The first episode of the DCD>Zero Downtime is finally here and even more excitingly features an interview with Interxion’s Lex Coors.
As the winner of DCD’s Outstanding Contribution to the Industry award, it seemed only right that he be the first guest, and we covered a multitude of topics: sustainability, ensuring local communities don’t turn against data centers, and his two decades with the company, from the early days through to the recent Digital Realty acquisition.
So, how did Lex enter the world of data centers? And what has kept him sticking around? He spilled the truth to our editor, Sebastian Moss.
“In 1999, the world for data centers looked massive. The growth projections were off the chart, and then the bubble burst.
“But the projections were massive, and I had this opportunity to join a startup – Interxion – and I thought why not?”
That bubble bursting was the sudden arrival of competitors. 2002 was a difficult time industry-wide, not only for Interxion.
“The interesting thing was that because I invented the modular data center, we had a lot of cash still in our bank account because we were only investing the capacity per customer needs at that time. That helped us come through, although we were in deep trouble because don't forget many of us went down. I thought, let's see. I liked it too much to simply step out of it and leave.”
Like many companies, Interxion had to turn to the help of others to pull through. In their case, it was APC who came to the rescue.
“I’m still grateful. We had the design done already in early 2000 for one and a half kilowatt per square meter. But we had only installed something like 300-400 watts per square meter, because that was the business demand at that time. Then we were in big trouble when the market went up again, in 2004 to 2005.
“We didn't have the immediate cash to simply install the capacity that we needed to support customer growth. So we reached out to APC, and we said "this is the problem we need to solve." And APC said, why not. We will supply you with the UPSs, and you can start paying when they actually start creating revenue.”
Fast forward to today, and Interxion is now looking back at the recent acquisition by Digital Realty.
“Interxion needed this. We had great ideas, but we didn't have, let's say, the deep pockets that a company like Digital Realty had. I think that the advantage that we could bring was our knowledge. Now, first of all, our position in Europe, which was quite strong, meant that we also had a deep knowledge of these communities of interest.
“Because of the takeover by Digital Realty of Interxion, we learned a lot about scale, real scale. We thought that 20 megawatts was already scaled in Europe. While our fellows were in digital headquarters in the US already dealing with 100, 200 megawatts. So, that was something new for us.
“We learned from that, and we also saw that they learned from how we are building these communities of interest. So I think it's a very strong take over for the whole company.”
We got a real insight into Lex Coors and his experience in the data center industry over the years. But this was only the beginning – there is so much more ground to cover. To listen to the full episode, head on over to DCD>Zero Downtime.
DCD>Zero Downtime is sponsored by Vertiv.