Equinix Hires Jim Smith for Hyperscale Data Center Initiative

May 3, 2018
Equinix has tapped industry veteran Jim Smith as its new Managing Director – Hyperscale, a sign that the colocation provider sees a significant opportunity in its expansion into hyperscale data center construction.

Equinix has tapped Jim Smith as its new Managing Director – Hyperscale, adding an experienced executive for its expansion into hyperscale data center construction.

Smith’s last position was at Microsoft, where he served as the cloud computing titan’s General Manager for Site Selection & Network Acquisition, heading the company’s data center land, lease and network negotiations and acquisitions. Smith previously spent 11 years as a key player at Digital Realty Trust, the world’s largest operator of data centers and technical real estate, rising to Chief Technical Officer. His experience in the data center industry also includes stints working for 360networks, COLO.com and Verio.

Equinix is the global market leader in “retail” colocation, in which tenants buy smaller amounts of space by the cabinet or cage. In November, Equinix said it will pursue larger deals with hyperscale Internet companies, a move that will place it in direct competition with some of the data center REITs (real estate investment trusts) that specialize in large footprint IT infrastructure. Hyperscale deals usually use the wholesale data center model, in which a tenant leases a finished suite of “turn-key” raised-floor space. Recently, wholesale players have leased larger data halls and entire buildings to single customers.

Several Projects in the Works

Equinix confirmed Smith’s hiring on its earnings call Wednesday evening.

“Jim Smith is now on board as a full-time employee,” said Charles Meyers, President of Services and Strategy at Equinix. “We’re really energized about that. He’s bringing exceptional experience and skillsets to the table.”

Smith owns deep experience in developing data centers for major tenants, which will be valuable to Equinix as it pursues both strategies in expanding its cloud infrastructure.

Jim Smith has joined Equinix as Managing Director – Hyperscale. (Photo: Infrastructure Masons)

During Smith’s time at Digital Realty, he led teams that delivered more than 300 megawatts of data center projects, totaling more than $4 billion of capital investment. His time at Microsoft coincided with an extraordinary period of growth in which the company invested billions of dollars in support the

Equinix created a Hyperscale Infrastructure Team (HIT) to focus on these larger projects, and has recently begun work on its Paris 8 data center, the first facility designed for hyperscale customers.

“We expect to add a handful of strategic builds across key markets over the next year and we have a healthy pipeline of attractive hyperscale opportunities,” said Peter Van Camp, Interim CEO and President of Equinix, on the earnings call. “We are also progressing well with financing structures that will allow us to pursue this important market with limited balance sheet exposure.”

‘Healthy Funnel’ for Hyperscale

Meyers said Equinix has already won several hyperscale deals, and said the company has “an exceptionally healthy funnel” of prospects.

“We are actively engaged in deal discussions for both projects that are hyperscale oriented into some existing facilities, but now really starting to ramp up, where we’re talking about deals that are going to go into dedicated HIT facilities,” said Meyers. ”

In announcing its expansion into hyperscale deals, Equinix said it would begin competing on deals for between 3 and 5 megawatts of data center space, perhaps delivered in phases. Equinix says the hyperscale initiative will be targeted, focusing on strategic customers in key markets.

About the Author

Rich Miller

I write about the places where the Internet lives, telling the story of data centers and the people who build them. I founded Data Center Knowledge, the data center industry's leading news site. Now I'm exploring the future of cloud computing at Data Center Frontier.

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