Modular data center specialist Baselayer Technologies has been acquired by the IE Corporation, a maker of enclosures and skid-mounted power solutions. IE said the deal, which was announced last week, will accelerate its expansion into the market for edge computing infrastructure.
Baselayer has deployed about 200 megawatts of capacity to data center clients, including more than 400 data center modules across North America, Europe and Asia. The company experienced early success through its relationship with parent company IO Data Centers, and later in deployments with energy and edge computing firms. The company has been seeking a strategic partner since IO was acquired by Iron Mountain in 2018.
IE says it plans to invest in Baselayer to evolve its product line and offer new custom products. Since the acquisition, Baselayer has already begun to fulfill domestic edge module deployment orders for two new customers. Baselayer says that since January it has lined up contract expansions with current clients for $8.5 million in business.
“We’re excited about the growth opportunities provided by the combined capabilities of IE Corp and Baselayer,” said Kindra Martone, VP of Data Center Strategy for Baselayer. “Since the acquisition, we’ve already secured new customers, grown our pipeline substantially, and expanded projects with our current client base.”
IE Corp has a long history of providing enclosures and containerized electrical equipment for the energy and mining industries. In recent years it has expanded into the mission-critical field, manufacturing modular ISO 9001 Quality systems including power distribution skids, generator enclosures, switchgear, UPS enclosures and chilled water pump packages, deploying in both colocation and hyperscale environments.
Bridging Facilities, IT Enclosures
The purchase of Baselayer – which includes the Runsmart data center monitoring and management software, solution architecture, design and field service groups – enables IE to offer more options for modular enclosures to house IT equipment. It believes this will be an important capability in the growing market for edge computing infrastructure. IE is bringing Baselayer into its Mission Critical Business segment, supported and managed by Bobby Houston, IE’s Vice Chairman and head of the Mission Critical Business.
Edge computing moves data processing and services as close to the end user as possible. The trend is driven by the increased use of consumer mobile devices, especially consumption of video and virtual reality content and the growth of sensors as part of the Internet of Things.
Prefabricated enclosures and modular designs have featured prominently in the approaches of many companies targeting the edge data center opportunity, including Vapor IO, EdgeMicro, Compass EdgePoint, Vertiv and Schneider Electric. Modular designs allow providers to match the enclosure size and capacity to the business requirement, which can vary by market and business line in the multi-faceted edge computing market.
An Early Player in Modular Design
The Baselayer modular designs originated in 2010, when IO Data Centers unveiled its IO.Anywhere module , which could be deployed at one of IO’s massive data halls, or at a parking lot outside a corporate office. IO also looked at the data module as part of a larger system of components that could be refined and customized, and created software to manage a customer’s entire infrastructure.
The IO Anywhere initiative was a bold move to place modular designs at the heart of the data center industry. By late 2014, IO had a list of marquee customers including Goldman Sachs, LexisNexis, Allianz, CBS and CenturyLink.
In December 2014, IO spun off Baselayer as a technology vendor, selling modules and data center management software, while IO retained the colocation business and operated the data center facilities. It has worked closely with electric utilities, including Salt River Project’s DataStation concept, which connects the data center to the bulk transmission lines and substations that serve as the fast lane of the power grid. Baselayer also helped Puget Sound Energy deploy several disaster recovery data facilities.