Arman Khalili has spent much of his career building data center businesses on the West Coast. Khalili has begun a new chapter in that journey with the relaunch of Evocative, an established colocation brand in the Bay Area for many years, which was acquired from 365 Data Centers in April.
The new Evocative Inc. is already growing across California. After starting with data centers in Emeryville and San Jose, Evocative has expanded into Los Angeles, leasing 42,000 square feet of space at 1200 West 7th Street.
As industry consolidation creates huge data center companies. Khalili believes there’s lots of room for nimble players targeting local markets.
“I think there’s a phenomenal opportunity for independent players to come in and work closely with customers,” said Khalili, the CEO of Evocative. “There’s no such thing as ‘one size fits all.'”
Khalili is a veteran executive and entrepreneur who has launched or led a series of infrastructure companies. Most recently, he was the founder and CEO of data center provider CentralColo (which recently rebranded as Element Critical). Khalili was also the founder and CEO of UnitedLayer, a leading colocation provider in San Francisco, and a co-founder of Sirius, one of the early ISPs in Silicon Valley.
After CentralColo brought in new majority investors last year, Khalili began seeking new ventures. “I still like the business, and came across these assets,” he said.
Evocative was initially founded in a former Colo.com data center in Emeryville, which is located at the eastern end of the Bay Bridge, between Oakland and Berkeley.
Evocative built a solid business selling colocation and managed hosting services, with many customers using less than a full rack. In 2013, 365 Data Centers acquired Evocative and its data center.
Amid robust merger activity, 365 Data Centers decided to seek a buyer. In April, an investment group working with Khalili acquired two of the company’s California facilities, including the former Evocative site in Emeryville, as well as another 365 Data Centers facility in San Jose (534 Stockton Avenue) which had been previously owned by Switch & Data and Equinix. These two facilities were acquired to form the nucleus of the new Evocative, with Khalili as CEO.
The remainder of 365 Data Centers was acquired in a separate transaction by a group of investors including Chirisa Investments, Lumerity Capital and Longboat Advisors.
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The two carrier-neutral facilities span a combined 40,000 square feet of colocation space with the ability to expand to 105,000 square feet, and are positioned to handle flexible lab and high density computing requirements. Evocative is offering a suite of fully customizable data center services including colocation, managed services and public, private and hybrid cloud solutions.
Expanding in Los Angeles
Earlier this month, Evocative said it has acquired two downtown Los Angeles based data centers from ColoNet Solutions and executed a long-term lease with Rising Realty Partners at West 7 Center (previously known as the Garland Center). These facilities add 42,000 square feet and 2.5 megawatts of capacity, with significant expansion space available if needed.
“This acquisition is in line with our expansion plans and our acquisition earlier this year,” said Khalili. “We look forward to continuing growing the company both organically and through additional acquisitions.
“We really want to be focused on the West Coast,” said Khalili. “In Los Angeles, the amount of supply is constrained and the demand continues. You can’t just build a 100-megawatt data center in Los Angeles, as you can in other places.”
Khalili believes that many small to medium-sized data centers can provide mission-critical services for years to come.
“We’re getting good at retrofitting second-generation data centers and giving them an infrastructure upgrade to make them competitive for the next 10 years,” said Khalili.