Data Center POST interview with AJ Byers, President and CEO, ROOT Data Center

By Contributing Editor Sarah Chamberlain

AJ Byers, President and CEO of ROOT Data Center, has over 20 years of experience in the data center industry. As president of Rogers Data Centers, he led the development of one of Canada’s largest data center service companies with 15 centers nationally. As executive VP of Primus, AJ guided its transition from a legacy telecom provider to a full solution technology services organization. He has also long been a pioneering force in the industry. As COO at Magma Communications, he was instrumental in building one of Canada’s first internet data centers.

During ITW, we sat down to chat with AJ to talk about how ROOT Data Center is solving its customer problems and what’s on the horizon for the company.

Data Center POST, Sarah Chamberlain (DCP-SC) Question: Tell our readers about ROOT Data Center and some of the ways that you are making a difference for your customers?

ROOT, AJ Byers (R-AB) Answer: ROOT Data Center is a next-generation data center company that provides colocation solutions to empower the world’s computing leaders. Its modular design promises optimal agility and efficiency enables customers to scale their technology infrastructure and grow with confidence. ROOT is Montreal’s go-to data center provider because we simplify the process for businesses. We play a strategic role in serving the needs of international companies doing business in Canada. As a gateway to the North American market, Montreal’s proximity to major hubs throughout the Northeast, along with the city’s friendly business climate and low power costs make it a highly sought-after data center location. Furthermore, with data sovereignty laws and the growing adoption of cloud services by Canadian businesses, more and more companies will need to keep and access their data locally, of which Montreal is a key business hub for such enablement.

Canada has secure digital borders. Privacy laws and the protection of personal information remain at the forefront of public policy in Canada. One example is the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), a federal law that sets ground rules for how businesses must handle personal information during commercial activity. ROOT is very cognizant of these compliance requirements for international customers.

DCP-SC Q: Data privacy and compliance are essential. What are some other reasons ROOT is enjoying success?

R-AB A: For one thing, the rise of Montreal as a regional data center hub, as evidenced by the flurry of acquisitions and the adoption of a “cloud first” strategy by the Canadian government. Beyond the hyperscalers established presence, the fast-followers of those cloud leaders are moving into Canada to serve the expanding market and choosing Montreal because of its low power costs and proximity to the major US markets.

DCP-SC Q: Energy plays such an essential role in data centers, keeping costs low is an important consideration. What milestones did you achieve in the past year and how will these developments help your company keep up with the demands of the quickly growing and ever-changing telecommunications industry?

I-AB A: To accommodate this increased demand from businesses coming into the Montreal area, both of ROOT’s data center facilities, the 50MW MTL-R2 – the largest in Canada – as well as its MTL-R1 have expanded to allow the company to be able to supply up to 65MW for the Montreal hyperscale market.

A few well-respected organizations both inside and outside of the industry have recognised ROOT Data Center recently. BroadGroup shortlisted us for Excellence in Regional Data Centres at DataCloud Global Awards in Monaco last month. Earlier at the end of 2018, DCD shortlisted us for the Data Center Operations Team of the Year – Colo-Cloud. That was exciting. The other award happened a year ago, when the West Island of Montreal Chamber of Commerce (WIMCC) awarded ROOT Data Center the prestigious Business of the Year 2018 trophy.

DCP-SC Q: Congratulations on both awards. They are well deserved.

I-AB A: Thank you.

DCP-SC Q: What are you most looking forward to accomplishing over the next year? The next 3-5 years?

I-AB A: ROOT Data Center is excited to see a ramp-up in Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies coming into the data center customer mix. Companies that have deployed AI in the cloud are finding that their algorithms and machine learning processes don’t scale efficiently and are looking at different more cost-effective solutions. Many of the deployment projects current looking at ROOT  are in the AI space. We are looking forward to watching AI develop.

DCP-SC Q: What other new developments are on the horizon for ROOT?

I-AB A: ROOT recently announced a partnership with Megaport to enable private access to cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, IBM Cloud, Nutanix, and Salesforce. The Megaport partnership gives ROOT customers unprecedented connectivity to each of these top-tier cloud computing and “as-a-service” providers and will boost the number of global cloud options available to our customers while  continuing to maintain local access to data requirements. It’s a win/win situation.

DCP-SC Q: Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat, AJ. AJ and the ROOT Data Center team will be attending ITW 2019 in Atlanta from June 23-26, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency and Marriott Marquis hotels. To learn more, please visit

To request a meeting with ROOT at ITW 2019, please email

About ROOT Data Center

ROOT is a next-generation data center company that provides both enterprise and wholesale colocation solutions to empower the world’s computing leaders.  Its modular design promises optimal agility and efficiency, which enables all customers to scale their technology infrastructure and grow with confidence. Upon completion of its greenfield expansion at MTL-R1, ROOT will offer 65 MW of premium capacity to the Montréal market.  Less power to waste, more power to you.  For more information, visit