Up Close with eStruxture’s Todd Coleman: Only a Matter of Time Before the Big Boys Come to Western Canada
by Josh Anderson
CALGARY, ALBERTA — Todd Coleman is the President and CEO of eStruxture Data Centers. Todd brings more than 25 years experience in the IT, data center and telecommunications industries. Most recently, Todd was the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Cologix. Todd has also held several senior positions at Level 3 Communications, a global telecommunications company, including Senior Vice President of Data Centers, Senior Vice President of Media Operations and President of Level 3 Communications Europe. At CapRE’s inaugural Calgary and Alberta Data Center Summit last week, Todd participated in a Q&A moderated by Barb Mitchell of Jaymie Scotto & Associates about eStruxture’s latest activity and his exclusive industry observations.
Mitchell: So we’ve been speaking about Canada. Do you see developers being interested specifically in Western Canada? If so, what’s appealing about it?
Coleman: Look, I do. Fundamentally, it comes down to a couple of things. First off, the cost of power is critical. We’ve attracted them to Eastern Canada, Québec, because we have some of the lowest-cost power in North America. And eyeballs and content need to be localized. We’ve seen that play out over the years. And so, we’re going to see those cloud providers want to move their content closer to their end-users, which, by necessity, means that they’re going to move to the West.
Now, they are already in the West. They’re just in the Western United States, not Canada. And the more that data sovereignty plays into their vernacular, the more that they are hosting data, and the more that it’s critical to their end-customers, that their data being acknowledged and truly housed with an SLA in Canada, the more that we’re going to see that develop over time. And it’s only natural that it’s going to move West.
Now, I think there are a couple of critical factors with that. And that is, we’ll see that migration get expedited to the extent that the power companies in the other local provinces in Western Canada decide that they want to keep up with the power trends of Eastern Canada. Ontario is a perfect example. Historically, two or three years ago, we’d have tire-pickers come through Canada and they would evaluate, frankly, because there wasn’t a significant amount of capacity and there wasn’t a significant amount of operators, and they were so concerned about some of the local and cultural elements of being in Québec, particularly around language, that they found their way down to Ontario.
But it’s now evolving, and they’re asking the question, why pay 11 cents per kilowatt hour, when you can pay sub-five and a half cents? And so to the extend that Alberta, BC and others, which I believe they are currently evaluating and about to follow suit, to the extent that they want to compete with Hydro-Québec, particularly for hyperscale deployments, then for sure we’re going to see hyperscale and cloud deployments in Western Canada.
For more from this Q&A with Coleman, check out our previous CapRE Insider Report covering his earlier remarks: Up Close with eStruxture’s Todd Coleman: “High-Volume” Colocation Characterizes Canada