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 Tim Mirick of Sabey Data Centers.
Tim Mirick is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Sabey Data Centers (Sabey) and is responsible for Sabey’s national go-to-market strategy. His organization drives leasing of Sabey’s expanding North American portfolio of over 300 megawatts across five campuses including Ashburn, VA, Seattle, WA, New York, NY and Central WA. Mirick joined Sabey in 2012 and his ability to build an organization capable of communicating the most efficient possible solutions to customers’ capacity requirements has fueled Sabey’s growth. Prior to joining Sabey, Mirick spent nine years at Amazon.com where, under his leadership, his teams recruited thousands of merchants globally to sell their inventory through Amazon, establishing the 3rd Party Sales Platform as a primary source of revenue. In addition, Mirick has held sales leadership roles at American Express and Real Networks.
Here’s the full text of Tim Mirick’s insights from our Executive Roundtable:
Data Center Frontier: How is the increasingly data-centric nature of business impacting enterprise demand for data center services? What trends are you seeing in enterprise data center and colocation requirements?
Tim Mirick: There is no doubt that the increasingly data-centric nature of business is challenging enterprises to rethink how they approach their data center strategy. Whether scaling storage or meeting intense compute requirements, enterprise infrastructure leaders are focused on satisfying their expanding needs on-premise, in a colocation facility, through the public cloud, or with a hybrid solution. Flexibility is the key word in every dialogue with a prospective customer.
This explosion of data volume and usage has left our customers unsure of their environments’ future capacity requirements, so we must accommodate by providing the ability to seamlessly increase density when they change technologies, cloud connectivity should they need to bifurcate compute or storage, and flexible contract terms that allow them to right-size their environment when business use-case changes would normally leave them limited or over-committed.
Data Center Frontier: We’ve all been hearing a lot lately about 5G wireless technology. What might 5G mean for the data center industry, and when will its impact be felt?
Tim Mirick: More data! 5G is going to provide a connectivity fabric that will enable new – and supercharge existing – location-sensitive applications. It will create a need for hyper-localized micro data centers to support use-cases like autonomous vehicles, AR/VR applications, and the multitude of IoT uses that will come.
But the rollout of 5G will just continue our journey to the “edge” while large portions of the data will ultimately end up in the industry’s growing data center footprint, both urban and rural. 5G has the potential to create exponentially more data, and the need to store and interrogate this data will create a flywheel that will continue to drive growth in our industry.
Data Center Frontier: There’s a growing focus on automating data center operations, a trend driven by staffing challenges and the need for remote management of “lights out” edge data centers. Do you expect to see more automation? What are the most promising approaches in this area?
Tim Mirick: If we define “automation” as “virtualization of the 3rd party data center experience,” then absolutely, yes. Data center capacity is most convenient and cost-effective when the data center reports out through the customers’ operational dashboard using the exact metrics with which customers are most familiar. The most promising approach: seamless compatibility of data center management and customers’ premises management systems based on a clear tenant scope of work. Customer convenience is always important—a data center is most convenient if you don’t have to go there.
Data Center Frontier: The business community is increasingly focused on climate trends and severe weather events, and how they may impact real estate and IT operations. What considerations does climate change present for the data center sector, and what steps should data center companies be considering to address them?
Tim Mirick: Location is always a critical consideration for any project, and understanding access to natural resources, long-term climate projections and propensity for severe weather events is intrinsic to that process. However, demand drives our customers to need data centers in areas with every natural and man-made threat imaginable, a reality exacerbated as applications and end-user experience drive the need for edge locations in environments more hostile than the industry is used to.
As landlords, we need to build appropriately for each geography we service, evaluating our design on a market by market basis and modifying structural and mechanical systems as appropriate for the level of service we have committed to provide.
Climate trends have also created an even stronger need for a robust disaster recovery or business continuity plan. Whether that strategy leverages the public cloud, colocation, or a hybrid thereof, a site such as Central Washington – with a mild climate and plentiful resources – is critical to a complete data center availability strategy.