Data centre crisis chance for NextDC to grow: Slattery

Company has national provider goal in sight

NextDC (ASX:NXT) has announced its goals of reshaping the Australian data centre industry by becoming a national provider, hiring more staff and building more data centres.

NextDC chief executive, Bevan Slattery, told the audience at the Gartner Data Centre Conference in Sydney this week that there was a crisis brewing within Australia, as many data centres were close to capacity.

“There are a lot of people talking about data centres but they aren’t really doing anything about it,” he said.

Slattery said one of the key drivers in data centre capacity growth in Australia was virtualisation, which was putting a big strain on data centres because of the amount of high power density and cooling per metre of floor space required.

He cited an IDC Australia data centre study conducted with 370 CIOs across the country in April 2010. In the survey, CIOs outlined that software costs, cable management, lack of cooling and raised floor space were issues.

As reported this week, NextDC announced plans to build data centres in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. According to Slattery, the company has a $100 million “war chest” to spend on the data centre rollout.

“One of the things we’re doing here [with our strategy] is rethinking the data centre design," he said.

"For us, data centre service is more than just a slab in the ground. It’s a total service where you have to think about what capacity your customers are going to require now and in the future."

To aid this design strategy, NextDC has teamed up with data centre vendor APC by Schneider Electric for its B1 facility in Brisbane, where the vendor provided hardware that included a power distribution system, reticulation, securing rack systems and cable infrastructure.

The company has also hired more high-profile industry people, including Symantec chief executive, Craig Scroggie, who joined the NextDC board this year as a non-executive director.

Slattery said the reason for hiring a board member with a security background was to give the relatively new company more credentials in the market and also because security is a major concern for companies when it comes to data.

“With my background of building up the Pipe Networks company and experience in data centres, I like to think I have some street cred now," he said. "It’s been a lot easier to get people on board.” When asked during question time what tiers the Brisbane data centre B1 would offer, Slattery said tier three would be standard across all of its data centres.

“There is a reason for that because we’ve come up with a design module per megawatt for every one of our facilities," he said. "Part of making our brand the best in Australia and New Zealand is that we want to set a certain standard of deliverables.

"If we present a tier two and that facility goes down… that’s not good for business. We’re here to deliver customers 100 per cent up time."

Slattery was also asked by a delegate what the company planned to do to take on other data centre providers such as Equinix and Global Switch.

“I’m not going to tell you exactly but I think we’re going to be national," he said. "If you’re an organisation that needs a national footprint, we can give you one contract and one service-level agreement."

While he hinted that more of its strategy would be released publicly over the next six months, an investor report released to the ASX this week highlighted Canberra, Perth and Auckland, New Zealand as areas for growth opportunities.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Tags GartnerNextDC CEO Bevan Slatterydata centresGartner Data Centre Conference 2011Data CentreNextDCData Center

More about APC AustraliaEquinixGartnerGlobal SwitchIDC AustraliaSymantec

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