There’s a new land rush taking place in Canada. No, it’s not to lay claim to gold or other precious metals, or to find some small piece of real estate in cities with sky-rocketing housing prices – it’s to open up data centres.

Incumbent carriers, software vendors, and other managed service providers are clamouring for building facilities that can be Tier 3 or 4 classification-level data centres. As the demand for enterprise services delivered in a hybrid cloud model is on the rise, there’s also a general consensus that keeping that data on Canadian soil is also important. We probably have Edward Snowden to thank for that.

CenturyLink is one of players opening up data centres in Canada. It opened a data centre in August 2014 in Toronto and also operates sites in Vancouver and Montreal. The firm, which offers Internet, TV, and phone to consumers and managed IT services to businesses, is no stranger when it comes to handling infrastructure. It owns 250,000 miles of fibre networks in North America alone and about 25 per cent of the world’s Internet traffic passes through CenturyLink’s infrastructure at some point. As demand grows in Canada, it’s likely we’ll see CenturyLink in more locations.

To learn about CenturyLink’s approach to running data centres and its view on the booming data centre market, we connected with its chief technology officer Aamir Hussain in a Hangouts on Air. Watch the video above to hear Hussain’s responses to these questions:

  • Bring us up to date on your data centre operations in Canada. We know you opened a new one in Toronto last year. At the time you’d said your goal was to see that facility filled by the end of 2015, with a new data centre ready to be opened. How’s that going?
  • You’ve made a point about publicly announcing your virtualization strategy. Tell me about that and what you hope to accomplish with it.
  • How is this virtualization rollout going in Canada, are your data centres here ready for this approach?
  • We talk about the data centre “land rush” here in Canada. In the last two years, millions of square feet of new data centre space has opened up. Where do you see the next two years going?
  • There’s many similarities between Canada’s economy and Australia’s. A recent study of CenturyLink found that hybrid IT was the preferred architecture ‘Down Under.’ Do you expect that would be the same here in the Great White North?