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Flexible, interconnected and scalable data centres


Inside Cologix’s Inside Cologix’s ongoing data ongoing data centre expansion centre expansion WRITTEN BY




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Sean Maskell, President and General Manager at Cologix Canada, discusses the ongoing data centre revolution and how the company is remaining flexible and interconnected at the hyperscale level


he planet is awash with information. Every day, humans generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data – reports, selfies, text messages,

high definition videos, infographics – in an (almost 04

equally) staggering number of ways. One of the most remarkable things about this ocean of bits and bytes is that 90% of it was created in the past three years. Our ability to move, scan, parse and store this data is fast becoming essential for the maintenance of a functioning digital society. At the core of this is the data centre, essentially a high-tech storage facility for servers that allow vast quantities of data to be remotely processed, stored and distributed. The data centre industry, predicted to achieve annual market values of around $174bn per year by 2023, according to MarketWatch, has undergone a radical evolution in the past decade, and the pace of change is showing no signs of slowing. Having worked in the data centre space since 2004, Sean Maskell, President and General Manager of the Canadian arm of Cologix, Inc, has witnessed


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“When I started in the industry, these were, I would say, not so cool places. That’s evolved and continues to evolve” 08

— Sean Maskell General Manager Canada Cologix Inc.

this transformation first hand. “When I started in the industry, these were, I would say, not so cool places,” he recalls. “These were spaces overrun by massive amounts of copper cables, DS3 mux’s, DSX Panels and crusty old Telecom technicians – that’s certainly evolved over the years and continues to evolve even faster. We’re now witnessing sizeable growth in the industry, lead particularly by the hyperscale and Cloud Service providers. Enterprises are heading down the path towards digital transformation in a big way, as

CLICK TO WATCH : ‘COLOGIX LAKELAND / TAMPA DATA CENTER’ 09 they continue to move workloads to

are closer to the end user. This trend

the cloud, and their consumers expect

aligns tightly with the new methodol-

always-on connections with low la-

ogy, which involves multiple intercon-

tency to the internet of things (IoT). To

nected facilities built around central

make this happen, our clients require

carrier and cloud hubs, like spokes

robust interconnection and cloud on-

on a wheel.

ramp locations that push this consum-

“That’s really pushed the providers

able data closer to the edge, meaning

in Canadian and US markets to ensure

closer to the users that are demanding

sites are strategic for carrier and cloud

that information.” The major trend that

interconnection, which is something

Maskell identifies is the industry’s shift

that we’re very conscious of when we

away from the traditional conception of

build or expand our facilities to include

a single large data centre in a technolo-

hyperscale capacity,” Maskell explains.

gy hub like Los Angeles or Chicago, to-

“Our facilities are strategically located

wards capacity in tier two markets that

interconnection hubs, that allow our w w w.c o l o g ix. com

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customers extensive carrier and cloud

tion, cloud on-ramp and colocation

choice within close proximity to their

services organization sees it work with

consumers.” With over 28 interconnec-

some of the largest technology com-

tion hubs and 5 hyperscale capacity

panies in the world. “Our client base

data centres across the US and Cana-

is one of the best,” Maskell enthuses.

da, Cologix is one of the leading tech-

“The five top technology companies

nology agnostic colocation service

in the world are in our facilities.” To at-

providers in the region. We sat down

tract and maintain relationships with

with Maskell to discuss Cologix’s four

that calibre of customer, Cologix has

impressive new data centre projects

become a preeminent source of exper-

across Canada and the US, as well as

tise when providing space, power and

the strategies and trends at the heart

cooling in locations that give clients the

of the company’s vision for success.

maximized opportunities for intercon-

Cologix’s identity as an interconnec-

nection. As an agnostic data service


Sean Maskell Sean Maskell is President General Manager of Cologix Canada and a veteran within the Canadian telecommunications industry. During his 20+ years, Sean has founded and developed two start-up organizations within the ITC industry and merged the Telehouse Canada business with Cologix in 2012. Sean has a broad range of core competencies including; leadership, sales, business development, data centre design, and operation. He has focused and specialized in legacy data centre retrofitting, and innovative future proof designs. Sean has a remarkable history and remains passionate about the Canadian data centre landscape.

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provider, Cologix has reinforced to

Facilities now have to scale to meet

Maskell the importance of accommo-

those challenges and demands in order

dating customer needs as they evolve.

to allow the client’s business to succeed

“One of the biggest lessons I have learned

over three, five or even 10 years. I do not

is to remain agile – that covers agil-

have a crystal ball that can predict what

ity from executive management, and

those changes and demands might be,

sales, but more importantly it’s agility in

but our facilities need to be designed,

terms of operations, construction and

constructed and operated in a way that

design,” he says. “Our industry is alter-

allows us to quickly add, remove and

ing rapidly: deployments are moderniz-

change the capacity for power, cooling,

ing, business plans are being reshaped

interconnection and so on.”

by emerging technologies and new

Embracing the industry-wide

innovative ways of delivering services

movement towards a dispersed and

are continually being rolled out.

interconnected data centre model that w w w.c o l o g ix. com



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improves client experience and success is central to Cologix’s competitive advantage. “Each core data center in the markets Cologix operates encompasses an important and strategic interconnection site – that’s our focus,” Maskell explains. “But, as these interconnection facilities begin to fill up, we need additional capacity to stay ahead of our clients’ demand. To accomplish this, we construct that additional capacity outside of those interconnection hotels and connect the expansion facility by high-count fibre. This allows our clients seamless, low latency con-

“Our industry is changing rapidly: deployments are changing, business plans are being reshaped within 18 months by new technologies and new ways of delivering services” — Sean Maskell General Manager Canada Cologix Inc.


nections, while enabling them to have the carrier and cloud choice that’s critical to our business.” This is the methodology and mindset with which Cologix is building and upgrading new facilities in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ashburn, Virginia. “Cologix is within weeks of releasing an impressive and largest of its kind 40,000sqft, and 5MW of power in Vancouver (VAN3). Then, in Toronto we’ve just brought on-line an additional floor at our 905 King Street West facility (TOR2) – that encompasses 20,000sqft with 4MW of total w w w.c o l o g ix. com


“Our facilities are strategically located interconnection hubs, that allow our customers extensive carrier and cloud choice within close proximity to their consumers” 16

— Sean Maskell General Manager Canada Cologix Inc. power.” In Montreal, the city where Cologix’s footprint is the largest (10 facilities) following its 2018 acquisition of Colo-D, the company continues to grow its offerings in one of the most favorable data centre climates in Canada. “When you look at our growth in the Montreal market, it in part comes down to a greener power delivery system and ideal weather conditions. The cost of power, which is the lowest in the Canadian market, also helps. This enables Cologix to pass along those savings to our customers,”

Maskell explains. “We’ve just added 15 MW ready for service at our MTL10-H Longueil campus, and acquired an adjacent building to this campus to respond quickly to strong customer demand in the market. Additionally, we began engineering the utility for our MTL8-H Technoparc campus, which will offer 36MW.” The Ashburn project, which will be built on a plot of land at the core of Data Center Alley, will be something of a special project for Cologix. “We’re looking to build a 100MW hyperscale data centre,” says Maskell. Currently, for most companies that aren’t Google or Amazon Web Services, a 100MW data centre is a rare thing. Maskell sees the project as an embodiment of Cologix’s ongoing growth strategy. “It not only strengthens our commitment to the hyperscale market and the business that’s out there, but I think it’s a sign of demand for space that’s growing with it,” he says.  Looking to the future, Maskell doesn’t see the pace of data centre evolution slowing any time soon, and is confident Cologix has the right mixture of infrastructure and flexibility in order to rew w w.c o l o g ix. com



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“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is flexibility” — Sean Maskell General Manager Canada Cologix Inc.

spond. “I think one of the biggest shifts I’m seeing is the physical connection between the carrier or cloud provider and customer. This shift has evolved into a software defined network platform (Cologix Access Market Place), where the customer is in control. Clients have access to a robust network of providers and can initiate almost real time changes to their circuits and workloads as they see fit,” he says. As


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21 hyperscale growth continues to accel-

maintain its commanding position in

erate, Maskell believes that the need

the market. “We’ve got one of the best

for increased interconnectedness will

balance sheets in the industry,” en-

only grow with it. “It’s fantastic to have

thuses Maskell. “We’re the number one

a massive state-of-the-art facility with

data centre provider in Canada and

an endless supply of power and cool-

we’re going to continue to protect and

ing, but can it be interconnected? Is

strengthen that position.”

there a way for data to move in or out?” he asks. “It would be similar to building a beautiful five-star resort on a remote island without a ferry service. Regardless of how nice it is, no one’s going to come!” By continuing to expand its capacity and ensuring that capacity is interconnected, Cologix intends to w w w.c o l o g ix. com

Cologix Canada Inc. 225 E 16th Ave Denver, Colorado 80203, US T +1 855 265 6449

Profile for Business Chief Canada

Cologix – September 2019  

Cologix – September 2019