Up-Close with CyrusOne at CAPRE’s Mid-Atlantic Data Center Summit: Rinse and Repeat May be the Secret to Success

LEESBURG, VA – CAPRE always keeps a finger on the pulse of the most disruptive and intriguing developments in the data center industry, and that’s why Up Close: The CyrusOne Growth Story was a central session at CAPRE’s Seventh Annual Mid-Atlantic Data Center Summit at the Stone Tower Winery in Leesburg, VA this week. Moderated by Jeffery Ivey of Strategic Development at CPG, the session featured the input of two CyrusOne insiders, who shone a bright light on the meteoric rise of CyrusOne.

“This all started in 2014,” began Ivey, gesturing to Stuart Dyer, CyrusOne’s Business Development Manager. “In our world that’s a little longer than in most worlds, but it’s still a quick ascension. Stu, could you give us a little bit of info as to how CyrusOne came together in 2014? Perhaps share about the main players and drivers that helped the business come together.”

“In 2013, CyrusOne made the decision to build a greenfield data center in Northern Virginia. And at the time, there were a lot of questions like, Why come to Virginia? It’s a saturated market, there are a lot of other competitors here in this market,” recalled Dyer. “We built a greenfield data center on-spec, and I spent all of 2014 running around, networking at events like this, talking about CyrusOne, and I had a lot of people looking at me like, Cyrus who?”

In other words, the mission critical mainstay of today didn’t yet have a lot of brand recognition. “A lot of people in Northern Virginia were not familiar with this small data center company coming out of the Midwest and Texas and coming into the Northern Virginia market,” he explained.

Stuart Dyer, CyrusOne

“Then throughout 2014, the cloud wave really started to pick up, and CyrusOne timed that just perfectly,” Dyer continued. “We opened up our first data center, and management told me that it was a 48-megawatt facility that would last us 5-7 years. Within 11 months…we were at capacity for the entire campus. The fact that we were able to come together to meet customer demands and customer timelines and get the projects done on time and on budget, faster than anyone else in the market, is a testament to the work that this team has done.”

At that point, Dyer turned the microphone over to Craig Deering, CyrusOne’s Director of Design & Construction to dig a bit deeper. “I joined CyrusOne in 2015, and this has basically been my life for the last three years. 2018 was a blur. We did 55 megawatts last year,” Deering began. “It’s a pretty complicated story in terms of both green fields and repositioning existing facilities.”

Deering then explained a bit about what it is exactly that CyrusOne offers and why their product is unique. “For those of you who don’t know our product, we do large data centers, from 30,000 to 60,000 square feet…this gives us the ability to serve a wide range of enterprise and Cloud providers at a variety of densities,” he shared. “We also have a pretty aesthetic product, I’d say. We use Gordon walls and Gordon grid in our containers, and one of the things that’s unique about our halls is that we have one row of columns down the grid.”

“Who in the audience today knows the Southwest story, and how it became one of the most efficient airlines ever?” asked Dyer, at that point jumping in to provide a bit of helpful context, but careful not to steal Deering’s thunder. “They use the same parts, the same planes, the same pieces, the same flight attendants, the same pilots. It’s a rinse and repeat methodology that they’ve used to scale their business across the entire country. What Craig and his team, have done is the same design approach – the same UPS, the same generators, the same raise floors. That gives us the benefit from not only a build-cost perspective, but also a timing perspective.”

“The basic idea is that we have a very simple palate of product,” concurred Deering. “If you think about this like platform framing, which is the way that home builders build houses, once the crews get on site and start working on our systems, the first house of it goes a certain distance, and they learn some stuff. They build the next one, and they learn. And then by the third one, they’re getting to a high-level of productivity. So we really focus on that efficiency based on that succession.”

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