Iron Mountain Focused on Building Capacity, Interconnections in 2020

March 3, 2020
Iron Mountain has spent several years adding data center capacity and green power. In 2020 it will also focus on enhancing its interconnection capabilities and building connected customer ecosystems.

Iron Mountain’s network of data centers has grown larger and greener. Now the company wants to make it even more connected.

The company’s global data center footprint now spans more than 3.5 million square feet across 15 locations on three continents. In 2019, the company boosted its ability to provide renewable energy for its colocation customers, using both power purchase agreements and a huge rooftop solar array.

Now that it has amassed a sizable footprint and strong sustainability credentials, Iron Mountain will focus on enhancing its interconnection strategy and building highly-connected customer ecosystems.

Interconnection is a major focus for enterprise clients. Industry reports project a meteoric rise in the volume of data traffic flowing through network intersections, with global interconnection bandwidth growing 51 percent annually through 2025 to more than 13,300 Terabits per second (tbps).

That includes a growing volume of traffic from enterprise IT operations as they seek to manage data growth and connect to more cloud platforms and business ecosystems. Iron Mountain sees an opportunity in leveraging its history as a trusted provider to regulated enterprise users.

“We believe that as we continue to bring enterprise clients into our data centers, it will bring more service providers into our ecosystem,” said Michael DeVito, SVP of Global Sales and Marketing at Iron Mountain Data Centers.

DeVito joined Iron Mountain in October from Digital Realty, where he specialized in network solutions for enterprise customers. He sees the potential for interconnection growth in markets including Northern Virginia, Phoenix, New Jersey, Denver and Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is one of the world’s most active interconnection markets, which Iron Mountain entered with its 2018 acquisition of Evoswitch. Former Evoswitch CEO Eric Boonstra is now Vice President & General Manager of the Data Center business for Iron Mountain, and emphasized connectivity services during a recent DCF Executive Roundtable.

“In this age of consumable services (everything as a service), customers are asking for the ability to turn services on and off whenever they want, to increase and decrease bandwidth whenever they want and to have elastic pricing – the ability to pay only for what is used, no more flat fees or having to contract for one year or longer,” said Boonstra.

“This is especially relevant for Iron Mountain as we have 95 percent of the of Fortune 1000 and approximately 250,000 enterprise relationships, many of whom are embarking on their digital transformation journey and will need scalable network services to connect to their cloud(s).”

2019 in Review: Adding 17 MW, 100 New Logos

Iron Mountain has ramped up its data center operations in recent years through both acquisitions (including FORTRUST IOEvoSwitch and sale/leasebacks of enterprise facilities) and construction of purpose-built infrastructure in markets like Northern Virginia, Phoenix and Singapore.

“We had a good year in 2019, executing 17 megawatts of new and expansion leases, including our first hyperscale deal,” said Iron Mountain CEO William Meaney in the company’s recent earnings call. “We were successful in attracting over 100 new logos to our global data center platform, further diversifying our enterprise customer base and underscoring our brand strength in this dynamic industry.

The new Iron Mountain data center in Singapore. (Photo: Iron Mountain)

“Looking into 2020, the first half pipeline looked strong with a number of larger opportunities on the horizon,” said Meaney. “These larger deals tend to be lumpy, and timing is often harder to predict. Putting this all together, we would expect to be able to lease up another 15 to 20 megawatts of capacity in 2020. We feel very good about our commercial momentum and a building pipeline of demand, including hyperscale interest in a number of our markets such as Phoenix, Northern Virginia and Frankfurt.”

In September Iron Mountain opened a new data center in Singapore, building on an expansion of its campus in Phoenix and nearly 4 megawatts of turn-key capacity across new facilities in Amsterdam and London.

Major Expansion at Manassas Campus

The latest addition is VA-2, a $225 million second data center building at Iron Mountain’s campus in Manassas, Virginia. The expansion comes less than three years after the company entered the Northern Virginia market with its campus in Prince William County. Iron Mountain says it now serves 100 customers in Manassas.

“We are excited to be expanding our presence in the largest data center market in the world, and at the same time continuing our commitment to economic development in the dynamic Prince William County,” said Mark Kidd, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Iron Mountain Data Centers. “By developing additional capacity in Manassas, we will be able to continue to provide our customers with purpose-built, enterprise-class data center capacity to solve their evolving IT architecture challenges.”

Iron Mountain is now planning to build a data center campus in Frankfurt, the financial capital of mainland Europe, and expanding its campus in Slough, outside of London.

“We are excited about our newest development in Frankfurt and currently have a strong pipeline of pre-leasing opportunities in various stages of discussion,” said Meaney. “We bought a piece of land that was already permitted. We continue to look at entering a joint venture (with a financial partner) for the Frankfurt facility, and we’re quite far down the track with a couple of potential investors. We’re really encouraged about the pre-releasing activity to the Frankfurt site.”

Building its Green Power Story

Enterprise customers are increasingly focused  on sustainability and green power. As it has expanded its data center footprint, Iron Mountain has arranged power purchase agreements (PPA) of renewable energy to offset the use of electricity in its data centers. Iron Mountain sources enough wind and solar power to equal 100 percent of its energy footprint.

A huge solar energy array adjacent to an Iron Mountain data center near Princeton, N.J. (Photo: Rich Miller)

Iron Mountain was also the first provider to implement a new reporting protocol that makes it easier for companies to apply green energy credits from their use of third-party colocation space to their corporate sustainability goals.

In October, Iron Mountain announced plans to build a 7.2-megawatt solar energy array on the roof of its massive data center building in Edison, New Jersey, which will be the largest rooftop solar deployment in the history of the data center industry.

DeVito says that all of these moves have positioned Iron Mountain for continued growth in scale and market share in 2020.

“We’ve made a serious investment in our business,” said DeVito. “Ninety five percent of the Fortune 500 trusts us to manage their data. This is our year to make some noise in the market.”

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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