Canada quietly witnessed significant M&A activity in the hyperscaler space over the past two years, capped off by Vantage Data Centers’ ongoing push into Canada and its recent purchase of Montreal-based Hypertec.
The transaction increases Vantage’s presence in Quebec, with a total IT load capacity of 81 megawatts (MW) for all of its three sites. Two years ago, Vantage Data Centres hadn’t even established a presence in Canada, but fast forward to today, it’s found itself rapidly adding capacity to meet the growing demand within a fiercely competitive field.
Equinix acquired Bell Canada data centres in May 2020 to expand its footprint. The summer prior, Compass Data Centers acquired Montreal’s Root Datacenters in July 2019. The global cloud computing market was expected to grow at a CAGR of over 20 per cent during 2019-2020, according to ResearchAndMarkets.com. In Canada, Montreal has become the go-to destination for most American IaaS providers looking to expand their reach North of the border, according to Maxime Guévin, vice-president and general manager of Vantage Data Centers Canada, in an interview with IT World Canada.
“Montreal is a bit more attractive,” Guévin said, comparing it to Toronto. Montreal has some of the least expensive power in all of North America thanks to its cooler temperatures, and that’s attracted some of the largest global cloud providers, he explained. On the way to its latest acquisition, Vantage even turned down some offers from cryptocurrency miners. They’re not the most reliable or carbon-minded customers in their pursuit of sheer horsepower, Guévin explained.
“They’re just after horsepower,” he said, adding their frequent disregard for the environment and their carbon footprint is another deterrent. “We’re investing for the future.”
And the future is filled with clients grappling with the business impact of the pandemic. A subset of 187 survey respondents in the RightScale 2020 State Of The Cloud Report From Flexera indicated how they expect COVID-19 to affect their cloud plans, and over 50 per cent of them said cloud usage will be higher than initially planned. Some of the increase is due to the extra capacity needed for current cloud-based applications to meet increased demand. Still, for others, especially smaller enterprises in Canada, it’s a simple matter of survival.
Retail is undergoing one of the biggest transformations in recent memory, Guévin said. Some stores not under the wing of a large corporation are still scrambling to establish an online presence. The ones that figured this out months ago are now running into the problem of maintaining those systems without internal tech support. Larger enterprises that have embraced services through the cloud are still trying to optimize costs and cloud usage, he said. Rightscale’s report backs this up, reporting that 73 per cent of respondents picked cost optimization as their top cloud initiative, an increase from last year’s figure of 64 per cent.
Don’t expect the Canadian data centre market to reach activity levels akin to the Data Center Valley in Ashburn, Virgina, where 70 per cent of the world’s internet traffic passes through the region’s fibre, but the bustling Montreal market alone is in a favourable position to reach maybe 25 per cent of that capacity one day, Guévin said.
This is Vantage’s third acquisition in 2020, following the purchase of Etix Everywhere in February and Next Generation Data in July.