CAPRE’s Third Annual Greater Boston & New England Data Center Summit Preview: Iron Mountain’s Bill Bentley Says Boston Has Turned a Corner
BOSTON, MA — Iron Mountain Incorporated, founded in 1951, is the global leader for storage and information management services. Trusted by more than 225,000 organizations around the world, and with a real estate network of more than 90 million square feet across more than 1,450 facilities in approximately 50 countries, Iron Mountain stores and protects billions of valued assets, including critical business information, highly sensitive data, and cultural and historical artifacts. Bill Bentley, who will be a featured speaker at CAPRE’s Third Annual Greater Boston & New England Data Center Summit, is a Senior Business Development Executive at Iron Mountain. In preparation for the summit, CAPRE connected with Bentley to talk about the Boston data center market as well as the latest at Iron Mountain.
Bentley: In general, we are seeing some strong demand across our portfolio, especially in Tier I markets. But we’re seeing demand in particular from public sector, hyperscale and enterprise. we’re seeing a healthy amount of demand from each market segment.
CAPRE: And how are things in Boston and New England?
Bentley: For Boston specifically, we’re seeing a little bit of turnaround in demand. Last year, there was some lag. The demand from Boston based companies was going elsewhere and it seems like there were some larger users exiting the market, rather than new users entering the market. But it seems like there’s been a turnaround. We’re seeing healthier amounts.
CAPRE: What demand drivers make your clients pick up the phone to call Iron Mountain?
Bentley: People call us because we have established relationships. We’re a trusted partner for those with data center requirements. We’re very strong with the public sector and highly regulated industries. It’s translated well from our established lines of business into the data center space.
CAPRE: What verticals are driving such demand in Boston?
Bentley: It’s life sciences, it’s financial, it’s healthcare in Boston. Those industries often drive regional demand in Boston and they are regionally focused. Some stay that way and continue to be regionally focused but others will mature and expand into other geographies.
CAPRE: What strategies does Iron Mountain employ to take advantage of this demand?
Bentley: We listen to our customers – we ask them direct questions. Where are you looking to build? We take that feedback into consideration heavily. We are hearing similar feedback to other large scale users. We hear about demand in major markets where others are growing. we’re also interested in where else there is demand though – whether that’s in the Middle East, Africa, or Latin America, Southeast Asia.
And we’re interested in learning about some of the demand profiles in those markets as they mature and potentially growing with our customers elsewhere. We don’t want to be a fast follower of some of the other major players, but follow some of our customers into emerging markets.
CAPRE: How is the market changing in Boston and New England?
Bentley: In the recent past, we saw a number of large-scale users exiting the market. A lot of that was cost driven. In the more recent history, around the end of 2018, we started to see demand bounce back. Everything from small colocation to megawatt scales. Most demand is in the small to medium-size requirements, but there is some selective demand that exists on the smaller wholesale level for specific purposes. That wholesale demand will always be limited though, based on the lack of tax incentives, utility rates, and the features of the telecom services here. It will still exist selectively, but we’re starting to see a little bit more of robust demand.
If I were to characterize that in terms of scale, I’d say 5-200 kilowatts is the most robust. There were a couple of 1 MW+ transactions that occurred over the last twelve months, but I think that most of the regional users are exiting, in favor of lower cost markets. The thing that’s interesting about Boston generally, though, is that because of the verticals that are strong in this region, a lot of the large-scale demand in other markets sometimes originates in Boston.
CAPRE: What’s the most interesting thing happening in the Boston data center arena?
Bentley: Boston and the metro area have always done a great job of attracting tech start-ups. That’s been the bread and butter – growing and maturing those high-tech companies. What’s been interesting lately is some of the recent demand from financial services at a larger scale. That’s been a new and positive change in this area that is definitely new in this region.
CAPRE: What are you looking forward to about CAPRE’s Third Annual Greater Boston & New England Data Center Summit?
Bentley: I’m always interested to hear if the demand profiles that we see are consistent with our competition out there. We don’t compete head-to-head with every player in Boston. Everyone has a different flavor for what they offer. So I’m always interested in what others are seeing.
CAPRE: What kind of topics will be the most buzzworthy, either on panels or in networking breaks?
Bentley: Well, are markets like Boston emerging as major markets? People talk about that. It’s definitely something I’ve heard.
CAPRE: Finally, what’s the bottom line for Iron Mountain as you wrap up the first half of 2019?
Bentley: We have always continued to refine based on customer feedback and relationships, which give us great access to large scale users. Some of the other recent news we’ve had is regarding our renewables program, where we’ve had some direct purchase agreements allowing us to offer 100% renewable energy to customers across our entire portfolio. We really give them the ability to report the actual utilization of their renewable energy.
CAPRE: Got it. Thank your for your time Bill. We’ll see you in Boston!