The Data Center Frontier Executive Roundtable features insights from industry executives with lengthy experience in the data center industry. Here’s a look at the insights from Jaime Leverton of iMasons and eStruxture.
Jaime Leverton is the Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of eStruxture Data Centers, and the Canada Chair of Infrastructure Masons’ IM Women initiative. Jaime is responsible for eStruxture’s global sales, distribution, and marketing and brings over 15 years of industry experience and a strong background in building and scaling high-performing sales organizations. Jaime is an accomplished data center and telecom professional, a highly sought-after industry speaker and valued thought leader. Prior to eStruxture, she served as General Manager and Vice President of Sales for Canada and APAC at Cogeco Peer 1 and had direct responsibility for creating and driving revenue programs. Her telecom career also includes tenure in various executive roles with National Bank, BlackBerry, Bell Canada, and IBM Canada. She also proudly sits on the boards of Technation, IMWomen Canada, the Stratford Festival, and the Merry Go Round children’s foundation. Jaime has a Master’s of Business Administration, Marketing Informatics from Dalhousie University.
Here’s the full text of Jaime Leverton’s insights from our Executive Roundtable:
Data Center Frontier: More providers are targeting the hyperscale computing market, and more customers appear to be “graduating” to super-sized requirements. How is this market changing, and what are the keys to success in serving the hyperscale sector in 2020 and beyond?
Jaime Leverton: As scalable and affordable cloud solutions are becoming critical for companies of all sizes and especially enterprise-level, there is intense demand for these services. Many enterprises seek to leverage the benefits of applications that rely on AI, Machine Learning, IoT – all of which come with large amounts of data that need to be processed in real-time. This, in turn, triggers hyperscale users and cloud providers to expand at an unprecedented pace in order to meet customer demand in a time- and cost-efficient manner. Hyperscalers and cloud providers are undeniably the major growth drivers in the wholesale data center segment.
As a wholesale data center provider, we believe the keys to success are:
- Speed and scale. For hyperscalers and cloud providers to be able to accommodate the current onslaught of data, they need immediate access to scalable capacity and fast deployment. Modular data center facilities that can rapidly scale and adapt are the best option.
- Edge locations. Being physically located close to the end-user is paramount. IoT specifically is changing the way data is being transferred. Instead of data being transferred from a central data center to the enterprise, massive amounts of smaller data packets are now transferred to edge locations for processing. Which brings us to our next point.
- Connectivity and High-Availability. Inbound data center bandwidth requirements are growing exponentially. All the latest technologies come with ultra-low latency requirements and an insatiable demand for bandwidth.
- Cost-efficiency. The economies of scale achieved by leveraging wholesale data center providers are simply unmatched.
- Sustainability. Environmental sustainability has become a major competitive priority for all major cloud providers as they try to win the confidence of customers and governments alike. Facilities that are highly energy-efficient and are powered by clean, renewable energy are best suited to serve this market.
Data Center Frontier: Artificial intelligence is bringing more powerful chips into the data center. What’s your take on the present and future of rack density, and how it may influence data center equipment and design?
Jaime Leverton: The average data center rack density is certainly rising and we expect this trend to continue. There is more computing power being packed in smaller form-factor equipment. While this gives us the ability to concentrate more hardware into a smaller footprint, there’s also a greater need for high-density power and cooling. Designing a high-density data center implies bringing cooling closer to the source of heat through high-efficiency cooling units, as well as employing high-density power distribution solutions. As well, hot-aisle containment is a must for high-density racks as it is equally highly efficient and cost-effective.
We also see incorporating smart IoT systems into our design to better measure temperature and humidity and automate and adjust cooling accordingly in real-time. A positive effect of high-density deployments is that we clearly see a decrease in the PUE numbers.
Data Center Frontier: What do you see as the most important trends in data center connectivity and interconnection, and how have they been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Jaime Leverton: As the pandemic abruptly shifted the way we work and pushed organizations to adopt remote work and cloud-based technologies, the need for reliable infrastructure and uptime is vital.
A clear trend that we see as a result of the pandemic are dynamic and wild shifts in traffic and massive spikes in bandwidth. The way we’ve addressed this is by offering customers both a wide choice of carriers as well as a variety of elastic (SDN) interconnect options, which help customers rapidly change their network configurations in order to meet changing demands.
Data Center Frontier: The COVID-19 pandemic is prompting companies to pursue automation to limit health risks. What are the most promising innovations the data center industry can adopt to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic?
Jaime Leverton: The Covid-19 pandemic is at the same time disruptive and driving innovation in the way we, as data centers operators, manage our facilities. We are now talking about software-driven data center automation and AI applications that enable remote data center management. Monitoring and automation enable a data center to run with minimal or no staffing on site during crises such as the present one. This allows us to have some of our staff work remotely, as well as minimize customer and vendor foot traffic.
Even as the economy reopens from lockdown, the data center industry will continue to look for new and better ways to use remote management and perhaps soon the “lights-out data center”, where everything is fully automated, could become the new standard.