Dick Theunissen, Equinix: All present and correct

12 November 2012 |


With its acquisition of Ancotel complete, Equinix has consolidated its position in the European data centre market. So what next?

  

Equinix was already the world’s largest carrier neutral data centre provider when it acquired Frankfurt-based Ancotel in May.

With that one move, it vastly strengthened its position in a region that probably had not until that moment been its true forte. With that job done, what’s next for the company?

We put this to Dick Theunissen, CMO EMEA for Equinix, asking him to go over the rationale for the Ancotel move and to tell us about the company’s future plans.

“Ancotel is a very exciting project for us,” he says. “It gives us a place at a very important crossroads for global traffic. Over the past six or so years we’ve been working hard in Europe at increasing our density and increasing the traffic in our data centres. Ancotel is an important part of that density and those volumes. Our motivation is really as simple as that.”

Gaining ground in Europe

With Ancotel, Equinix gains connectivity with more than 200 new networks in Europe, taking it up to about 500 European customers in total.

Theunissen says it is no accident that Frankfurt is its chosen European hub: “It’s been important for around 15 years now, ever since telcos started to build fibre capacity there,” he explains. “Carrier availability is enormous, and you’ve got DI-CIX too. We’re trying to build something for our customers, for their requirements over the next 20 years.”

The new Frankfurt centres come with an abundance of space and power, he says, that gives carriers the chance to establish nodes there easily, and for cloud companies and content companies from all over the world to deploy there. Frankfurt is also strategically significant, looking as it does both east and west.

So post-Ancotel, are we set for a wave of new consolidation among Europe’s data centre players? “I don’t know,” admits Theunissen. “The market has been between Interxion, Telecity and Equinix for a while now. Over the past 10 years we’ve seen all of these survive and make their own models work.”

And of further possible acquisitions for Equinix, either within Europe or globally? If Equinix is to expand further by acquisition, then that would probably be for geographic reasons in a market where it currently has a light footprint, like Latin America or Asia: “We’re always casting our eye around for customer requirements that might take us to other hotspots around the world,” he says. “That’s what drives our expansion strategy – delivering value for customers based on global interconnect.”

Theunissen is also, not unnaturally, pretty motivated by the ‘Big Data’ phenomenon: “It’s just mind boggling that some 90% of all enterprise data has been generated in the past few years – that’s how fast it’s growing,” he enthuses. “We need faster networks, faster servers and smarter memory. Building data centres to connect it all is where we add value.”

The revenue centre

It looks like it could be a long wait for those who would like to see Equinix follow other data centre operators into the service delivery game.

Theunissen says he sees competitors expanding into all sorts of different managed service areas – citing the example of TelecityGroup taking over Globix.

He insists that Equinix is happy to stick to running data centres, providing integration and access for customers into the different ecosystems in those centres: “That’s the real value we deliver – in our 4,000+ plus customers. It’s what sets us apart.”

Another differentiator is Equinix Marketplace, a portal for customers, which gives access to the company’s whole customer base. Each customer is able to create a profile that can be seen by any other customer around the world. Service requests can be sent out on the portal.

One of Equinix’s other messages is ‘the data centre as revenue centre’. “We want to turn a data centre from a cost element for carriers to a revenue bringing one,” states Theunissen.

“A data centre is not a necessary evil, it’s a place where we engage with carriers, introduce them to their counterparts and show them opportunities. These may be opportunities that for one reason or another the carrier just hasn’t seen, and without doing their job for them we can offer them our perspective.”