As you might know, 2020 was a big year for Equinix in Australia, with the opening of several new data centers. Australia has historically shown a high rate of technology adoption, with demand far outstripping forecasts. Even in the face of COVID-19, the coming years will be an exciting time in Australia, with new developments driving demand and big cloud players continuing to set up shop across the major metropolitan areas.
I sat down with our Managing Director for Australia, Guy Danskine, to chat about his long career at Equinix, as well as the developments on the horizon for Australia – including the recent rollout of Equinix Metal™.
Jeremy Deutsch (JD); Guy Danskine (GD)
JD: You’ve been with Equinix for almost 10 years now, starting in Australia, then moving to San Francisco, and now back to your home country. What made you decide to come back to Asia-Pacific?
GD: I’d say it’s a combination of personal and professional opportunity. Personally, we’re back with family after almost six years away. From a work perspective, it was an amazing chance to come home and build on the incredible foundation the Australian business has created over the last 20 years, especially given the growth the Asia-Pacific region has seen during that time. As indicated in our latest Global Interconnection Index, interconnection bandwidth in the region is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 47% from 2019 to 2023, so the region continues to be a strong source of growth for us.
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JD: As the global head of Equinix’s Google strategic alliance in the US before moving into your current role, can you describe the similarities and differences between the two markets in terms of cloud demand and adoption, and the pace of digital transformation? Have trends been changing recently?
GD: Australia’s always seen a very high rate of technology adoption, like virtualization all those years ago, through to 5G and Digital Twins today. The US is definitely on the leading edge, but when the cloud providers arrive in Australia, they see demand frequently exceed their forecasts. In terms of trends, cloud providers are discovering they can’t serve major markets from a couple of core regional nodes. That’s why we’ve seen them announce local cloud deployments in cities like Melbourne, Osaka, and Seoul.
JD: You’ve been in your role for around a year. Can you share with us the most unforgettable experience you’ve had so far?
GD: I was at an industry conference in mid-March last year, and everyone was talking about what might happen with COVID-19. A few hours later in the taxi on the way home, we made the decision to close our offices, because the safety of our teams is always paramount. Two days later, Australia closed its international borders, and it was remarkable how fast everything changed. Shortly afterwards, we implemented a range of precautionary measures in line with our business continuity and pandemic plans to minimize the risk of operational impacts and to protect the health and safety of employees, customers and partners.
We spent a lot of time keeping the team together even when we were apart. As an example, we ran a mask-making competition for the team and there were some masks I’ll never forget – terrifying, in fact.
JD: How would you describe your management style?
GD: I don’t really think about it as a style, although I would say two things. Firstly, I assume positive intent – that is, given the right strategy, direction, and tools to execute, teams will accomplish their objectives. Secondly, we have an incredible culture at Equinix, and I see myself as a custodian of that culture. I’m constantly thinking of how we can maintain and improve the culture we have built, and that we all have the privilege to enjoy.
JD: 2020 was an eventful year for Equinix in Australia. Following the opening of SY5 in November 2019, we opened our fifth data center in Melbourne (ME2) and announced the third data center in Perth (PE3). What are the key demand drivers, and how can Equinix help companies seize these new opportunities?
GD: We are so fortunate to be in the center of multiple secular trends. Investment from cloud and subsea providers is driving more traffic in and out of Australia, and those data volumes demand that caching and processing be performed locally. PE3 will be our 18th data center in Australia across 6 metros, which our customers are using to distribute their digital infrastructure to their users both here in Australia and across our global platform.
Melbourne is becoming Australia’s second cloud hub, and we’re seeing the biggest cloud players – like AWS, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle – all establishing themselves in the city to be adjacent to their end users and customers. Our ME1/ME2 campus provides our customers with the perfect solution to deploy and connect their cloud right here, right now, locally. Through direct cloud adjacency and secure interconnection, they can now save costs and work more efficiently by accessing critical data resources directly.
JD: We can’t believe 2020 has gone by so quickly. Moving into 2021, can you describe some of the key trends or predictions you have for the market? Can you tell us your upcoming priorities for the Australia market this year?
GD: Resources (mining, oil and gas) are a major sector for Australia. How they’re leveraging new technology to increase safety and reduce costs is world leading. For example, Australian resource companies are some of the largest users of autonomous vehicles anywhere in the world, and there’s a lot we can learn there. Our priorities for 2021 are really focused on accelerating interconnection for both new and existing customers, including new products we will bring to market this year, and elevating our emerging markets, such as Melbourne, Perth, and Canberra.
One of those new products is Equinix Metal, and we’re thrilled that Sydney is one of the 18 metros we have launched this year as a key area of focus for the team. Metal enables our customers to rapidly deploy their private infrastructure software with Equinix Fabric™, as they leverage our global platform to increase their speed to market.
JD: Although we’re still experiencing travel restrictions to various degrees, we’re looking forward to the day we can travel again. Can you tell us your plans?
GD: I love traveling, so this is a very depressing question! 2020 gave us opportunities to focus on important things close to home like family and friends, but I’m also excited to get on the road and see our team, as well as meet with customers and partners in person again.
Non-work wise, Punta Mita, Mexico, is on the cards for later in the year, but we’ll see how that goes. Closer to home, I’m hoping they open up travel to New Zealand so I can get some skiing in. I also plan on teaching my son how to play cricket!
JD: Tell us something about yourself that we don’t already know.
GD: A long time ago, I entered a cocktail-making competition called UFO (Unidentified Flaring Objects). My cocktail, the Malibu Canoe, came third, but I shudder when I think about how sweet it was. And no, I’m not making another one.
Leveraging growth opportunities in Australia and Asia-Pacific
I hope this has given you some insight on Guy and his dedication to serving enterprises in the Australian market. I look forward to supporting him and his team as they continue to leverage the incredible opportunities that are emerging in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.
Do you want to know more about the interconnection landscape in Asia-Pacific and seize emerging opportunities? View our latest GXI Vol.4 here to learn more about the latest trends and how Equinix can help you capitalize on them.
We have an incredible culture at Equinix, and I see myself as a custodian of that culture. I’m constantly thinking of how we can maintain and improve the culture we have built, and that we all have the privilege to enjoy.Guy Danskine