The Rising Demand for Data Centers: Interview Opportunity with eStruxture
May 15, 2022
Todd Coleman – President and CEO of eStruxture
Todd Coleman is the President and CEO of eStruxture. Todd brings more than 25 years of experience in the IT, data center and telecommunications industries. Most recently, Todd was the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Cologix. Todd has also held several senior positions at Level 3 Communications, a global telecommunications company, including Senior Vice President of Data Centers, Senior Vice President of Media Operations and President of Level 3 Communications Europe.
Todd holds a Juris doctorate and a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems.
What was your inspiration behind starting eStruxture, which is the largest pan-Canadian cloud and carrier-neutral data center, the provider? What are you hoping to achieve through your work?
I started eStruxture understanding that the Canadian data center market, which was still fairly nascent at the time, would grow and that the power demands of server infrastructure would increase. I had a belief that data would continue to localize and customers that were largely present in the US would find their way north of the border.
I also recognized at the time, and still do, that relationships in this business are everything. While eStruxture is an infrastructure business at its core, it’s really a business built around people and relationships and that’s what drives me.
My mission for eStruxture is to provide state-of-the-art infrastructure solutions that give our customers more: more locations, capacity and connections.
With this new data center, the company is expected to have a total footprint of over 760,000 square feet of combined data center space and a total power capacity of 130 megawatts. Do you think that the demand for the critical infrastructure will be fulfilled with this?
Not even close! eStruxture’ footprint is poised to grow much beyond our current size.
We live in a data-driven world, with over 11 billion connected devices (and a forecast of over 25 billion by 2030). 5G connectivity, cloud computing, and the IoT are all driving unprecedented data usage growth. As a result, there is an insatiable need for critical infrastructure that is needed to store, process, and transmit this data.
My prediction is that in the next two to three years we’re going to see exponential growth that’s only limited by what our supply chain can handle.
At eStruxture, we are in a very fortunate position to respond to this exponential growth:
Firstly, we operate our facilities in locations that offer renewable power at a very low cost and secondly, we build facilities that are highly scalable. Our customers have ample room to grow and they can do so in a cost-efficient manner.
What does your experience say after having lived and worked globally, and also understanding global market trends and dynamics? Did you keep this core focus in mind before founding eStruxture?
I’ve grown to understand that in order to be successful, you need investors who believe in you, an intimate knowledge of the marketplace and confidence in how it’s evolving, including where new markets can turn into data center-centric markets.
As an American who’s lived and worked around the world, I’ve realized that trends in the US market are likely to hit other markets in the future, and so I’ve been able to successfully foreshadow the way the Canadian market is going to evolve, not just on a macro, but also micro-level.
For example, the Calgary market was a significant bet for us. We entered this market on the belief that the economy would rebound, and the market would develop into a key Canadian data center market through growth and demand. We’re now bearing the fruit of that decision.
Does Offering a diverse and inclusive work environment help benefit employee retention and productivity and how can data centers attract a diverse talent pool in an industry not known for its Diversity & Inclusion practices?
DE&I has always been one of my core personal values and it’s been my mission to bring this to the workplace and data center industry.
55% of our workforce is diverse and 41% of our senior team is made up of women – ratios that are essentially unheard of in the data center industry.
Having a diverse workforce makes us better and stronger and gives us a competitive advantage in the industry by increasing creativity, innovation, and problem-solving capacity.
To attract a diverse talent pool in an industry, we must first understand our biases and then fight them every day when we hire people, train people, and promote people.
When it comes to DE&I, change must start from the top and leaders must show that their actions and words align in order for the rest of the company to embrace it and for it to take on a life of its own. When employees feel safe and appreciated and see that their leaders “walk the walk” they’ll want to follow in your footsteps.
What were the challenges you faced in your entrepreneurial journey? Were you able to overcome them?
Before I founded eStruxture back in 2017, I co-founded Cologix in 2010, so I’m no stranger to the challenges of entrepreneurship. Convincing Canadian investors to bet on an American entrepreneur with a big dream and no team was difficult.
There’s a lot to think about as an entrepreneur who’s just starting out: How do you convince someone to write that first check? How do you get a company off the ground when you don’t have a team? But the most important thing to remember is that you need to bet on yourself before you can get someone else to bet on you.
When investors didn’t believe in me, it just provided me with the motivation and fuel to prove them wrong.
What specific piece of advice would you like to give to business owners regarding the rising demand for data centres?
I believe many business owners still fail to appreciate the incredible scale of data growth that is still to come thanks to new and emerging technologies and the impact that’s going to have on their business. My advice is to trade in the hassle and inefficiency of managing their own on-premise data centers with the peace of mind that comes with entrusting their critical IT to industry experts.
Find a reliable data center provider that ticks all the right boxes: scalability, security, cloud and network neutrality, sustainability, and importantly, operational expertise. And then focus on what really matters: growing your business.
It’s also important to go with a provider you trust; mistakes are inevitable, however, it’s how you react that matters. You need to consider if your provider will do everything in their power to make things right.