Monday, 10 December 2012

Hosting UK Now Part of the iomart Family



According to several reports from a local newspaper out of St. Asaph, Wales, Hosting UK has been acquired by iomart Group. Though the news did not break until early December the transaction apparently took place back in October. Why it took so long for the news to get out is anyone's guess.

The sale includes all of Hosting UK's customers, the company's full range of IT services, and its infrastructure and data centres. At least one of those data centres is located in the St. Asaph area which recently experienced some flooding issues. Company spokesmen say their facility has not been negatively affected by the flooding.

Meanwhile, iomart Group is already one of the largest providers of cloud computing and managed IT services in the UK. The acquisition of Hosting UK is right in line with other similar acquisitions including Melbourne Server Hosting and Rapidswitch. The company paid roughly £1.5 million ($2.4 million) to add Hosting UK assets to its current customer base of more than 300,000.

Neither company has yet said whether or not Hosting UK will continue operating under its own brand or be integrated into one of iomart's other brands. It would make sense to continue as-is if the company wants to maintain a separate identity for that portion of their hosting. However, a desire to develop iomart brand loyalty may result in them dumping the Hosting UK name.

Hosting UK customers learned of the acquisition through a rather informal blog post from company founder Phil Parry. In his post Mr. Parry expressed optimism that the acquisition would be beneficial to both the company and its customers. It remains to be seen whether his optimism is well-founded. It also remains to be seen how much influence Parry will exert on the company's day-to-day operations.

Industry Consolidation May Be Good

One of the more positive aspects of the transaction might be the furthering of industry consolidation. In Europe there are lots of fractured industries which can sometimes lead to poor standardisation, lack of quality products and services, and unnecessary price fluctuations. Just like many other industries are benefiting from consolidation it seems that the cloud hosting, collocation, and data centre sectors might benefit likewise.

When Hosting UK was originally established in 1998 it was an IT consulting firm. But as the business grew they added hosting services and server hosting duties. The company itself is somewhat fragmented in that regard, so bringing all of it under the much larger iomart banner makes a lot of sense.

For the typical Hosting UK customer not much should change in the short term. If anything, iomart may end up providing greater support and better infrastructure management that would lead to better uptime and improved technical assistance. In the long term, however, future customers who like the Hosting UK brand may have access to a greater number of options for cloud hosting, managed services, data storage, etc.

On paper, the deal looks good for both iomart and Hosting UK. Let's hope the future plays out to the benefit of not only both companies but also their customers at large.

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