Startup EdgeDC is finalising plans for an initial 300-rack data centre in Brisbane’s north, heralding its arrival as a new entrant into Australia’s burgeoning market for carrier-neutral facilities.
Director Adam Davis – one of three at the new company – told iTnews that plans for the Pinnacle data centre were hatched about five years ago but had accelerated in the past two years.
Davis will share EdgeDC’s journey and lessons learned when he speaks at the Australian Cloud & Data Centre Summit in March 2016, which is co-organised by iTnews.
”We got to a point where we’d written an EOI document – which we didn’t take anywhere – and built a business plan in our own heads, but that was the end of it for a while, and it disappeared,” he said.
“It really hit the accelerator when I had a meeting with an industry contact who had contacts north of Brisbane that were looking for data centre space and I happened to mention that we’d always wanted to build a data centre there.
“He then did an introduction and we had some discussions. Through those, we ended up getting introduced to a developer and a financier, and it just snowballed from there. All of a sudden it was back on the books.”
The company’s earlier due diligence led it to scope potential sites for the Pinnacle facility and to ultimately select North Lakes, about 28km north of Brisbane CBD.
“North Lakes is a relatively new suburb with new power and communications infrastructure, and dual fibres running up the Bruce Highway for redundancy back into Brisbane,” Davis said.
The distance could make Pinnacle an attractive proposition as a secondary site for disaster recovery for customers whose primary facility is in Brisbane.
Davis also noted the area “doesn’t flood” – Brisbane’s 2011 floods caused problems for some CBD-based facilities – and was easily accessible: the site sits within a business park, where customers wishing to be close can take office space.
One-off events such as when Brisbane hosted the G20 in late 2014 had also taken some of the gloss off CBD-based facilities, according to Davis.
“In speaking to clients that currently have their data centre in the CBD, the G20 was a real eye opener for them because they found it very difficult to get to their own equipment because of the lockdown requirements in the city,” he said.
“That changed some of the mentality around having a CBD location.”
The initial Pinnacle data centre will be a greenfield build, approximately 1700 square metres in size and about 50 percent technical floor space, amounting to around 300 racks.
The build methodology is “very scalable and modular”, Davis said.
“We can build out in small incremental blocks as clients come on board but maintain an N+1 redundancy on all systems,” he said.
Additional land is available to fuel expansion – for example, a second building – and edgeDC has also scoped out a number of brownfields sites elsewhere in Brisbane.
“As a company we don’t want to finish at one data centre,” Davis said.
While the data centre market in Australia appeared crowded, Davis was buoyed by its growth prospects.
“When I looked back on the entire data centre market, especially in Queensland, I saw that it had continued to grow. It certainly didn’t look like a market that was ever going to subside,” he said.
“We had a glut in the market some five years ago when everyone expanded but it was very quickly taken up.
“That was the driving force for us. We saw that there was still ongoing demand and there was growth in that demand as well.
“The bell curve is heading up.”