Markley @ IMN’s 5th Fall Forum on Financing, Investing & Real Estate Development for Data Centers

Posted on December 03, 2014 by Adam Burnham

By Devon Cutchins

Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being asked to join a panel at Information Management Network’s (IMN) 5th Fall Forum on Financing, Investing & Real Estate Development for Data Centers in Half Moon Bay, CA.  At Markley, we greatly appreciate and admire the work that IMN does to organize global conferences and leading educational and networking.  These educational conferences cover a wide range of industry specialties, including Real Estate Opportunity & Private Fund; Mezzanine Lending; Non-Traded REIT; Distressed Residential, Commercial, & Hotel Real Estate; and Bank & Special Asset Executive professionals.  IMN conferences always provide a quality and rigorously vetted speaking program, interactive panel discussions and a balanced audience composition, facilitating excellent networking opportunities.

The Fall Forum on Financing, Investing & Real Estate Development for Data Centers brought together more than 35 CEOs and presidents of data center firms and more than 300 senior executives, including some of the most prominent data center owners, tenants, investors, and service providers. The panels included topics such as client RFPs, pricing cloud vs. colocation vs. blended approaches, subleasing, lease restructuring issues and more.

The panel that I participated in was focused on technology trends and demand drivers and their impact on data centers.  I was honored to be included with an impressive roster of seasoned data center and real estate professionals:

  • Nicholas L. Kottyan, President & CEO, DataChambers, LLC
  • Dan Fitzpatrick, Co-Founder and COO, Layer42 Networks
  • Jeffrey Moerdler, Member, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo P.C.
  • Mark Thiele, EVP-Data Center Technology, SUPERNAP
  • Moderator Jonathan A. Schildkraut, Managing Director, Equity Research-Telecom Services & Data Center Services, Evercore Partners

Our discussion began with identifying challenges and opportunities with the Internet of Things, and how mobility in the cloud has affected the data center industry.  The panel agreed that mobility has drastically increased the amount of information that people are accessing.  While most people think of mobility and the cloud as their data and information being amorphously “out there” somewhere, it’s important to remember that all of that information still has to be stored in a physical location.  Wherever the physical location of that information may be, there is someone who has to be concerned about the security of that information, the reliability of the infrastructure on which it is located and the accessibility of that information.  Thus, the ideal location for all of the information “in the cloud” is in data centers like Markley Group’s One Summer Street facility.  The growing reputation for quality data centers with robust infrastructure and excellent connectivity has lead to a huge upswing in the amount of information stored in these data centers.

Our conversation also touched on the important topic of tiering data – and just how important that is to a business and IT strategy.  Managers need to ensure that the data which is most important is the most secure and most available, and if there’s data that is less important, then it can move down from tier 1 to reserve space and costs.  For more information on this topic, see my July 2014 article on tiering data: Backing Up Your Business: How to Successfully Tier Data in the Cloud.

Some panelists discussed how the move to the cloud has prompted progressive data centers to develop their own IaaS services, similar to Markley Cloud Services (MCS).  Users that leverage data center provided hybrid cloud products and services have found that their data is more secure, more reliable, faster and more affordable than turning to providers like Amazon.

The remainder of the conversation focused on the importance of connectivity to data canters, not only for data center solutions, but also for the speed and accessibility of cloud solutions.  Every member of the panel expressed the importance of having numerous, diverse and redundant carriers for any data center or cloud facility. While it is vitally important to have the robust infrastructure in place to make sure data is protected and servers are continuously powered and cooled, it is equally important to be able to access that information. For many enterprise customers such as financial institutions, universities, research centers and many others, the inability for customers to be able to access the information is equally important. While many facilities will boast that they have a large number of carriers, it is important to realize that many of those carriers utilize either the same conduit or even the same fiber in providing their services. So locating your requirement at a facility with numerous diverse networks, in separate conduit, utilizing separate fiber routes, can be a huge advantage in ensuring continuous access to your information or work load.

Overall, the panel was a success and I hope the audience members benefitted and learned from the experience. Thanks again to IMN – I highly recommend this show in particular as well as their overall series of conferences.

Were you at the show? Want to chat further? I’m happy to share further details and extend this conversation offline. Drop me a line at: dcutchins@markleygroup.com.