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Interviews

“Hyperscale workloads to be the biggest driver of demand for data center growth”- Michael DeVito, Iron Mountain Data Centers

Iron Mountain Data Centers Interview with DHN - what's leading to data center growth today

This week, we talked to Michael DeVito, SVP Global Sales & Marketing, Iron Mountain Data Centers. As we all know, they are the leading provider of data center and colocation services. Their global portfolio includes hyperscale-ready, strategic edge, and underground data centers. Read on as Michael discusses the impact of COVID-19 on the data center growth, trends, and future of the data center industry in the ‘new world’ that we are living in, and more.

J: Let’s start with a quick introduction of Iron Mountain Data Centers. Can you quickly walk us through the major data center services offered by Iron Mountain?

M: Publicly traded on the NYSE under IRM, Iron Mountain is an S&P 500 company and a member of the Fortune 1000 (currently ranked: 619) and we are proud to service 95% of the Fortune 1000 companies.

Iron Mountain Data Centers is a division of IRM.  We operate a global data center and interconnection platform which currently spans 15 locations in 13 key markets, across 3 regions (North America, EMEA, APAC), and which serves over 1200 clients. To enable our global growth plans, and those of our clients, Iron Mountain has invested over USD 2 Billion dollars since 2017 across our platform.

IMDC offers our customers global, connected, green, highly compliant, and customizable data center environments for their business-critical infrastructure all supported by excellent, high-touch customer support.

Global Footprint:  We continue to invest and expand in markets in order to meet customer demand.  Our data centers are located in highly desired and strategic locations across the globe (North America, EMEA, APAC). Singapore, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Phoenix & Manassas are just a few of our key markets.

Connected Communities:  Our diverse ecosystems enable connectivity to a robust choice of local and global network, cloud and service providers.

Green Power: Iron Mountain was just awarded the RE100 Most Impactful Pioneer Leadership Award that recognized Iron Mountain’s outstanding commitments and innovations in bringing clean alternatives to areas previously dependent on fossil fuels. Our Green Power Pass product is the first offering of its kind in the data center industry and offers a fully-transparent solution for companies seeking to report greenhouse gas or CO2 reductions associated with the green power they consume at Iron Mountain data centers.

Compliance:  IMDC offers compliance support for highly regulated organizations.  Our certifications include:  HIPAA, PCI, FISMA High, FedRAMP, SOC 2/3, ISO 27001, ISO 9001, ISO 50001, ISO 14001.

Customizable Space:  Across our global platform, we have data centers catering to Enterprises, Interconnectivity Hubs, Hyperscalers and Edge sites.  From small business owners to hyperscale clients, we have the capacity and flexible space options to meet the needs of any business.

Customer Support:  We pride ourselves on an unwavering commitment to customer support.  We build relationships with our customers ensuring they are never just a number and that we are continuously engaged to support their growth and success.

J: The global data center colocation size is expected to grow from USD 31.52 billion in 2017 to USD 62.30 billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14.60%*. There’s no doubt that this will attract several new colocation players. How do you plan to bring differentiation in your data center offerings? 

M: Given the significant capital requirements, and the construction and operational knowledge required to build and operate a data center business, I’m not totally convinced that we will see many ‘’net new’’ colocation players stepping into the market. Rather, I believe we will see a continuation of the M&A trends we’ve seen over the last several years, as data center operators seek scale and additional assets to serve their target markets. Iron Mountain Data Centers is an example of that model as well as organically growing our current platform, with new data center builds in key markets such as Frankfurt, Manassas, Phoenix, and London, to name a few.

In my view, one of our greatest assets at Iron Mountain Data Centers is having the global scale to serve the largest Enterprises and CSP’s, while also maintaining a personalized approach to working with clients of any scale. For me personally, it’s a great feeling to know that a client with a small hybrid cloud deployment will receive the same attention and service as the largest content providers we serve. That our clients have repeatedly recognized our team for excellence in service, indicates to me that although we are a global organization, we connect with our clients very closely on a local level.

J: Do you think that COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the colocation market? If yes, is it a positive or a negative impact?

M: It’s hard to neglect the impact COVID-19 has on the world. Whether from a healthcare, social, or economic perspective, COVID-19 has impacted everyone in some shape or form. I believe that the data center industry is one that has seen more upside than downside as a result of the pandemic. With the transition of working remotely and spending more time at home streaming, gaming, getting education, and using any of the digital meeting platforms out there on a daily basis, the bandwidth usage from our Network Service Providers and Internet Exchanges that make our connectivity platform definitely got an uptick.  The large volume of employees working from home also increased cloud adoption in order to support access and file sharing capabilities.  As the digital world is firmly planted in the physical world of data centers, their growth results in our growth.

J: Modular data center are the future of data center designs. Do you agree?    

M: Modular data center designs are an important part of the success Iron Mountain Data Centers is having today and will stay an important pillar, but at the same time you cannot bet on one single solution that fits all as there isn’t such in this business.

When you look at the data centers we build today, we want to create a healthy mix of combining SME and enterprise size deployments while also enabling solutions for the largest providers that have multi-megawatt requests.

Our business model has always been centered around serving a diverse mix of clients.  Some need no more than a couple of racks with great connectivity options and cloud on-ramps, other clients are in need of a complete data center hall, or an entire data center for that matter and some need something that sits right in between the two.

J: How do you think the technologies like Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, etc. will shape the global data center industry in the coming five years? Can we expect some major data center trends?    

M: The above-mentioned trends will be drivers for growth in the data center industry but in my belief, Hyperscale workloads will continue to be the biggest driver of demand and CSP’s will keep growing exponentially for the coming years.  These drivers will be coupled with more build to suit deployment demand, which will result in a trend of more and new capital investment in the data center market to leverage and benefit from those demands.

IoT and AI will be drivers as well, but these trends will have different ways of pushing the business forward. With IoT for instance, the need to be as close to the end user, whether it’s your car, refrigerator, smart watch or running shoe, will become increasingly important. All of these technologies will be tied to ecosystems that provide all the right connectivity routes, be in the key markets, and should sit on top of fiber-rich soil to meet those demands for our clients.

The other developing trend that also hovers above the drivers of IoT and AI are the local edge data centers that are in the closest proximity to the end-user and are tethered to data centers in key markets. These providers can offer low latency and lower costs while still enabling global reach.  Data center operators with a diverse platform backed by robust, global ecosystems will be best positioned to enable IoT and AI workloads. IMDC is uniquely positioned in this regard, as we have over 1,480 facilities in approximately 50 countries worldwide as part of our broader corporate footprint that can be easily re-fitted for edge locations if needed.

J: Can you give us a quick brief of your Green Data Center offering and what is Green Power Pass?  

M: We have made our core colocation business proposition around sustainability in its broadest sense, and specifically, long-term client and partner relationships, a culture of continuous improvement in energy efficiency, investment in minimizing environmental impact, and a strong focus on social responsibility.

In Q4 2019 we underlined our renewables commitment by constructing the largest rooftop solar installation of any data center in the USA at our NJE-1 facility. The 7.2 MW-rated solar installation at Iron Mountain’s data center in Edison, New Jersey now generates more than 9 Million KW/hrs per year.

In 2019 Iron Mountain launched our data center renewable energy reporting solution called Green Power Pass. The first solution of its kind in the data center industry, Green Power Pass is an industry-endorsed, fully-transparent solution for companies seeking to report greenhouse gas or CO2 reductions associated with the green power they consume at Iron Mountain data centers.

Data center energy load can represent a significant percentage of an organization’s overall environmental footprint. For organizations focused on reducing that impact, Green Power Pass can help demonstrate their commitment to, and fulfillment of, carbon and emission reduction goals in line with initiatives such as RE100, Science Based Carbon Targets, and CDP reporting. In the past, the only option would have been to use complex third-party contracting processes to purchase offsets or renewable energy credits.

Iron Mountain’s Green Power Pass is built on the foundation of the company’s 100 percent renewable energy colocation offering, a transparent accounting process, and the new carbon reporting protocol released by the Future of Internet Power (FoIP) working group. Reporting is standardized, easier and faster, delivering peace of mind for organizations looking to achieve their sustainability commitments through an annual certificate of attestation validating that 100 percent of the power they use at Iron Mountain is from qualifying renewable resources. Additionally, they receive a detailed report on their power consumption and full documentation on the amount, source, and chain-of-custody of the wind, solar or other renewable electricity associated with that Iron Mountain facility.

J: What are the larger goals for Iron Mountain Data Centers in the coming year?

M: As we focus on closing what has been a very productive year, we look forward to an exciting 2021. In addition to scaling our global platform to serve clients in key markets, we are focused on accelerating the development of our digital ecosystem, and the future launch of our marketplace. In addition, we will continue our focus on sustainability, in its broadest sense, while ensuring that we meet the growth goals we set for ourselves. We are proud to support such a diverse and important community of clients and look forward to supporting their continued growth and success.

J: We talked a lot about business. Let’s talk about you now. Tell our readers something about your interests that helps you find a balance between professional and personal growth.

M: My balance comes from spending time with my wife and two sons, who always bring me joy, perspective and energy. I also very much enjoy studying history, cooking, and practicing languages.

J: How do you unwind yourself after a taxing day at work?

M: I very much enjoy taking our dogs for a walk, having a meal with my family to catch up on the day, and then sitting in the garden afterwards sipping wine!

*Stat source: https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/colocation-market-1252.html

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