

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