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 Phillip Marangella of EdgeConneX.
Currently serving as the Chief Marketing Officer at EdgeConneX, Phillip Marangella has over 20 years of international marketing, strategy, and business development experience working in the Data Center, Telecom and Technology sectors for leading service providers. Prior to joining EdgeConneX, Phillip most recently worked for Equinix in various capacities in both marketing and business development. In addition, Phillip had stints at Coresite, Verizon, MCI, Nortel and Globalstar. Phillip was also a partner and founder of a tech consulting firm focused on international technology transfer and venture funding of university developed technology. Currently serving as the Chief Marketing Officer at EdgeConneX, Phillip is focused on developing, evangelizing and executing the marketing strategy and ecosystem development for the company. Phillip also serves on the advisory boards for Apomaya and Infrastructure Masons. Phillip holds a Bachelors in Political Science from the University of California San Diego, and a Masters in Multinational Commerce from Boston University.
Here’s the full text of Phillip Marangella’s insights from our Executive Roundtable:
Data Center Frontier: Is liquid cooling gaining traction? What are the key factors that will guide whether liquid cooling technologies see greater adoption?
Phillip Marangella: If we look at the two primary modes of liquid cooling – direct-to-chip cooling and immersion cooling – we can understand why there is a lot of excitement around these options. Chip fabricators are increasing transistor densities, generating more heat, and customers are looking for higher rack densities in data centers as they implement machine learning, AI, gaming, Web3.0 worlds and applications, and other compute-intensive services.
Direct-to-Chip cooling appears to hold more near-term promise because it is better suited to retrofitting into existing data center architecture and can be applied to CPUs and GPUs. Immersion cooling has its own compelling use cases, but because it cools all sources of the power draw on IT hardware, it requires more specialized equipment, making it more challenging to introduce into existing data centers.
As for traction, announcements like NVIDIA’s recent liquid-cooled GPU are a sign that liquid cooling has generated serious interest from customers looking for greener, more efficient data center services. Immersion cooling is on a trajectory to reduce costs and improve the technology, but in the near term direct-to-chip liquid cooling is likely to gain significantly more traction.
Data Center Frontier: Cloud, colo, on-premises and edge … deployment options abound. What trends are you seeing in where customers are deploying workloads, and how are these decisions changing?
Phillip Marangella: One of our guiding principles is Hyperlocal to Hyperscale Data Center Solutions, so we see a whole range of deployment requests from customers. While a lot of our efforts in recent years have been directed toward hyperscale facilities for large service providers, we also see interest in cable landing stations and edge-scale colocation developments, both greenfield in new markets and expansion in established edge markets.
This is all driven by the unique needs of our customers. Some want access to specific network solutions, others need substantial server capacity, still others are looking for proximity to new or fast-growing markets. And it’s important to note that more and more customers are making purchasing decisions based in some measure on sustainability concerns, sometimes even retiring older, less efficient on-prem data centers with cloud or colo deployments.
What’s really new for businesses around the world is wider access to choices, whether that means choosing from an array of major global cloud services or pursuing a more distributed or more centralized data center strategy. We see trends that are driving our customers into new markets, expanding access to the global digital economy, and they have different needs in terms of scale, connectivity, and timing, and data center providers have to help them succeed by delivering expertise, innovation, capacity, and, increasingly, sustainable solutions on a global scale.
Data Center Frontier: After several years of active discussion of diversity and inclusion, how is the data center industry doing? What additional steps are needed to make a bigger difference?
Phillip Marangella: We wouldn’t claim to be the best source for how the data center industry is doing overall, but it’s clear that we can all do better and do more.
From our perspective, however, diversity and inclusion are calls to action and we have taken concrete steps to improve our workplace and our outreach. Key initiatives include establishing and taking a key role in the Capstone project, aimed at HBCU (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) students in conjunction with iMasons, including recruiting, hiring, and placement assistance. We have also seen WomenConneX, a grassroots effort to recruit more women into our company and into the STEM field more generally, with regular conversations where participants can share experiences, progress, and challenges for women in the technology industry.
And our expansion into new regions around the world has afforded us the opportunity to hire and collaborate with staff and partners from diverse cultural and national backgrounds, bringing with them fresh ideas and an awareness of what makes these markets unique. These markets may be new to EdgeConneX, but they have rich histories, cultures, and business traditions that are rapidly being incorporated into our broader, more diversified company identity as we collaborate and learn from each other.
But, still, we need to do more. Conferences should be featuring a more inclusive community of speakers and panelists, tech publication bylines should feature a wider array of voices, and opinions that don’t fit the common wisdom should be heard more, celebrated more, and given more chances to evolve and thrive. Over time, they can often contribute to an improved common wisdom that will, itself, need to be challenged. It’s in our corporate DNA to be disruptors, always working to find the best ways to deliver for our customers, and we know that’s only possible when you allow new ideas to be heard.
Data Center Frontier: Will microgrids play a larger role as the data center industry addresses power constraints in some key markets? What problems could they address?
Phillip Marangella: Absolutely. But it may help to view microgrids more as instances of Power Management Software that treats various sources (generators, UPS, BESS, etc.) and sinks (IT load, cooling plants, BESS, etc.) as inherently dispatchable. This software may have multiple objectives, from maximizing the use of renewable power to optimizing for power costs or maximizing deployable IT capacity. But ultimately the objective is to gain greater control over the utilization, cost, and focus of power throughout a data center or campus.
Use cases can be seen today, whether in cloud providers developing time-shifting compute workloads to optimize for carbon emissions, or in batteries being deployed to manage demand changes. In some cases, local power constraints may be behind investment and innovation in this area. But in other cases it is the commitment to more efficient data center operations and an industry prioritizing 24×7 carbon-free energy while aggressively meeting availability and cost goals that is driving interest in the benefits of effective power management.
We believe we’ll see continued investment and innovation from both the hyperscalers and from startup communities looking at building solutions for new use cases like EV charging stations and power delivery to high-density housing.