CAPRE’s Eighth Annual Greater Chicago Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Summit Preview: Q&A with Doug Fulton, zColo
by Josh Anderson
CHICAGO, IL — Doug Fulton is the Senior Director of Business Development for Zayo Group- zColo. zColo by Zayo offers colocation data center facilities in over 30 markets worldwide. We offer intuitive solutions for your business needs, whether you’re looking for scalable, highly redundant infrastructure, carrier hotels in the heart of the central business district, or a mixture of both. In anticipation of CAPRE’s Eighth Annual Greater Chicago Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Summit March 19, where he will be a featured speaker, we posed some questions to Doug about the trajectory for zColo, as well as the broader industry, for 2019, as well as what to expect in Chicago.
Fulton: We spent some of 2018 expanding, adding great new facilities in Northern Virginia and London, for example. And in 2019, we look forward to providing these expanded solutions to existing and new tenants. It’s an exciting time in our industry. There’s demand from the hyperscalers and the enterprise market is growing extremely fast as well.
CAPRE: What challenges are you tracking as you look to the rest of 2019?
Fulton:. My goal is to ensure that zColo is as well known as Zayo’s large fiber business. Even within the data center community, I don’t think that most buyers know that zColo has more than 50 data centers in 30 cities and that our presence is global. We shine with our customers, as they continue to buy from us, and are working hard to educate the industry about our full solution from colo to cloud to fiber and everything in between. Events like CAPRE’s Chicago Data Center Summit are exactly what we need to do for that.
CAPRE: What is zColo looking forward to about CAPRE’s Eighth Annual Greater Chicago Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Summit on March 19?
Fulton: I haven’t missed one CAPRE Chicago event over last seven years. But it always comes back to who’s who. It’s a great data center show in the Midwest where you can actually learn something. It’s not just the marketing fluff. You can get in-depth knowledge.
CAPRE: What topics or themes do you think will be the most salient on that day?
Fulton: We have four data centers in Chicago — two downtown and two in the suburbs. Three are going through expansions. So I do see this market growing. Not to mention that across the board you see a lot of new players looking to expand in Chicago, including enterprise businesses and start-ups. We continue to see strong demand across multiple verticals.
CAPRE: What broader trends in the industry are driving the data center game? What do clients come to you about?
Fulton: I would say that in 2019, and where we’re at today as an industry, it’s hard to have the data center conversation without discussing the cloud. Most customers in the business we are in are looking for some sort of hybrid cloud environment. That gives us a leg up, because we have a unique position with our connectivity to public cloud services. Starting this year, we’ve become a leader in Azure Stack deployment.
CAPRE: And what makes the Chicago market tick? How would you characterize the activity there?
Fulton: It’s been amazing that Chicago has done as well as it’s done with the uncertainty in our market. The tax uncertainty, for example. And there are no special incentives. But Chicago has still grown at a steady clip. A lot of that is due to Chicago’s connectivity. It’s one of the biggest internet hubs of the world. That’s one of the big reasons that Chicago is where it’s at. Plus, ConEd does a great job keeping the power up. We don’t really have earthquakes or tornadoes either, so it’s a good place to build data centers.
CAPRE: What should those attending CAPRE’s Eighth Annual Greater Chicago Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Summit on March 19 know about zColo?
Fulton: We’re starting to see a shift in our industry. Enterprises have traditionally maintained their own data center or moved things to the cloud. And we’re starting to see a half-in-the-cloud strategy for our customers, or pulling what’s in the cloud back. Most of our customers are pulling apps out of the public cloud and putting them back a colocation environment with connectivity back to the cloud. That hybrid strategy is where it’s going to be in 2020 and beyond.
CAPRE: Thanks for the insight, Doug. We’ll see you in Chicago!