By Contributing Editor, Kathy Xu
ROOT Data Center President and CEO AJ Byers is a data center industry veteran with two decades of experience, including time as President of Rogers Data Centers. He has helmed ROOT to its industry-leading position, providing next-generation co-location services in Montréal, Canada.
Data Center POST recently had the opportunity to interview AJ about new developments for the company, how ROOT is leveraging Artificial Intelligence, and his perspective on International Telecoms Week 2018, taking place May 6-9 in Chicago.
Data Center POST, Kathy Xu (DCP-KX) Question: What network challenges does the industry face as we head to the middle of 2018 and beyond?
ROOT Data Center, AJ Byers (ROOT Data Center-AB) Answer: We anticipate seeing a dramatic migration towards the cloud — enterprises moving from traditional colocation and on-premise data centers to cloud-based storage.
This drives two major changes in the network. First, the large hyperscalers require a massive amount of network capacity to connect the data center to the rest of the world. Second, many of these companies need to connect hybrid environments to these massive cloud deployments: enter cloud connectivity. Data center providers today need to address both these needs.
DCP-KX Q: What are some new developments and initiatives that are exciting for your company in 2018?
ROOT Data Center-AB A: ROOT is addressing the challenge mentioned above through a variety of strategic initiatives as well as some key recent developments. We recently secured $90 million in new financing from Goldman Sachs, which not only improves our long-term stability, but also enables us to enter new regions and markets, complete facility expansions, and properly invest in capacity to better serve our customers’ demands.
GTT has also recently established a Point of Presence (PoP) in our Montréal facility, MTL-R2. The partnership provides hyperscalers and other ROOT customers with more network options to serve their global customer base. ROOT is a wholesale-first data center, designed to suit businesses of any size.
Enabling this capability are a variety of factors, including our strategic urban location that provides low latency to end-customers, yet also offers access to both brown and greenfield real estate if a new build is needed. There is also access to Quebec’s ample supply of affordable hydroelectric power, and the ability to deploy quickly.
In contrast with more traditional colocation deployments, ROOT’s model from its very beginning was based on multi-megawatt implementations in less than 120 days. This capability has positioned us well when it comes to serving hyperscale customers.
DCP-KX Q: Are you seeing Artificial Intelligence and/or Machine Learning deployed in your business and how?
ROOT Data Center-AB A: A key focus for ROOT has always been the ability to handle expansion and growth, but also to maintain exceptionally high quality. A critical enabler of that is the ability to reduce downtime risk in as many ways as possible.
Data center outages have been in the news as of late, and the hardest hits usually come from outages affecting wholesale operators serving cloud customers, which is why reducing downtime risk is so critical in our sector.
ROOT has gone above and beyond our data center design, which surpasses Tier 3 standards, to deploy a much less traditional and highly innovative way of reducing downtime risk. We recently partnered with AI and machine learning technology firm Litbit to use AI and machine learning to reduce the risk of data center downtime. While other providers have deployed the technology to improve efficiency of power and cooling systems, ROOT is the world’s first wholesale data center to do so to reduce downtime risk.
The technology utilizes deep datasets to monitor and manage the overall health and status of critical systems within our Montréal-based facility. This enables our team to better anticipate and manage potential failures before they occur.
DCP-KX Q: Why is ITW such an important industry event for you and your company?
ROOT Data Center-AB A: ITW always facilitates the most productive meetings and conversations. It provides a central place for us to meet with different players from the global data center and broader telecoms and technology communities, from traditional telcos and wholesalers, to hyperscalers and network operators. As an innovator, it’s critical that we stay abreast of what others in the market are doing, in addition to learning about their new requirements, key challenges and industry trends.
TNR-KX Q: Thank you for spending some time with us today, and best of luck at ITW 2018!