Smart cities will need data centers. But not every aspiring Smart City can support a thriving business for data center service providers.
ETIX Everywhere sees this as an opportunity, rather than a disconnect. The European company offers an unusually broad range of capabilities – including data center design, construction and operations – as well as partnership models. ETIX officials say this gives it the flexibility to go into markets where no data center provider has gone before.
“Our success in Europe has been in emerging markets,”said Anthony Verda, the senior VP of sales for the East Coast for ETIX. “Where we’re seeing traction is with municipalities that want to be smart cities and require a data center.”
The smart city is an urban development vision to integrate information technology and the Internet of things (IoT) into the fabric of city life, using analytics and sensors to better manage cities and make urban ife safer, more efficient and sustainable. It’s just one more expression of how next-generation technologies are remaking the American landscape. And ETIX Everywhere wants to be part of it.
“We’re in a paradgim shift,” said Stephen Belomy, the senior VP of sales for ETIX Everywhere for the U.S West Coast. “A lot of regions are trying to digitize their economy. We’re helping these emerging markets. We have broadened our reach outside of major metro areas and global connectivity hubs to bring superior data center services to emerging, secondary markets around the world. It creates an ecosystem and brings these more remote, non-hub areas into the digital age.”
Holistic Approach to the Data Center
ETIX Everywhere is based in Luxembourg but is now setting its sights on the American market. The company was founded in 2012 by CEO Charles-Antoine Beyney and Managing Director Antoine Boniface, who worked together on a a data center project when Charles-Antoine was managing the European networking company BSO.
Their first project, a large data center in Paris, was acquired by global colocation leader Equinix. ETIX – short for Ethical Internet Exchange – raised 15 million euros in funding in 2015 from its two financial partners InfraVia and Tiger Infrastructure Partners, and began to build a broad suite of data center capabilities.
As its name suggests, ETIX has goals that reflect on new ways of thinking about the business, including full transparency to csutomers, no cross connect fees, and no use of drinking water for its cooling.
The company has created “pre-industrialized” components for repeatable designs that can be deployed in 300, 900 and 1,500Kva modules. ETIX designs can use three different types of cooling, depending upon the climate. Its facilities are configured with N+1 cooling and 2N electrical infrastructure. The company says it designs can be deployed in as little as 16 weeks.
ETIX Everywhere creates its own software for data center management and access control, and takes a flexible approach to financing and partnerships. Belomy says ETIX Everywhere has active projects in 20 different countries, including “various Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities across Europe,” as well as emerging markets across the Middle East, Africa, South America and Scandinavia.
Co-Investment Alters Economics
Verda said the company can build data center projects that start at 200 kW and can scale to megawatts. ETIX Everywhere uses three project structures, building colocation facilities for its own use, creating co-investment data centers where they share ownership with municipalities or partners, or building data sites entirely for customer use.
The most distinctive of the three is the co-investment approach, which positions ETIX Everywhere as an intriguing In a co-investment project, a municpality can provide power or land to support the project. “We can build a data center with a small commitment, where they own part of it and have their own data center,” said Verda. “We help with operations, and we partner with a service provider. We achieve excellent price points in the sub 1 megawatt project.”
“We’re a one-stop shop where we can ask ‘what are you trying to achieve,’” Verda said.
Focus on Retrofits
Interestingly, many of ETIX Everywhere’s projects have been retrofit of existing buildings, rather than “greenfield” projects that start from scratch.
“We like to not reinvent the wheel,” said Belomy. “It’s allowed us to be fast and efficient. We will manufacture some things and then manufacture on site. These are not pre-fab modules. They’re actually built in place. It’s not skid-mounted. We will use what we’ve designed before. usually work with local partners and contractors.”
For now, ETIX is a little-known quantity in the U.S. market. But with its holistic approach to design, flexible financing and emphasis on partnerships, its “everywhere” approach could prove intriguing to aspiring Smart Cities outside of major markets.
“The growth of the Internet of Things and edge computing favor the development of local data centers, offering a promising opportunity for Etix Everywhere,” said Belomy, who is based out of San Francisco, while Verda is based in New York. “In the U.S., when people hear about the ownership model flexibility we have, they think it’s really unusual.”