StarTribune: Movers & Shakers – Chris Flaherty

November 13, 2017

Twin Cities technology executive Chris Flaherty has joined Parallel Technologies to build up the Eden Prairie-based company’s data center managed service business.

Twin Cities technology executive Chris Flaherty has joined Parallel Technologies to build up the Eden Prairie-based company’s data center managed service business.

Flaherty, former chief executive at N’compass Technologies, said his new role involves “productizing and monetizing” data center management services for new and existing clients of Parallel Technologies, already a leader in intelligent building solutions.

“Ultimately, what we’re trying to do is work with customers to minimize the burden and the risk in the data center,” Flaherty said.

More than 70 percent of data center outages are the result of human error, Flaherty said, citing an Uptime Institute study.

As big data continues to grow, companies need support for their data centers that may be on site or at a co-location facility, Flaherty said. Managed services can help those companies and others that he said “are trying to figure out different ways to get out of the data center business.”

Parallel Technologies offers a three-step approach to data center management, Flaherty said. That ranges from day-to-day management of data center tasks to services that provide greater visibility into data center operations to optimization services that involve strategic planning for future data center needs.

Flaherty, who has been in the information technology industry since 1986, co-founded N’compass Solutions, a Maple Grove-based software and services company, in 2000. He continued with N’compass after its 2014 merger with a publicly traded company, since unwound, until his recent move to Parallel Technologies.

Q: Why should a company hire a managed services provider for its data center?

A: You’re running a data center that probably cost in the tens of millions of dollars and it’s the core of your business. Yet you’re sending people to do work in there that don’t have the expertise that they should have. If you can minimize that risk within a reasonable budget, it can cost the same or less and you can get higher production out of your workforce.

Q: What makes Parallel Technologies a good choice for managed services?

A: Aside from the fact that we’re in the middle of building a handful of them for different organizations, it’s having the expertise whether it’s the design component, the mechanical and electrical engineering component, the boots on site getting things pulled together with experience that goes into the quarter-of-a century level.

Q: What’s the value of strategic planning for a data center?

A: They probably should be looking at least two years out because data centers aren’t simple to upgrade. If you need new cooling units, new [uninterruptible power supplies] or new infrastructure or you’re out of space, you’re not going to build a new data center in six months.

Todd Nelson

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