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 Michael DeVito of Iron Mountain.
Michael joined Iron Mountain Data Centers in October as the SVP, Global Sales & Marketing. Prior to joining Iron Mountain Data Centers, Mike was with Digital Realty, where he served as SVP of Sales and led teams in delivering significant new sales growth, including 17 straight quarters of sequential growth. Mike joined Digital Realty via the acquisition of Telx in 2015. Prior to joining Telx, Mike served as EVP of Global Solutions at NTT. Previously, he held various sales, marketing and operations leadership positions at BT Global Services, Equant and MCI. Mike lived in Amsterdam during his time at MCI and spent significant time in Asia while at NTT. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Virginia Tech. Outside of work, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons, studying history and practicing languages.
Here’s the full text of Michael DeVito’s insights from our Executive Roundtable:
Data Center Frontier: The COVID-19 pandemic has defined much of 2020. As we enter 2021, what pandemic-related changes are likely to have lasting impact for the data center industry, and why?
Michael DeVito: There are multiple aspects of the pandemic that are lasting for the industry. To start, you see that working from home has an impact on many of us that used to go into the office on a daily basis, that are now working remotely. This will stay to some capacity, with several larger enterprises already announcing that their workforce will keep working from home for the foreseeable future. This has and will continue to fuel the need for data center services, with more people than ever leveraging cloud, gaming, streaming and online shopping services etc.. from their homes. The connectivity and infrastructure services uptick we saw earlier in the year, will be permanent and is part of a continuing hyperscale surge that leads this wave.
In short, we have brought forward anticipated future growth in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Data Center Frontier: Gartner says many enterprise customers are holding off on major IT spending during the pandemic. Will that continue in 2021? Or will the “digital shift” from COVID-19 prompt enterprises to invest in retooling their infrastructure?
Michael DeVito: It’s a natural reaction for many businesses to wait and see how a sudden shift like this one plays out before making significant investments in their digital transformation journey. However, history also seems to suggest that enterprises who are continually investing and enhancing their infrastructure for future success, enable themselves with a competitive edge.
Many enterprises already had to make a shift with investments in their IT services, with remote working for instance, and as more aspects from this pandemic will stay part of the ‘’new normal’’, additional investments could well be necessary if they want to keep up or win in their respective industries.
Data Center Frontier: Hyperscale customers are more focused than ever on sustainability and climate change. Will this renewed focus drive meaningful change in the data center industry? If so, what might that look like?
Michael DeVito: I do feel that the broad additional focus on sustainability will drive meaningful change. Over the past several years Iron Mountain has invested heavily in wind farms and solar power plants in order to be powered by 100% renewable energy, so we clearly embrace the enhanced dedication on sustainability from hyperscale customers. We are also excited to see a positive shift from a good portion of our enterprise customers on this important topic as well.
As hyperscale workloads are driving significant new business growth in the industry, they also need to set the bar for the rest of the industry and help to drive change when referring to sustainability, which they are doing. In the recent past, the concept of data centers was not very well known with the public, but as the purpose and importance of the data center industry continues to come to the forefront, our industry’s commitment to leadership in the area of sustainability becomes more important than ever. That’s where we can drive change and become part of the solution and not the problem. We are actively carrying out and improving on a daily basis on multiple sustainability initiatives.
By having a global data center portfolio that runs 100% on renewable sources, where we continually optimize our PUE levels (including being one of the only industry providers to have ISO 14001 and ISO 50001 certification standards across our entire global platform), combined with our Green Power Pass product that helps our customers to offset their carbon footprint to meet their ESG goals, we feel that greening the grid is the only way forward. We will only applaud any initiative that our industry takes in the right direction, as we will keep doing the same.
Data Center Frontier: What will be surprised by in 2021? What are the trends you’re following that will make an outsized impact?
Michael DeVito: We just discussed the enhanced importance of data center sustainability, and that will be a major initiative for the industry and ourselves for 2021. Next to that, the hyperscale uptake will also keep driving business forward as they can invest and plan their business over the COVID-19 pandemic which is essential for continued growth in our industry.
There are also several industry drivers such as 5G, gaming, IoT and AI that will find their way to more and more end users which will drive and create new capacity needs, specifically around edge locations that sit as close as possible to the end user. But as 5G, gaming, IoT and AI will become more and more industry drivers we also feel that connectivity-driven ecosystems will be extremely important to accelerate these trends.
Connectivity-rich ecosystems enable colocation partners to provide significant value add through supplier diversification, accelerated deployments and extended reach across global markets. These ecosystems have evolved rapidly from specific markets such as financial services into connected communities, enabled by API-driven value chains, into covering the full range of Enterprise transformation needs. The ability of a data center ecosystem to facilitate global transactions is likely to be the defining value that differentiates colocation platforms in 2021 and beyond.