Getting Networked in Toronto Takes a Little Goo, a Lot of Good Planning

Phil Schwarzmann


Equinix was founded to give networks a neutral place to exchange data traffic, and 17 years later, we host more than 1,000 of them in 100+ global facilities. Our network density is a key selling point every time we open a new facility, and we’re opening five (the Big Five) in the first couple months of this year, including our second Toronto facility.

As TR2 opens, we’re talking to Equinix experts about getting a new data center up and running. Adam Janota is senior director of service providers, and he knows networks. We talked ecosystems, interconnection and “goo” with him. Check it out:

As we’re expanding in these markets, how are we differentiating ourselves?

Data centers are easy to build, and by that I mean, it’s not magic. Lots of people build data centers. The difference is that not a lot of people build business ecosystems, and it is the ecosystem that makes a data center special. That’s the secret sauce, what Equinix does really well. Our interconnection capabilities enable ecosystems to establish themselves within our data centers. Our networks are the foundation, and neutrality is key to making that happen. We create this platform where anyone who wants to can exchange data. And we do it at all different levels of connectivity, from a cross connect, to things like Cloud Exchange. We’re creating opportunities with that interconnection, and networks are the proverbial goo that creates life in the ecosystem.

We’re enabling the “network effect,” correct? Where interconnection builds on itself and expands?

Exactly. If you have two members in an ecosystem, nothing really happens. You have four, and there’s a little bit of activity. But if you have 10, 15, 20, all of the sudden, the possible permutations of the number of interconnections you can get is exponentially greater, as is the opportunity. The ecosystem becomes a business ecosystem, where there’s so much activity, you no longer have to feed it. But we have to seed it all with the right networks.

How do we make sure we do that?

In Toronto, we worked with local fiber providers to make sure they all have ample fiber pulled into TR2. Customers require different kinds of fiber and having those initial connections is very, very important. Second, in addition to the seven networks and TorIX, who have POPs at TR2, we’ve linked TR2 to TR1 for access to the network ecosystem in place there.

Can you break down how we establish and grow interconnection in each market?

First, we’re interconnecting with any other Equinix sites, like TR1, and we’re also making sure we’re establishing connectivity to all the eyeballs in Canada by getting all the cable companies, the wireless companies, inside. Then, we’re selling international networks access to Canada. We’re giving them a diversity play and access to growth. Then we bring in the international social and video media content providers, who want access to the networks and eyeballs in the metro. The cloud companies then come in and say, “I need to be in Toronto, I need access to all these enterprises.” Then we reach out to these big international companies that have a presence in Toronto and want to build an access node to Canada. From the beginning, it’s about having a fundamental understanding about what networks and markets need, picking the right metros, and having the right plan.