JSA Live TV: Jaymie Scotto Cutaia and Callum Morrison of Cologix Discuss bringing AWS Outposts to Cologix data centers in Vancouver


Callum Morrison, account director at Cologix, appeared on JSA TV Live with Jaymie Scotto Cutaia to talk about what Cologix bringing AWS Outposts to data centers in Vancouver, Canada, means to our customers.

Watch the interview and read the transcript below:

JSA Live TV with Jaymie Scotto Cutaia and Callum Morrison of Cologix

Jaymie Scotto Cutaia: Welcome, everyone, to JSA TV live, the live streaming newsroom for telecom and data center professionals. I’m Jaymie Scotto Cutaia, CEO of JSA. Welcome, everybody, and joining me today, we’re really excited to have from beautiful Vancouver, Cologix’s own Callum Morrison. Callum, welcome to JSA TV Live.

Callum Morrison: Thanks so much, Jaymie. Yeah, it is beautiful today. It’s a bit of a rarity sometimes during the winter and early spring months. But the sun is shining in Vancouver and I’m happy to be here with you.

Jaymie:  Oh, happy to have you, happy to have you. And yeah, Vancouver is just one of the top, most beautiful cities on my list. So, really weather aside, It’s just beautiful. People are beautiful. We’re going to give our love out to Vancouver.

Callum: If it’s raining in the city, it’s snowing in the mountains. That’s what we always say. So, I agree with you there.

Jaymie: Now, I heard that Cologix has just shared some really exciting news about your partnership with AWS – no small logo there – in your Vancouver data centers, which is pictured behind you. But before we get into that, can you tell us first a little bit about yourself and your background at Cologix?

Callum: Sure. Really exciting news, I agree. Looking forward to discussing that.

My background is from the tech sector. Before that, I was playing competitive sport for a large majority of my early adult life. Migrated that into a job at a startup here in Vancouver. A few years after being involved with that, and a sale, I found myself with Cologix as an account director. What that means for me, and my customers and prospects and clients, is that I consult on everything from colocation to network. What we’re increasingly finding is hybrid colocation deployments, which have a cloud element to them. That’s kind of part and parcel of what we’ll be talking about today. But really, what I do is I basically, I would say, a PM (project manager) from every sense of the word. So, designing deployments, looking at legal frameworks that are agreeable between companies, looking at network abilities and the right solution for people in terms of their network needs.

So, there’s a large variety of what an account director does at Cologix and, you know, that ranges from across our North American portfolio and a variety of locations to someone that just wants to go inside one of our Vancouver data centers. So, really exciting space to be in, and I find myself really excited to come to work every day and look at the challenges we face and solve them.

Jaymie: Yeah, and Cologix is of course known for its client-first, client-forward philosophies, and you’re an embodiment of that.

Callum: Thank you so much. Yeah, I always say we’re, you know, we’re a top-five provider in North America in terms of our size and our portfolio, but you really do get a boutique sense of the customer-centric focus that we have here. We really do care about what people are doing in our data centers. We make it very easy for them to accomplish a lot of pretty cool deployments and pretty cool things with the business.

Jaymie: You really can feel that too, from an outsider peering in. So, let’s go ahead and get to the headlines, our recent news.  Cologix, what was it, last week making this announcement in Vancouver? Tell us about the announcement. I don’t want to steal the news, the thunder from you. Tell us what it means also for your customers.

Callum: Yeah, it’s so great. AWS has made a focus on kind of bridging the gap between things that are all in the cloud and things that people might want to put a little bit closer to where their hubs are, where the eyes of their consumers are. So, the announcement is that we’re a preferred partner of their Outposts, which is a fully managed suite of AWS hardware. You can pick and choose what you need, and you can put in a full rack of AWS servers capable of EC2. What we are is what they prefer people to kind of utilize in terms of a colocation provider. We house the (Amazon Web Services®) Direct Connect, which is their network onramp. So, we’ll get into some of the requirements that these Outposts and outpost servers have. But AWS has kind of determined their infrastructure is with Cologix, and I think so should yours be. I think, basically, that is kind of the message there.

Jaymie: And you know what? Some of our viewers, and myself included, may have thought that enterprises would have AWS Outposts on prem, right? And therefore, no need to access them via Cologix data centers. But can you explain a little bit about why these Outposts play such a critical role for enterprise clients via Cologix?

Callum: Absolutely. I’ll kind of take it in two parts. I think the first part is, you know, why aren’t these things going on in people’s offices or in people’s buildings, right? And when you start to kind of get into the weeds a little bit on Outposts and what they require, I think it really lends itself into a colocation environment instead.

The first one is that you need to be compliant with all the documentation that your business requires. So, whether that’s a health entity requiring HIPAA compliance, you know, a financial entity that requires PCI compliance or whether you just require SOC 1, SOC 2 and ISO designations in your business to protect people’s data, you still have to maintain that environment around your Outpost. So, no matter whether your building can handle the power requirements, which I’ll get into in a second, or the network, you still need to maintain that secure environment around your Outpost to be completely compliant with the gear they’re giving you.

Another part of it is the power.  So, an Outpost rack starts at 5kW of redundant power. And that can be quite an undertaking for a building to input that power infrastructure – but also to backup that power infrastructure with generators and UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) units, which is what Cologix kind of excels at. You know, we employ N+1 environments to take care of things when the power does go out, which inevitably is happening with changing climates and variable conditions on the power grid. So, the power part is tough. It starts at 5kW, and goes to 10 and 15, depending on how much gear you want in your Outpost. So, it’s no easy task for every office building to accommodate.

The third part and fourth part that I kind of put together are the network requirements. So, there’s diverse switching that needs to go into your Outpost that usually, if you’re a large enterprise, requires redundant connections with diverse providers, network providers.  So, not every building will have that on net. And if you do want to put that on net, it could be a very prohibitive CapEx cost to get that network entity on net to your building. Cologix, we’re network-neutral. We build enterprise-grade (colocation) facilities with a variety of network providers that you can choose from. We are neutral – we don’t care who you go with. We want to provide you the best solution, either from your office to the data center, or from the data center to another location around the world.

And then I think that sort of very final part, which kind of combines your network, is that you do need to still connect to the availability zone or the region of AWS. That’s for some diagnostic and upgrading capabilities that they want to do to your Outpost. And so, we are the direct connect location. You can basically do all of it in our data center – your network, your power, your compliance – it all comes as one. And then you can connect into that direct connect node with some pretty cool automation capabilities that our product team out of Denver has.

Jaymie: Amazing. So, compliance, power, diversity, and direct availability of AWS – all great reasons to go and leave it to the experts over at Cologix. So, what demand are you seeing for this deployment model and what industries may be first in line to go ahead and adopt it?

Callum:  I think the demand for direct connect connectivity has been increasing exponentially over the last little while. I think people, a lot of people, put their stuff into the cloud and then they sort of consulted on their network afterwards, right, which is always a tough way to do things. So, we’re seeing lots of requests for direct connect nodes. And really, anyone that’s looking to employ Outposts is someone that’s very, very latency sensitive. So, you know, the region of AWS currently lies in Montréal.  So, if you have latency sensitivity, where that latency between your site or your core and the availability zones there, that doesn’t suffice for you… an example of that would be healthcare (or) financial. Anyone that’s doing trading. Media is a large segment that we’re finding – if you’re producing or bringing content to people, you can’t afford to have latency. So, what an outpost really does, the very simplest essence of it, is it takes the (availability zone) that’s currently in Montréal, and it brings it wherever you want.

Jaymie:  Where can our viewers go, particularly those who like speed, to learn more?

Callum: I’ll say one more thing on the verticals. As IoT and 5G start to roll out, I think the telcos become very, very big consumers of this, as well as we’re starting to see some big employers of IoT, like manufacturing, etc. You know, anyone that’s doing research – that’s latency sensitive, as well. They need the results directly input into their engines. Those are some other verticals that we are seeing start to employ these deployments.

Where can people go? Our website is fantastic. It has virtual tours; it has an email that you can contact – sales@cologix.com – as well. That’ll put you in touch with the right person in your market to consult with you on all your colocation, hybrid, networking needs. We can pretty much solve most of it. So, please get in touch with us. We would love to help out with whatever you’re planning

Jaymie: Callum, thank you so much for your insight, your time. This has been really informative. Such a short amount of time, yet I got I got so many good little nuggets from you. Thank you so much. And thank you, viewers, also for tuning in to JSA TV Live. Go ahead and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter. And, of course, as always, happy networking.


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