Equinix has been meeting Australia’s insatiable demand for premium data centre services for decades. Its extensive Sydney footprint has expanded to include three state-of-the-art facilities that serve a mix of customers from a variety of sectors.
On March 24, Equinix pushed that footprint further afield with the opening of a brand new facility … not in Sydney, but in the capital of neighbouring Victoria – Melbourne. And the first phase of the new data centre is already attracting a healthy influx of customers.
To find out the secrets of ME1’s success, we talked to Brent Barton, sales director of Equinix Australia, who offered some insight into what customers Equinix attracts in Victoria’s most populous city and one of Australia’s leading financial hubs.
Q: The momentum in Melbourne has been impressive. How full was the ME1 facility on launch day?
A: At Equinix, we typically build out our facilities in phases. We are doing that in Melbourne, with Phase 1 offering 375 cabinets, although the facility will be able to cater to up to 1,500 cabinets at full capacity.
The truth is that we could have filled the site already, but that’s not what Equinix is all about. We like to build facilities that create opportunities for our customers. The goal is to build the right mix of customers, including cloud service providers and network operators – to create an environment where businesses can benefit from connecting to multiple parties.
As the market evolves, we are seeing a lot of pull towards multiple clouds – like Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS and Cisco Intercloud. Our approach is to offer access to all these cloud platforms in our facilities as quickly as possible, to give our customers the widest possible choice. That enables our customers to execute quickly, reduce costs and innovate their solutions faster.
Q: How did you manage to build so much momentum so quickly?
A: We used what we call “The Ecosystem Effect.” Our local sales team went to work with existing customers based in Sydney, but interested in expanding their presence in Melbourne, as well as prospective Melbourne-based businesses.
Another important factor when you launch in a new market is carrier density, so our first port of call is always to work with the local carriers to create a presence within our facilities. That’s exactly what has happened in Melbourne and it has created a lot of momentum. We are seeing our potential customers – both existing and new ones – understanding the benefits of working with Equinix and connecting to their customers.
Q: What kinds of customers are you talking about?
A: More than 50 customers have already deployed in ME1, which speaks to the strong demand for Equinix platform services. We have all of the main domestic carriers, including Telstra, Vocus, Megaport, Superloop, Micron 21, Firstpath. We are also working with many cloud service providers, to bring their services into the facility and offer customers access to their solutions.
We also have a variety of enterprise customers. Some are involved in doing compute intensive things like video rendering for the movie market. Others want to host their back-office solutions but are also in the process of looking at leveraging the cloud. With the new ME1 facility now up and running they are free to adopt a hybrid model, hosting infrastructure with Equinix and bursting in and out of the cloud as and when demand dictates.
Q: How much of the facility is now full?
The customers we are working with at the moment are putting in their initial deployments and we expect them to grow. But we still have a healthy amount of Phase 1 capacity to offer.
The “ecosystem” is spinning up nicely, generating momentum from the network services providers offering services, which in turn attracts other customers. It’s very much a virtuous cycle.
We are looking to build out our peering platform in Melbourne, and already have over 20 networks peer on our exchange. As that platform gains its own momentum, we expect customers to see significant benefits.
Q: Is the customer mix in Melbourne the same as in Sydney?
A: The customer base in Melbourne is actually quite a bit different from what we have in Sydney. About 30% of the customers are firms that didn’t have a business relationship with Equinix before signing up for services at ME1.
One thing I have noticed is that the Melbourne market likes to buy services from companies that have a visible, physical presence in Melbourne. While a lot of our Sydney customer base has come down, we are seeing good take up from Melbourne-based companies and we are confident that it will continue as we roll out additional phases.