Tom Brown was recently named CEO of DataGryd, which operates out of the iconic 60 Hudson Street carrier hotel in the heart of New York City. DataGryd has been pretty quiet for a while, but is now ready to rumble. Tom had previously been with Windstream’s wholesale division and with Fibernet Telecom Group before that. Tom joins us today along with Art Valhuerdi, SVP of operations, to talk about DataGryd’s plans going forward.
TR: Tell me about DataGryd’s infrastructure as it stands today.
TB: So our infrastructure consists of both the fifth and sixth floor at 60 Hudson Street, which is roughly 120,000 square feet of rentable data center space.
AV: We also have 50,000 square feet of Infrastructure space; for medium voltage substations from Con Ed where we connect to the grid. We also have cooling towers on the roof and a generator plant on the top floor, far away from any potential floodwaters. We have four 3MW generators with a fifth planned for the same location and a sixth to be added at another location in the building.
TB: One of the unique differentiators of our offering is our power feed in and out of the building, which is diverse from the building itself. So if 60 Hudson Street went down, it wouldn’t interrupt DataGryd customers. We can service clients anywhere from 250 kW to 5 MW.
TR: How did that diverse power feed come about?
AV: When we started in the building we were using existing power to take care of our needs, but we worked with ConEd to intercept some power feeds before they get to the building services. We brought them into a separate floor on the mezzanine about 35 feet above the ground, and installed 4, 6Mva substations.
TB: The genesis of that was all around diversity because one of the limitations that was always taxing 60 Hudson Street was having ample amounts of power. With these upgrades we have not only additional power resources but also the ability to effectively disperse the heat and cool it effectively.
TR: So what plans do you have to further develop your footprint within 60 Hudson Street?
AV: There are another two floors contiguous to ours, 7 and 8, that are available to us specifically, which would essentially double our current footprint. If we don’t exercise our options then they’ll become available to others, but we have the power and cooling to be able to utilize them. Right now the fifth floor is fully populated, and the sixth is open for business. The idea is as we hit a certain benchmark on the sixth floor in sales, we will start work on the seventh. And then when seven gets moving along, we will go to eight.
TR: How do you handle the demands on interconnection within the building?
TB: There is ample amount of conduit within which we have rights to build fiber anywhere in the building to meet to whatever desire that the customer has. One of the challenges that you see today in the marketplace generally is centered around cross-connects. As my role evolved at Windstream with the content players, I saw that the cost of cross connects within the metro or within the building really take you out of the equation from a financial perspective. So having that ability for a customer to say, “Hey, listen. I’d like to build a large fiber cable from 5 to 19”, it’s a one-time capex cost that we can provide for the customer at a nominal charge. So if somebody comes in that expects to need a lot of cross connects, we would facilitate that by building them a 4 inch conduit, pull fiber, and splice it for them. But they would administrate it and wouldn’t pay cross connect fees, just a nominal fee to rent the space through the building. In essence, we can directly connect customers from our data center to any other provider in the building.
TR: What’s on the menu for this year in terms of your product offerings?
AV: I think our CX2 offering was confusing, it led many to believe we were offering cloud services when it was intended as a space and power play for cloud companies. It didn’t have the right focus and just didn’t catch anybody’s imagination. We’re going to reevaluate that and the website itself, and our other product offerings will also be changed a little bit too. Certainly our messaging and our brand awareness will certainly be addressed in the near term. The most important thing is for the market to know we offer colocation as well as data center space and can service a wide variety of need.
TR: What is it like working within a competitive ecosystem like 60 Hudson?
TB: Just as it has been elsewhere in my wholesale career, our competitors are also our customers but the only competitor that we really should see is ourselves. For instance, DRT/Telx has a global footprint, and zColo has a global footprint. But both of them have a real need within New York. Obviously, they are our customers today, and they’re continually looking at expansion and looking at additional requirements. So when they convey a need for space and power here, we’re in a good spot.
TR: Thank you for talking with Telecom Ramblings!
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