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October 2017

Builder of Diverse Carrier Hotels: Infomart Powers Connectivity, Sustainability and Customer Design Flexibility

Builder of Diverse Carrier Hotels: Infomart Powers Connectivity, Sustainability and Customer Design Flexibility

Top of the line “carrier hotels” are among the most technically advanced buildings in the world.

By comparison, your average city office building is very cookie-cutter: it has a single central heating/cooling/electrical plant and identical floor designs that are easily modified by interior decorators.

But a modern bring-your-own carrier hotel is immensely tougher to design because it must flex to accommodate each advanced concentrated power-using tenant bringing its own electro-mechanical datacenter into the fiber-rich building.

The engineering complexity reminds me of my Navy days aboard a destroyer where we had four independent engine rooms connecting boilers, condensers, generators, and turbines to power the ship’s propellers.

Infomart is a master-builder of datacenters and has a long-track record of running these advanced carrier hotels, so at the ITW show I got a chance to interview Scott Mitchell, Infomart’s Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, who gave me a splendid briefing on his company’s dynamic business model.

In our discussion, Scott explains the value proposition behind Infomart’s massive and rapidly-expanding, 1.6 million-square-foot mega hotel on the edge of Dallas’s growing downtown corridor.  In addition, his company has three other strategic locations, including their sizeable 24 MW facility in Hillsboro, Oregon, which hosts the world-class LinkedIn data center — a real ground-breaker in terms of sustainable energy efficiency and compute density.

Dan Baker, Editor, Top Operator: Scott, to begin, please tell us about your Dallas data center.  I understand it’s one of the largest carrier hotels in the United States.

Scott Mitchell: Yes, Dan.  It’s considered to be one of the top six carrier hotels in North America and also has the distinction of being the largest carrier site in Texas with nearly 100 carriers located in that building.  And it’s a “who’s who” of wholesale tenants like Equinix, Cologix, Zayo, NTT, ViaWest, and AT&T.

But we also have traditional retail Fortune 500 tenants such as Bank of America.  In 2015, we commissioned our own N+1 wholesale raised-floor data center space in the building to bring three (3) megawatts to it.  We’ve since added additional capacity and have plans to bring over 50 MW to that location.

We’ve been highly successful in bringing some of the world’s best-known internet brands into this new data center to fulfill our vision of making Infomart Dallas the prime location for high-speed applications in the Central United States!

The real draw for the location is the fiber already there are in-place to serve the growing needs of the Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and growing list of high-bandwidth use internet applications running on servers that deal up unlimited amounts of video content.

Interestingly, the Digital Realty property (only 1.5 miles away) is the only other site in the region that has comparable fiber.  So, here you have two major carrier hotels situated within a mile and half of each other — you would have to go to Chicago to find something similar.

What differentiates us in Dallas are really two things, we are expandable and sitting on 27 acres of prime real estate in the downtown area and we don’t put a “toll” on our clients’ cross-connections to their racks.  So, those monthly recurring charges for network access are free in our data centers!

To date, we’ve only really built out about a third of the total capacity in Dallas.  Our vision is to develop the whole property and bring a second connected building to North Texas data center market by 2020.

As mentioned, Downtown Dallas is relatively small, but there’s a lot of growth on the West side of the urban core.  We border that Harwood/Design District/Uptown region, where there’s been unbridled redevelopment since 2010.

A majority of the property surrounding our data center site is currently used as a surface parking lot.  This gives us a great opportunity to build and that’s an element of our master plan for this location.  Soon, we will double the size of our covered parking garage and build a second building of approximately 330,000 square feet, delivering about an additional 30 megawatts.

There are four utility power substations that feed our building right now which gives us excellent utility redundancy options.  Additionally, we have plans to expand the generator yard located on the building’s Southwest side.

You’ve likely seen quotes in the local press about this project from our President, John Sheputis in the past year.  We’re all very focused on this Dallas IT marketplace.

Infomart's Dallas data center is one of the largest and most distinctive buildings in Dallas.  The design was modeled after The Crystal Palace, a huge iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park in 19th century Britain to house the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Dallas sounds like a gangbusters growth market for carriers and networking.  And yet, you have another data center in Hillsboro, Oregon that emphasizes different strengths.

It’s true.  In Dallas, it’s the connectivity and network story that sets us apart.  So there are a lot of growth elements in Dallas surrounding the enterprise IT buyers and the managed service providers (like HP, IBM, and Rackspace).  Companies building and running a cloud tend to want data center locations in proximity to the internet backbone network.

Hillsboro is a totally different site in a different environment.  Hillsboro is a suburb of Portland, Oregon, located 20 miles West of downtown, and it’s where powerful technology companies such as Intel are headquartered.

We look at Portland as a very strong and emerging tier 2 market for large, high-availability colo opportunities.  A lot of the mega deals have traditionally found their way to Washington state or down into the San Francisco Bay Area, but we have an attractive offering that is getting noticed by some of the nation’s top CIOs.

For example, the cost of power in Hillsboro is about half from what it is in the Bay Area and we also have an advantage in disaster protection because it’s in a low-risk seismic zone.  If you look at the heat map for the earthquake fault lines, you’ll see that Hillsboro is in a very cool part of that heat map.

Another advantage: a growing number of routes for trans-Pacific subsea cable landings connecting the U.S. to China and Japan are located in Hillsboro.

But what really sets Hillsboro apart is our ability to support renewable power and sustainability there.  We worked with one of our large Fortune 100 customers to support their 100% deployment of rear-door heat exchanger (RDHx) units that cool racks capable of optimally running at 45kW per rack.

In fact, in Hillsboro, we have one of the largest deployment of rear-door heat exchangers in the world, and this technology makes our Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) extremely low.  Our PUE performance will not exceed 1.25 in Hillsboro; we’re consistently focused on improvement with the goal to be hyper-efficient with regard to costs and the environment.

And I understand Microsoft’s LinkedIn is a key customer there at your Hillsboro data center.

Yes, it’s amazing what the LinkedIn team has accomplished there, and we’re really proud of the fact that they are promoting that data center in a 3:00 minute Youtube video with some excellent photography and explanations of their innovative strategies for Efficient IT in that region.  If datacenters are a part of your business, then you should take a moment to check out this LinkedIn story.

Copyright 2017 Top Operator Journal

 

About the Expert

Scott Mitchell

Scott Mitchell

Scott Mitchell serves as the Senior Vice President of Sales and is responsible for Infomart’s National Sales Team, including growth of the data center portfolio and professional services.

Scott has 25 years of technology and senior leadership experience running veteran high-caliber sales teams for market leading companies such as Verizon, Ericsson, and Rackspace.  These experiences have given Scott specific industry experience and knowledge in telecom networks and systems, IT outsourcing solutions, combined with the managed services provider (internet hosting) category.

Scott holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Marketing and Finance from The University of Texas at Austin and earned his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Baylor University.   Contact Scott via

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