Will eStruxture Expand Into Calgary?
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. Below is a snippet of that conversation.
Mitchell: Do you have plans to expand into Alberta or Calgary at all?
Coleman: We’re actively looking at it. never say never. Look, I walk around with a market expansion and acquisition list like the way most people walk around with a sales file.
Mitchell: Obviously, it’s a benefit to you to have locations on both sides of the country?
Coleman: We set out, when we went live with the eStruxture brand in February of last year, to be clear. We were going to be a Pan-Canadian provider. And in order to be a Pan-Canadian provider, you certainly need to be in more than one Canadian city. and so we’re not done. We see the benefits of that, of building a platform, the cross-sales opportunity to our customers, of being in multiple locations, and having a single source to deal with, in order to know how we operate.
You know, at the end of the day, no two data centers, particularly if you purchase existing data centers are the same. It feels different. The operations, the engineering might be slightly different. The level of redundancies, the type of equipment, the manufacturers. All of those things can be different. But the way that you operate it, and the processes and the procedures, whether it’s your go-to-market strategy or your operational and customer support strategy, that’s the benefit of dealing with platforming. That’s what we aim to build.
Mitchell: So what do you see down the road then, not just for eStruxture but the data center space overall, in the next two to three years?
Coleman: The data center market evolves. And I think that, picking up on a little bit of what the previous panel talked about, we’re going to see more and more new applications. And blockchain is one of those. So we’ve gotten hit with what I call “crypto-mania” in Montreal the last six months, and certainly, in December and January, it was manic. To say the least. I think I was probably receiving the equivalent of about ten megawatts of demand every single week – new demand. It was almost borderline stupid. But that said, we’re going to see those kinds of new style applications.
And customers, the more we have of edge compute, and the more that there is built-in redundancy into the network, whether that’s a server network or a telecommunications network, the more that those customers are going to want to drive a different cost-performance curve. And that doesn’t mean that Tier III data center are going to go away. Actually to the contrary. Otherwise I made a pretty foolish hundred plus million dollar bet on a data center in Montréal. But I don’t believe that. I think that there applications within that that require different types of redundancy.
So in order to be a data center and going into the next three, four or five years, you better have a flexible plan. And your engineering better be flexible. And able to scale. Now that also means a certain size or a certain density. That also means that you’ve got to able to house those application in their own room, their sort of own sub-data center environments within a data center. But those are important. We’re seeing different applications evolve. Quebec has gotten hit with Blockchain mania, but we’re getting hit with AI. And we’re going to see AI play out in other areas.
And I also think we’re going to see AI play out in Alberta and I think we’re going to see AI play out in BC. So all of those new style applications there will be ten other applications that we don’t know about. Some of those will come and go and evaporate as quickly as they were thought of, but others will be around. For example, take crypto-currency. I’ll tell you right now – this probably says it all – if I were doing a crypto-currency deal, I’d ask to be paid in dollars.
But do I think that blockchain will go away? I don’t think it will go away. I think that it’s a fantastic application that we’re only just beginning to understand the full potential. And by the way, some of those servers that we’re mining currencies with, they also play in the AI environment. They’re the same server.
So for these technologies we are going to see blurred lines. And I think it’s incumbent on the data center operator to embrace it, to understand it – to truly understand it – not just at the infrastructure level, but at the server level and the application level – so that we can evolve our critical infrastructure to meet those needs.
CAPRE’s inaugural Greater Calgary & Alberta Data Centre Summit was held on April 19 in Calgary. Above: Todd Coleman, President and CEO, Estruxture Data Centers participates in an Up-Close interview about his company’s expansion in Canada.
For more from this Q&A with Coleman, check out previous CapRE Insider Reports covering his earlier remarks:
- Up Close with eStruxture’s Todd Coleman: “High-Volume” Colocation Characterizes Canada
- Up Close with eStruxture’s Todd Coleman: Only a Matter of Time Before the Big Boys Come to Western Canada
- Up Close with eStruxture’s Todd Coleman: How Will Fluctuating Energy Costs Impact the Canadian Data Center Market?
- Up Close with eStruxture’s Todd Coleman: How Will Data Centers Support Oil and Gas in Alberta?
- Todd Coleman Provides Exclusive Analysis on eStruxture’s Acquisition of BackBone Data Vault