Data Center POST interview with Michael Boyle, Strategic Planning Director, Westin Building Exchange
Michael Boyle is the Strategic Planning Director for Westin Building Exchange (WBX), a world-leading data center and colocation facility in Seattle, WA. Since the building’s construction in the 1980’s, it has proved a strategic location offering much sought-after space to unique and eminent clients such as Southern Pacific Communications (which would eventually become Sprint), Western Telecommunications Corporation, Inc. and more. As the carrier hotel for the Pacific Northwest, the facility provides neutral connectivity points to Asian, Canadian, European and American network service providers, carriers and ISPs, as well as access to the Seattle Internet Exchange (SIX) and the Pacific Northwest Gigapop.
Data Center POST recently sat down with Michael to discuss the future of data centers and what to expect from the Westin Building Exchange as the industry evolves.
By Contributing Editor Sarah Chamberlain
Data Center POST, Sarah Chamberlain (DCP-SC) Question: What trends are you seeing right now in the data center space?
Westin building Exchange, Michael Boyle (WBX-MB) Answer: Well, the current speed and quantity of technology changes in the data center and networking spaces are certainly disrupting traditional methods. Technologies like 5G and IoT (along with their increase in throughput and connected devices) and highly-scaled, mesh, ground-to-ground and ground-to-satellite networks are both changing the game. At the same time, satellite communication with promises of low and medium earth orbits and a new subsea era of 400G/800G interfaces are both opening up new opportunities for high capacity and connectivity.
Changes like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), the cloud shift factor, software-defined networks, and the global IP media move are all taking place at roughly the same time. This will likely result in an altogether different physical network and data-center architecture than the one we were looking at now.
DCP-SC Q: In your opinion, what is the most important consideration for buyers when choosing a data center partner and why?
WBX-MB A: Connectivity, reliability, and location (in that order) are most important, and they are all interrelated. In terms of connectivity, as the suppliers and enablers of the previously mentioned technologies necessitate, volumes of choices are at buyers’ disposal. A close second is reliability, or the idea that redundant networks made available by highly-connected data centers help mitigate single points of failure. Redundancy within the physical structure is also vital and key to reliability. Third is location, which can be more forgiving to the degree that the remoteness is overcome by a high level of connectivity to all required services. If your service is time or latency sensitive, location can be a huge asset.
DCP-SC Q: How does your company adapt to the changing data center space?
WBX-MB A: Right now we are seeing fewer requirements for large, power-hungry colocation footprints and an increasing number of requests for smaller quantities of highly-connected cabinets. We accommodate this trend through thoughtful cabinet placement, which minimizes connectivity costs while tailoring our agreements to support growth that can scale with the client.
DCP-SC Q: Tell us about a customer win and the solution you are proud to be providing them?
WBX-MB A: Several wireless, incumbent, and competitive service providers have begun trading in their transit lines used for DIA in favor of 10G transport service (single hop) back to our building to connect to the Seattle Internet Exchange (SIX) for public peering. From the SIX they pick up their content and backhaul it to their viewing customers. The SIX does not charge a monthly fee and, through our Remote Connect™ service, providers can forego the requirement for a colocation footprint of any kind. There are cost savings, but even better, their customers are able to stream without any buffering. It is a win-win for all parties, reducing latency, congestion, and overages.
DCP-SC Q: What new initiatives should our readers be on the look out for from your company?
WBX-MB A: Readers can keep an eye out for our Remote Connect™ service. WBX no longer requires customers to have a physical colocation footprint within our building in order for us to assist them with connectivity to other building customers.
They will also be seeing the fruits of our initiative with the Cascadia Pacific Alliance. We are working with this association of critical infrastructure and neutral service providers in the greater Cascadia region to make it easier for international customers to do business with customers in our area. The goal is to improve regional connectivity for communities in the Pacific Northwest economic region.
Finally, readers can get excited for simplified cloud connectivity in the form of easier public cloud access via our fiber meet-me room. Accessing your cloud service provider should not be that complicated or costly.
DCP-SC Q: If companies want to work with you, what is the best way to do so?
WBX-MB A: Customers with inquiries can feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can have a discussion with them regarding their individual project.
DCP-SC Q: Thanks so much for your time. It’s rare to hear directly from a carrier hotel that runs a coloaction facility with such a well established Internet Exchange – I’ve learned a lot and hope you did too. To learn more about the Westin Building Exchange, visit www.westinbldg.com.