Growing Toronto Campus Brings Possibilities to Interconnection-Hungry Market

Phil Schwarzmann


Equinix specializes in increasing interconnection everywhere, and early 2015 has been a great time for us. We’ve opened the Big Five – five new data centers across four continents, including our second data center in Toronto. It’s a major boost to our global interconnection offering and it comes at a time when organizations need dense connectivity more than ever to compete.

To celebrate TR2’s opening, we’ve been talking to Equinix specialists about what it takes to get a new data center going, and Bill Long, vice president, interconnection services, gave us some time. We talked about why it’s so critical to boost interconnection capacity in the Toronto market and how the enterprise “factory” model is transforming in the digital age. Read on:

bill-long-headshot-smallIs the value of interconnection different today than in the past?

The analogy I use is that an enterprise used to be like a factory where everything was built. You could buy fiber from your telecom provider, and they would connect to your factory. You could make what you wanted in your factory and you could ship it off where you wanted it to go. But enterprises are finding that method of architecture is expensive and has poor performance. So instead of having one centralized factory, they’re essentially taking work and moving it to a distributed, just-in-time type of architecture, where they spread their architecture all over the world to be close to partners and customers. That improves performance and reduces cost.

So the enterprise “factory” is now everywhere?

That’s exactly right. Your infrastructure is more distributed, it needs to be interconnected to a bunch of different services in different geographies, and the enterprise is using clouds in order to do that. It’s a shift to an architecture where interconnection matters a lot more, because the whole value stream is now digital. That is absolutely a sea of change that is going on.

How do we build interconnection in a new facility like TR2?

Whenever we’re building in a metro where we already have a presence, we want to be able to treat it like a campus. We want people in TR2 to access the networks, providers and customers in TR1 like they’re in the same building, like it’s a cross connect away, because it is a cross connect away. This was extremely important when we were doing site selection for TR2. We found a site less a mile away and connected the two buildings via dark fiber. So now we don’t need to build the network density in TR2 from the ground up because we’re tapping into the 66 networks that are already in TR1. This draws other networks and providers who want to interconnect to them. Before we even launched TR2, major network guys were all saying, “Yeah, we want to get in there.” Our original plan was to have 20 carriers in there by the end of the year. We think we’ll reach that by July.

So there’s obviously a ton of pent-up demand in Toronto.

TR1 is tapped out. It’s been full for about a year. Anyone with enterprise-grade interconnection requirements has been largely frozen out of Toronto for a year. So it’s been stifling all these industries in the Toronto market. TR2 is going to help unlock that pent-up demand for data center services in industries like IP services, MPLS and financial services. Nobody’s been able to act on that demand because there hasn’t been a good, interconnection-rich facility to move into. But now there is.