The Data Center Frontier Executive Roundtable features insights from industry executives with lengthy experience in the data center industry. Here’s a look at the insights from Michael Custer, President and CEO of Chatsworth Products (CPI).
Michael Custer oversees the direction and management of CPI globally. Additionally, he is the Chief Executive Team Member reporting directly to the Board of Directors. Mike is responsible for ensuring the company continues its growth in the global IT market and maintains the core value of “Delighting the Customer” with CPI’s products and services. In his previous role at CPI, Mike was Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing. He additionally had oversight of International Operations, Supply Chain and Quality. Mike had company-wide responsibility for sales and marketing efforts, including sales force, marketing communications, sales-marketing operations, customer service and technology-expert consulting teams.
Mike also held the position of Vice President of Sales and Marketing after serving as CPI’s Vice President of New Business Development. Mike first joined CPI in November 1996 as General Manager of the Chatsworth, California operating unit, where he led and managed all business functions at the facility. His 30+ years of executive management experience include serving as President and CEO of Sumo Products Group, a manufacturer of high-end consumer electronics, and serving as President and CFO of Califone International, Inc., a manufacturer of audiovisual products.
Mike started his career as a Research and Development Engineer in the consumer electronics industry, working for the Marantz Company, where he eventually became Vice President of Product Development. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from DeVry Institute of Technology in Phoenix.
Here’s the full text of Michael Custer’s insights from our Executive Roundtable:
Data Center Frontier: The rise of cloud computing continues to boost business for data center providers. What are the trends you are seeing in cloud adoption, and how are they shaping the role of the data center service provider?
Michael Custer: The attractive economics offered by cloud providers would not seem to be going away soon, most certainly as it pertains to non-proprietary home/office applications. The usual maturing market decisions loom for data center operators: go-big, partner, and/or find your niche.
Data Center Frontier: The hybrid cloud deployment model appears to be gaining traction with enterprises. How is the emergence of hybrid cloud impacting data center providers’ ability to attract enterprise business, which has historically focused on the need to shift IT workloads out of on-premise facilities?
Michael Custer: It would be hard to imagine a business in 2016 not directly or indirectly engaged in some combination of cloud, colocation, and on-premise compute and storage. How structured that definition of hybrid deployment needs to be remains to be seen, but “and” tends to always have advantages over “or.” Insourcing and outsourcing trends must in the end be cyclical, as when nearly everyone jumps on the same technology boat, soon the competitive advantage is lost and the next disruptive ship arrives with much excitement and hoopla.
Data Center Frontier: It’s been an active period in the market for data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software. What’s your take on the state of the DCIM market, and pace of adoption of these tools by end users?
Michael Custer: It seems clear that the potentially huge user base envisioned by early entrants is still there – they’re just not interested in the full suite. To the point that providers might start avoiding using the acronym. In an environment where increasingly open-source is embraced and vendor-led eschewed, the DCIM chasm looks not crossable but providers that respond to specific needs with scalable solutions of determinate ROI should survive and eventually thrive.[clickToTweet tweet=”Mike Custer: The huge DCIM user base is there; they’re just not interested in the full suite.” quote=”Mike Custer: The huge DCIM user base is there; they’re just not interested in the full suite.”]
Data Center Frontier: There’s been lots of mergers and acquisitions in the data center industry. Is this likely to continue? If so, how might M&A activity impact the competitive landscape in the data center and cloud hosting industry in 2016 and beyond?
Michael Custer: Broadly, we might expect an M&A pause to see if valuations might reset to more attractive multiples. However, with actions by the Fed driving so much market behavior, consistent expectations are hard to come by.
From an IT supplier perspective, continuing data center service migration into the cloud means higher business risk and continues to up the stakes on winning the ever larger projects. If increasing scale is the primary aim of providers, we believe the colocation model remains a very attractive model for delivering a complete and competitive value decision chain to the end-user.