Modular data center specialist IO files for IPO

IO, the Phoenix-based company that specializes in building and selling 462-square-foot data centers, has filed a confidential S-1 form in preparation for an initial public offering. The news isn’t particularly surprising — IO raised $90 million last October in a move widely regarded as preceding a near-term IPO.

While there are critics of the modular approach — in which servers, storage and networking gear are crammed inside steel boxes about the size of shipping containers instead of installed on specially designed floors — IO has been doing very well by all accounts. In June, the company signed a partnership with F1 racing powerhouse — and IT power user — McLaren. Last September, Goldman Sachs committed to IO technology as the foundation of its global data center expansion strategy.

Source: IO

Source: IO

IO’s apparent success is no doubt aided by its focus on power efficiency and its next-generation data center management software called IO.OS. It now offers a compact version of its modules that’s about half the size (230 square feet) of the original and a line of eco-conscious air-cooled modules. IO also maintains a hosting business that encompasses its modular data centers as well as traditional server cages.

I toured the company’s headquarters and primary data center in Phoenix in 2012 and was rather impressed.

IO is the second big enterprise technology vendor to file for its IPO recently, after Violin Memory did so in August. While Violin chose to file its S-1 publicly, IO chose the confidential option (as did Twitter) now available to companies with less than $1 billion in annual revenue.