Q&A with Jake Ring, GIGA Data Centers
ATLANTA, GA — Jake Ring is Co-Founder & CEO of GIGA Data Centers. GIGA was formed by a group of data center professionals, designers, and engineers who saw the future of data center technology. GIGA’s mission is to reinvent the data center to improve your economic performance and impact on the environment by making cutting-edge technology available to everyone, not just Hyperscale IT companies. GIGA’s team has been involved in the data center market for decades. GIGA has built out some of the largest and most technically advanced data centers on the planet for leading Enterprise IT firms. Companies such as AT&T, Microsoft, Southern California Edison, and U.S. Federal agencies including the Dept. of Energy use data centers built with the cost-saving modular systems designed and deployed by our team. In this Q&A, CAPRE connected with Jake to learn about the view from GIGA Data Centers just after CAPRE’s Greater Chicago Data Center Summit.
Ring: Well, we’ve completed our Charlotte data center, which was the facility we acquired in mid-September. We’ll have our first customer moving in soon. It’s been a very short duration from acquisition to development to three megawatts of capacity in six months. Six months is pretty good.
CAPRE: So you must feel pretty good about Charlotte.
Ring: It is the second largest financial center behind New York City. You’ve got a lot of banking HQs here, some new locations moving in. And it’s a prime location in the fiber pathways – basically, from New York City and Washington DC, it comes down and goes right through Charlotte, all the way through to Atlanta and Florida and other parts of the southeast. A lot of the long-haul metro cable is going right through our front yard.
CAPRE: So what’s next for GIGA?
Ring: Now, we’re looking at other locations. We have a mandate from our investors to build out 14 more data centers in next 3 years. We’re looking at Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III locations. We see that there is a need for the capacity to support high-performance compute loads in Tier I markets that are more established, and a need for that capacity to be extended into Tier II and even Tier III locations.
CAPRE: Tell us more about the demand drivers setting the pace for GIGA.
Ring: Essentially, companies that have a lot of data, or organizations that have a lot of it, such as national labs, need more compute. It’s harder to move the data as opposed to move the compute nearer to the data. And with our modular system, that’s what we can do – move that compute capacity to where the data is or where it needs to be.
CAPRE: We were very glad to hear from you at CAPRE’s Greater Chicago Data Center Summit. What’d you think of the event?
Ring: There were some good discussions along the lines of what Chicago needs to do to be more competitive with other data center markets, from a tax incentive basis. From a demand characterization, there are strong opportunities for building additional capacity to support demand.
CAPRE: So what are your thoughts on Chicago?
Ring: Chicago is a really interesting market. It’s the capital of the Midwest, just like I like to say that Atlanta is the capital of the southeast. You have a number of content distribution nodes there that are able to reach a greater concentration of companies and systems that can last. So we see it as a good location. Lots of good power, from ConEd, and from a cost standpoint. And as more hyper-converged systems become more mainstream, you need the ability to support higher densities, to be more effective in deploying them.
CAPRE: Tell us how GIGA is ready to step up in that capacity.
Ring: I like to use this as an example: A traditional raised flood data center might support 3 or 4 hyperconverged appliances in a rack. So you’re talking 6-8U out of a 48U rack being used. You’re stranding a lot of space. We can support those higher power densities of up to 50 kilowatts in the rack, a full rack of hyperconverged systems, such that, say for VDI (virtual desktop instances) we can support 10,000 VDIs in one rack where it might take another data center 8 racks to support. And we’re more efficient with our proprietary cooling technology, so that we can support a PUE guaranteed to be 1.15 or less. And as a plus, in the Chicago market, given the temperature support that’s available for cooling, we can do a lot of free cooling during the year. And so we can operate even more efficiently.
CAPRE: So why would someone pick up the phone to call GIGA?
Ring: We have 4 points in our value proposition. First, we can build a data center for $5 Million USD per megawatt. Secondly, if you’re looking for capacity, we can support the three things customer want most – flexibility, ease of business, and security. By flexibility, I mean that we can support a wide range of power densities and configurations you might come up with now or in the future – you run out of space before you run out of power in our racks, whereas it’s the other way around in a traditional data center.
Plus, we can deploy very, very quickly, and we can scale to support new installations in a matter of days. Finally, our efficiency reduces the cost dramatically – as much as 50%, compared to traditional data centers. And that’s what I mean by the ease of doing business. Then, for business security, our modular system is a private suite that comes standard to every customer. And it’s a building inside of a building. So you have those two layers of physical security.
CAPRE: And what are the next steps as GIGA looks to expand its national footprint?
Ring: I see the need for greater content distribution at the Edge. So Edge deployment support is something that we’re very focused on, because we don’t think it’s necessarily putting servers at the base station of every cell tower. There needs to be secondary data center deployments to support the back-haul and forward push of content distribution within the 20-mile radius to 25 mile radius of major population centers. That’s where I think the Edge is going to be more impactful.
Then, with the rollout of 5G you’ll have wireless antenna distribution for greater bandwidth, but where does that data get pushed from? Is it from the base of every antenna? Well, some will be on the top of rooftops – they don’t have to be at cell towers. But that broader distribution of antennas will require data center presence to support more than just 4 racks of IT equipment.
CAPRE: Indeed. Thanks again for all your insight today, Jake. We’ll see you at CAPRE Data Center Summit soon!