Up-Close with Stream Data Centers’ Anthony Bolner at CAPRE’s Montréal & Québec Data Centre Summit
MONTRÉAL, QUÉBEC – CAPRE’s Third Annual Greater Montréal & Québec Data Centre Summit was a day of rousing panels that covered a diverse array of topics – from data center leasing to innovation in AI to engineering and connectivity. One early morning presentation took a similarly broad view of, featuring an up-close interview with Anthony Bolner, Executive Vice-President and Partner at Stream Data Centers, on the market dynamics in the North American data center arena.
“Why don’t you tell us where you are in North America now,” suggested CAPRE’s Brian Klebash, who moderated the session. “You’ve got a pretty large footprint that’s only growing. Please describe that footprint.”
“Good morning. I’m Anthony Bolner. Stream Data Centers is based in Dallas, Texas, and we’re a developer and operator of colocation data centers. We’re currently active in three markets in Texas – Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio,” began Bolner. “And we’re also active in the Chicago market and the Phoenix market. Here in Montréal, we assist on a large data center in the western part of the market, what is usually referred to as the old Ericsson data center. GI Partners Is the owner, and we assist them on the marketing of that data center, along with David Cervantes at CBRE. Stream Data Centers has basically been in the market for 19 years. We started in 1999 and are working on our twentieth year.”
“Why don’t you tell us about the dynamics of the demand side in the U.S. – enterprise vs hyperscale,” segued Klebash, continuing the momentum. “How has that changed at Stream Data Centers, and what have you been seeing over the last 12 months?”
“Sure. At a high level, and I think this is something you can certainly also apply to the major markets here in Canada, if you look back over the last five years, and even today, the data center market has been driven by enterprise users,” Bolner replied. “The shift though has been what those enterprise users have done over the last 5-10 years and even today. Large enterprise users ten years ago often were building an on-premise data center. They were spending their own capital dollars and designing it and building it and operating it themselves.”
“But over the last 5-10 years, colocation and the outsourcing of data centers have become very prevalent. The colocation product has gotten so much better than it was 5-10 years ago. that was really the growth in the colocation industry,” continued Bolner. “Well, all during that timeframe we kept hearing about the Cloud. But there was a lot of CIOs and CTOs that were fearful of the Cloud. Well that fear is over obviously and the enterprise users are absolutely migrating what they can into the Cloud. And that just changes the market.”
So now, according to Bolner, the industry is still experiencing an underlying enterprise demand in the larger U.S. and Canadian markets, but it’s not as widespread or as deep as it was five or six years ago.
”That has changed the offering and to [copanelist Michel Chartier, President of Kelvin Emtech]’s earlier point of consolidation, consolidation is basically the larger providers chasing these hyperscale requirements,” explained Bolner. “Not every hyperscale requirement is a Cloud player. It can be a very large technology company. Which may look and feel like a Cloud provider but it really is their own internal IT. You can throw out Uber and Salesforce and Apple and Netflix, but the product offering has definitely changed. And it’s been changed in the last 2-3 years.” Because the scale of these hyperscale players has been so significant. If they’re not willing to pay for all of the bells and whistles that the enterprise guys are willing to pay for, so the designs have changed in order to just handle the size, the scale, the flexibility, etc.”
Finally, before moving onto pick the brain of Chartier, Klebash asked one more question to Bolner. “What has Stream Data Centers done to adjust, adapt and evolve?”
“We’ve addressed it with our product offering. What was really focused on the enterprise user 5-6 years ago, we still have an enterprise application in our product, which could mean a 2-hand, A-B configuration, to each rack,” answered Bolner. “But your designs have to be more flexible, where you can offer more larger scale deployments at a lower cost. That’s the key. The bigger hyperscale deals are also at a lower cost than your classic financial services or healthcare enterprise deal.”