Equinix_Jeremy Deutsch

Equinix’s expansion ambition

President, Equinix Asia-Pacific, Jeremy Deutsch, sees business as usual in Hong Kong despite new security laws being implemented on the island. He shares this and more about Equinix’s data centre investments in the region, during an interview with Enterprise IT News.

EITN: What informs and guides your data center investments when it comes to deciding which country to open DCs at? Which other countries in APAC are on your radar in terms of DC investments?

Jeremy: Equinix is constantly exploring avenues for expansion in-line with customer needs and market opportunities. Acquiring GPX India is our first step into the market, and we plan to use this acquisition to land and expand our reach across the nation into other metros as we continue to build our interconnection services, platform, and ecosystem.

 In addition to GPX India, Equinix is driving an extensive global construction and expansion plan, including:

  • We announced the intention to acquire Bell sites in Canada in early June
  • We have recently announced two major expansion projects in existing markets (Frankfurt and Singapore)
  • We have 29 major construction projects underway, adding capacity in 20 metros in 14 countries
  • We estimate ending FY20 with a cabinet equivalent capacity of ~312,000 (including current assets)

Today, we operate 46 data centers across 13 metros in Asia-Pacific, including Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Singapore. We have recently announced expansions in Hong Kong, and new builds in Japan and Singapore. Earlier this year, we also announced our formation of a joint venture with GIC to build hyperscale data centers in Japan.

EITN: What are Malaysia’s pros and cons?

Jeremy: Asia-Pacific has experienced tremendous growth and this trend is likely to continue – it was reported that the region’s data center colocation market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 8-percent during the period 2018 to 2024. Sitting naturally in the focus of the whole region, Malaysia is not only a bridge between continental and island Asia but also the gateway between the China Sea and the Indian Ocean, presenting unique potential for data center businesses.

As the digital economy continues to accelerate, new opportunities are also being unlocked to support a hyper-connected world. As a result, Equinix continues to expect a high demand for data centers and interconnection in Southeast Asia, as well as higher requirements on data privacy, security and latency. Businesses, organizations and industries are increasingly digitizing, and they must address growing data volumes and data exchange velocity across a rising number of clouds and business ecosystems with interconnection, i.e. private data exchange.

EITN: Can you explain the reasoning for a data center investment in HK? With new security laws announced in HK (that is perceived as at least privacy intrusive of user data), what have you observed from the financial industry’s response in HK? If not mistaken they are required by regulation also to hand over user data or something along those lines. What about big tech companies that have DCs in HK?

 Jeremy: Hong Kong plays a significant and strategic role in global trade and business. We currently operate five data centers in Hong Kong representing approximately 4-percent of our revenues and are engaged in expansion projects. We expect our growth in Hong Kong to continue to mirror the customer demand for our data centre and interconnection services.

We have not seen any impact on our “business as usual” operations as a result of the new national security law. Since the law has only recently gone into effect, and it is unclear how it will be interpreted or enforced, we will closely monitor for any potential impact.

 EITN: Is the nature of your business or technology solution, able to protect user data from government authorities in some way?

Jeremy: With our colocation services, Equinix customers operate their own equipment (servers, routers, storage arrays, etc.) within our data centres in “cages” and “racks” that only they can access through multiple levels of physical security. Thus, Equinix does not have, nor can it provide, virtual access to the data that transits or is stored on the customer-owned or controlled equipment within our data centers.

We respond to any government agency requesting access to our data centres in accordance with our corporate policies. While we do not want to speculate on hypotheticals that may never emerge, we can say that we cooperate with law enforcement requests, whilst being mindful of confidentiality commitments and the privacy expectations of our customers.  We will comply with all valid and lawful orders from law enforcement.  It is our policy to notify our customers of any law enforcement inquiries unless prohibited by law from doing so and make it clear to law enforcement that we do not own and often have limited control over customer equipment.