The View From Evoque: Drew Leonard Shares Three Components of a Successful Edge Strategy at CAPRE’s Mid-Atlantic Data Center Summit

LEESBURG, VA – 5G is on everyone’s mind in the tech space. Whether you’re a data center investor, network operator or fiber manufacturer, it’s on your radar. But from there, the paths diverge. And that’s what the panel “5G Industry Rollout and Edge Infrastructure Investment: What is the Impact Year to Date?” at CAPRE’s Seventh Annual Mid-Atlantic Data Center sought to address – what will the journey to 5G look like, and how are different stakeholders in our industry going to be a part of it, and where the heck is the Edge headed next?

Early in that discussion, Moderator Andrew Gold, Principal at Datacenters Unlimited Management Partners looked to panelist Drew Leonard, Vice-President for Strategy at Evoque Data Centers for the view from Evoque, a new player in the space that is making waves and taking names.

“Drew, I’m interested to hear your perspective. You’ve been very public about the fact that you took over these AT&T data centers, and it seems that there were some challenges to create some diversity and in a carrier-neutral way,” shared Gold. “How does that play into your job, the future-proofing, and addressing these challenges around Edge computing?”

“Well, I don’t like to use the term future-proof.  What I like to say is future-prepared,” replied Leonard. “When you think about the opportunity that we have as Evoque, when we took over these data centers, we basically came in with the drive to create a carrier-neutral environment. That means bringing in new carriers, new fiber providers, and talking to new wireless folks. Really, talking to everybody. Because in our mind, this doesn’t work without providing a vast array of different options for connectivity in and out of the data center.”

“One of the things that we started doing on day one, was actually thinking about what is the Edge for us? How do we do the Edge?” shared Leonard. “How are we going to play in that space? We’ve been working with a bunch of different folks, sitting down and actually designing for different use-cases. So, how can we leverage the assets that are available to us, to be able to do this?”

According to Leonard, it comes down to three specific components, and they seem to be pretty universal across different data center solutions. “The first one is location. You have to have a good location,” he began. “You have to have where the end-user is, where the customer is, where the demand is. Whatever that driver is, you have to have access to that location.”

“And then location is great, but it does nothing if you don’t have the networks,” he continued, listing the second item. “That means multiple networks — multiple ways of getting out to that location, for the perfect eco-system opportunity.”

Drew Leonard, SVP, Evoque DCS

“The third thing is the service providers,” he shared. “So who is delivering the applications, who is able to use those applications, and what needs to be there at the Edge, in order to take advantage of them? And in fact that is going to require a lot of collaboration. That’s going to take a lot of different technologies, a lot of different entities, sitting down and planning things out. Making mistakes. Screwing up. Spending a lot of money.”

“But at the end of the day, we’re doing this for the end-users,” concluded Leonard. “Whoever those end-users are, we’re trying, as a data center provider, to provide a service for ultimate end-user delivery and experience. So that’s what we’re trying to do. We have partnerships that we’re working on, different groups we’re working with, to deliver our Edge solution.”

For more coverage of this panel, check out earlier CAPRE Insider Reports:

E-mail me your stories,  industry news tips, and press releases.