EdgeConneX’s Phill Lawson-Shanks: Demand Driving Supply Network

Oct 10, 2017
by Josh Anderson

DENVER, CO – Phill Lawson-Shanks is the Chief Architect & Vice President of Innovation at EdgeConneX. Mr. Lawson-Shanks has been at the forefront of designing and deploying industry leading solutions in both the UK and the US for over 25 years. Prior to joining EdgeConneX, Phill was CTO of Virtacore responsible for data center build-out, network core architecture and systems to accommodate the migration and consolidation of thousands of clients and infrastructure.  Phill’s team also designed and deployed the world’s largest VMware-based Public Cloud. At Alcatel-Lucent Phill served as Chief Strategy Officer where he led their effective transition to the cloud, virtualizing many of their programs and creating meaningful time and cost savings. Phill joined SAVVIS as VP and GM of Hosting to re-establish the Managed Hosting business as well as introduce the first ‘virtual server’ product to the market. As Founder, VP and GM of Digital Media at MCI (now Verizon Digital Media Services), Phill created the division and received several related patents in the process. At a recent CapRE event, he participated in a Q&A led by Ms. Kylle Jordan, Economic Development Program Specialist at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, titled the Impact of Demand Drivers for the Edge in the Colorado Data Centre Market, Including: AI and IoT. Below is a snippet of that Q&A. 

Lawson-Shanks: So again the Edge is really defined as being the most connected point to whatever device it is, and today most of the devices are offices and homes. And now local is really springing up. I think that it’s getting that content and keeping it local. 

Jordan: Let’s talk about local demand and drivers. You’ve eluded this to a little bit with the sites you’re currently located at and where you want to go in the future. But for you guys, it sounds like customers can choose where you go next. Is that true?

Lawson-Shanks: We work speculatively. We’re built for the mega tenant. And we build to service their requirements. So the first set of customers that we had, they needed to get their company’s DVRs in their market, and get all of their other traffic off of their micro, so it could be fed locally from their market.

So because of our previous business with ethernet, we had the most extensive network match for all of the network providers. We knew exactly where the routes were. We knew where all of the slice points were. We knew if it was on the right side of the road.

So when a customer comes to us and says “we need 2 megawatts, 10 megawatts, 40 megawatts, in a marketplace, we give them very quickly work out the optimal buildings for those. We can assign buildings very, very accurately to their needs.

And typically we will come back and say to them “these are the three or four we like, we can guarantee to get them in your time frame, and we can get enough power to get you to your horizon, where you need to go. And then we work with them, because then typically they have to then trench their cable, or work with their providers to make sure they can get into that market.  Because a lot of these network people, it doesn’t matter what the corporate people say from a network company, it’s the guys in the market. They know what flows, they know what’s saturated. They know the market. So you have to work with people at all levels to figure out where to site a building. Otherwise you just have a big pretty box that no one can use.

Header Photo: Lawson-Shanks responds to a question by Ms. Jordan.

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