#eStruxture#Todd Coleman#data centres

eStruxture: Canada’s leading data centre provider

Todd Coleman, eStruxture’s President and CEO, explains how a strategy of staying local is resulting in more locations, more capacity and better connectivity

Leila Hawkins
|Jul 31|magazine14 min read

"We believe in staying very local, providing local knowledge and a local customer touch," says Todd Coleman, the founder of eStruxture Data Centers. "We don't believe in being headquartered in different parts of the world and running the business from afar." This is a key aspect of the operations of eStruxture, the data centre company he established in 2017 in Montreal. It's an approach that's served them well, as in the three years since then it's grown to encompass six facilities in total, each serving specific requirements.

MTL-1, the flagship site in downtown Montreal, is housed in the former Montreal Stock Exchange building. "That is a connectivity and cloud-neutral hub, with 30,000 square feet and 5 MW of power" Coleman explains. "We have a lot of customer ecosystems here that require access to a large and diverse meet-me-room from a telecom carrier fibre perspective, but also rely on us to deliver significant amounts of power density."

MTL-2 is 7 km away, and is a brand new, state-of-the-art hyperscale facility encompassing 190,000 square feet and 30MW of power, while MTL-3 is on the south shore of Montreal, and was the first Uptime certified Tier III facility in Quebec. "Regardless of the customers' needs, we can meet their requirements," Todd says. "If they want to be in the central business district and have extraordinarily low latency and access to a diverse group of carriers, we can offer that in our downtown facility. If they want the ability to significantly scale their space and power requirements at hyperscale economics, we have that opportunity in MTL-2, and then all our facilities are directly connected by our own dedicated, diverse fibre ring."

Additionally, there are two sites in Vancouver, and a facility in Calgary that the company recently acquired in August 2019, ensuring eStruxture has a presence in three of the top data centre markets in Canada. They remain focused solely on the Canadian market. "We believe there is significant benefit in being focused and knowing a market, and having your sales and operations staff based there," Coleman says. "Our Calgary employees are from Calgary and understand the Calgary market well, same with Montreal and Vancouver. The people we hire are industry veterans, and that resonates with our customers, they know that they can turn to us as a trusted advisor."

Montreal's data centre market has grown significantly over the last five years due to the low cost of power and the abundance of hydroelectricity. "It took a large hyperscale cloud provider to come into the market and really put Montreal on the map. Our belief from early on was that the customer power densities were going to continue to grow, which they have. When we entered the Canadian market, it was still fairly nascent and we had a belief that data would continue to localise and customers that were largely present in the US would find their way north of the border."

When Coleman founded eStruxture, he was still an investor in Cologix, a data centre company he co-founded in 2010. While that business focused on telecoms and interconnection, with sites within or near large carrier hotels, the aim with eStruxture was to develop Tier III, enterprise class data centres with massively scalable space and power in major Canadian markets. Today, its standard offering allows customers to go to 30 kW per rack without stranding space requiring re-engineering of the cooling system, something Coleman says is practically unheard of in North America.

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We've not only survived, we've thrived during COVID-19

Todd Coleman | President and CEO, eStruxture

eStruxture aims to provide its customers with the best service at the best cost. "We work with our manufacturers to understand what they're rolling out and drive them towards better and more enhanced technologies at the best cost performance. We're about consistency, control and proven quality and stability. Most importantly, we understand where our customers are going. I'd say that's the biggest evolution in our thought process that we've adopted in the last few years - not viewing our customers as one-size fits all. We work to better understand our customer requirements at the application level and design our data centres to ensure maximum flexibility to meet our customers’ requirements."

Having strong partnerships with companies that understand their business needs is critical for eStruxture to be a trusted advisor to its customers. "We often receive zero financial benefit when we work with customers as a trusted advisor, but that's part of our value proposition, to steer and advise them as to who our partners are and provide details on their offerings, so our customers are able to be put in direct contact as we hand them off in a very warm and relationship-driven way. That's been hugely beneficial to both our customers and partners alike."

The company has a number of key partner relationships, including with Belden, a provider of network and connectivity solutions, JAVCO, a specialist in mission critical design and engineering, and Vertiv, a mission critical equipment manufacturer, many of whom have been key partners since the company was founded. "These types of relationships speak volumes to the partners that we bring in and in how we value them, because they enable us to stretch the rubber band and grow indirectly, bringing people, resources and technology to bear to an opportunity that we might not have had access to otherwise."

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Like so many organisations globally, eStruxture has been touched by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early days of the outbreak the company took a step back to reevaluate its position in terms of investments, customers and key metrics. "Along the way, we proved to ourselves that the business was very resilient in these types of economic downturns. Frankly, we've not only survived, we've thrived during COVID-19. Our sales funnel has never been more robust than over the past few months."

Understanding that people's needs may have changed during COVID-19, they've offered incentives to customers who need to quickly migrate their IT and network infrastructure or require immediate expansion of capacity, and to encourage customers to take advantage of eStruxture’s on-site technicians to enable customers to deal with issues remotely, in a bid to protect both the facilities and the customers’ and eStruxture’s employees while the pandemic is ongoing.

Ultimately, to be successful, Coleman says you need investors that believe in you, as well as intimate knowledge of the marketplace. "The data centre market is a bit of a ‘build it and they will come’ market, so you need confidence in how it's evolving, and where new markets could turn into data centre-centric markets that otherwise weren’t previously. You really need your finger on the pulse of the marketplace and their localised nature to truly understand them."

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