Hybrid Cloud Growth with Brian Thomas of Equinix

Full Transcript

Scott Kinka:

Hi, and welcome to The Bridge. This is an episode that we’ll be dropping somewhere around the holidays. So whether it’s pre or post, happy holidays to our loyal fans out there listening to this podcast. Super excited to have Brian Thomas from Equinix on the phone with us today. Listen to me, I’m so old school on the phone with us today. Brian Thomas, officially is the senior manager of Segment Marketing Digital Strategy for Equinix. I’m going to give him the opportunity to tell us just what the hell that means in a moment, but Brian, welcome to the show.

Brian Thomas;

Hey, thanks. Thanks for having me. Happy holidays.

Scott Kinka:

Absolutely. We at  Bridgepoint have had a banger year with our friends, with our partners at Equinix, so it’s great to be able to count the cost of that, if you will. I’m going through our business planning for next year and seeing the stack ranking. Pretty good year between the two companies. Interesting time to have this conversation, but as our listeners know, I always like to start with people. This is a people business. So Brian, tell us a little bit about you.

Brian Thomas:

Sure. I’m based in Philadelphia, married. I have a son who lives out on the west coast getting his PhD. Been with Equinix for about a year, but managed Equinix globally for another partner for about five years prior, I owned the channel for joint value prop, go to market key digital messaging, I guess we’ll say. Prior to that, worked in sales for maybe, good Lord, 30 years sales, sales, leadership, channel management. Just dated myself there. Tech-wise, pretty much the gamut. Not just digital infrastructure of course, but public and private me. So that whole edge computing area, iot, I did a lot of work there and from a services perspective, managed services outsourced. So kind of spread pretty thin, I guess a mile wide and an inch deep on a lot of different things.

Scott Kinka:

Fantastic. And I keep on that for a minute, but I have to throw something out there. I always prepare with LinkedIn. We went to the same university. We are both LaSalle grads. No way. I knew you were Philly, but somehow that didn’t come up in our pre-call. So explorers are never lost. Clearly, here we are together on the pod. Fantastic. What did you study at LaSalle?

Brian Thomas:

Marketing and Psychology. I have a dual degree in that, so nowhere, nowhere near it, but sort of fell into that out school. I worked for a consultant who took me under his wing, a mentor to me and taught me the ropes a bit, but I kind of fell into it frankly. How about yourself?

Scott Kinka:

That’s a pretty good, I mean, I fell into it for me, it’s funny, I studied, I was in the radio, television and film concentration in the comm school at LaSalle when I was there and I got out and I ended up working for an agency, recruited straight into an agency, and I was that work and I’m in it for a year and this web thing was starting to happen and they were like, does anybody know how to build a webpage around here? Nobody knew who to go to for that. Right, right. So next thing you know, I’m building web pages and then I dunno, six months later, I’m consulting for Lockheed Martin. You know what I mean? How did this happen? I have no idea. Next thing you know, I’m building a webpage for the telco that I went to work for, because honestly, nobody knew who would. Do you go to your ISP to get your webpage done or your marketing company? Yes, I guess, right. And then the rest is history. Here we are. For me, I don’t know that our dates Brian, are all that different because 25 years ago for me,

Brian Thomas:

86 to 90

Scott Kinka:

Okay. Well I got there at 91, so we literally just missed each other there. Did you live on campus?

Brian Thomas:

Commuted for two years and lived on campus for two

Scott Kinka:

Which hall did you live on campus?

Brian Thomas:

Oh god, it was right by Hayman.

Scott Kinka:

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. No, I know that one.

Brian Thomas:

That building right there, right by Haman Hall or the old Hayman Hall. I don’t even know what it is now. I’m not right across the street. Yeah, I don’t necessarily follow everything around the school.

Scott Kinka:

Yeah, it’s been a big change. Been a big change. Alright, well enough reminiscing on that. The listeners are like, I don’t know anything about Philadelphia or LaSalle. So get on with it. Brian, you talked about a lot and you said a lake, and I love that phrase kind of a mile wide inch deep, but the reality of it is you’ve got a superpower, you’re in your role for a reason. What’s your personal superpower you think in tech?

Brian Thomas:

Well, I don’t know if I call it super, but being that I’m across so many different technologies through the years, it’s about taking that tech speak that we hear every day. Acronym hell that we go back and forth with all the time, but taking that technical speak and making it relevant to a customer. So business outcome driven, relevant to that vertical, relevant to what matters to them. So taking the technical and making it use case driven, how it can drive business for them, specifically align to their outcomes and those sort of things. And I think that’s a totally, that’s something that’s lost a lot frankly, as too many meetings we walk into and it becomes, as I said, acronym, hail tech speak, heavy duty architecture, propellers going and all that has to align to an outcome for a customer. So that’s an area that I sort of focus on in meetings, making sure we’re keeping it business relevant.

Scott Kinka:

Perfect. And we had DR on the show last year. He’s exceptional with that as well. I assume you guys work together over there?

Brian Thomas:

Yes, we do. Yeah, and I handle the channel. He handles the Americas. I’m channel specific.

Scott Kinka:

Got it, got it. Yeah, great guy. We had an awesome talk and it was a really great episode. We’ll get back to that in a minute, but I’m going to give you an opportunity to make the complicated situation more simple here. We do this always, and certainly our listeners are familiar with Equinix. But can you just give us the message top level, we’re in an elevator together for those who might not know.

Brian Thomas:

Yeah, sure. We’ll take it from who we are and then what it means I guess. So from a who we are perspective, world leader in digital infrastructure, 250 plus globally interconnected data centers. They’re located in geographic and business hubs around the world. Clients can deploy inside of Equinox, inside of our, we call them IBXs, their data centers. Essentially they can deploy physically or virtually, such as a footprint like a cabinet or a cage or virtually with network function virtualization as a service. We call that network edge or bare metal as a service, which is a single tenant stack of computers. We call that Equinix metal. So once customers are deployed inside of Equinox, they have access to our fabric. And that fabric is essentially companies that have chosen to build and grow their presence inside of our platform. So they basically establish a presence inside those 250 plus interconnected data centers. We call that the Equinix fabric. It’s 3000 cloud providers at this point, about 2000 network service providers. And this all just frankly enables the edge. It allows their customers to interconnect securely, privately, low latency, high performance, all that to their unique suppliers, tech alliances, co-innovation partners, SaaS providers, et cetera. So it really enables the edge. So what that all means to a customer really is we can help them digitally transform, we can help them establish a distributed digital core taking what was maybe centralized and making it more distributed in close proximity to customers, employees, users in general. Once that distributed digital core is established, it’s who do we interconnect with? We interconnect with those SaaS providers that are very specific to that customer, those tech alliances, those co-innovation partners. So allows for that interconnection and all that does is just enable the digital edge, all the use cases that are out there across AI and hybrid cloud that we hear every day anywhere in the world and delivering that most optimal user experience because all those workloads are super close to the end consumer of that particular application or workload. So that’s essentially what we do and what it means to customers. We enable that edge for all these things that customers are trying to do any vertical anywhere in the world.

 

The Evolving Landscape of Digital Cores and Edge Technology

Scott Kinka:

Yeah, lemme walk that back for maybe the non-IT buyer for one second. And I love this conversation about digital cores because in reality we were headed this way anyway and we were already starting to think about edge technology, but the reality of it’s then the pandemic happened and the structure of the core office sort of broke down the day the edge moved, but the use case became all that more pertinent. So in a lot of ways, if I’m oversimplifying here, the key is the data center in the office was always a question of whether they belong there or not. But now that we are not doing shiny buildings so much anymore or at, we’re doing shiny buildings in connection to work from home, everybody’s in some kind of hybrid these days. Even businesses who have big shiny buildings. The reality of it is the core company infrastructure has got to really go someplace else. It doesn’t make sense to be in the basement or the onsite data center. It’s there, but what’s even more important is this whole edge concept that if that’s your digital core, then you need proximity to all of these other companies with whom you choose to do business. Microsoft Office 365 is a good example, salesforce.com, and then there’s a million other fringe applications, but I’m using the germane ones then I do a good job of taking that even one step down at that point.

Brian Thomas:

You see it, yeah, there’s more locations, more devices, more data and more expectations at the edge. So with that expectation, you have to be able to deliver that to your end users, hence the proximity and the application of them being closer so that it’s a better user experience. So as the users are more distributed and the devices become more and more, that becomes increasingly difficult for companies to manage and do. So that’s what we absolutely and Bridgepoint do together with us.

Scott Kinka:

Of course. Of course. Maybe an extreme question, but it’s a fun one. I’m just going to go there just as a sidebar on this particular topic. I’m sure you talk to customers all the time, we still talk. When you’re sizing a business, you’re just getting in and learning something about them. Do we still even talk about how many office locations you have anyway? Has the person replaced the office in the count of the size of a business when you talk to them today?

Brian Thomas:

Well, it’s more of a mix. I think it always, historically it was these are my five locations and the data center’s in the basement and everything’s here P through this centralized location out to whichever workload, maybe it’s a direct connection to AWS, and we’re accessing all our SaaS applications through this NSP and we have a private line going, old school, a private line to a frame, wire that up X two five showing my eggs there. Definitely. Right, exactly. So that was the dialogue years ago. And then it really sort of morphed into kind of a mix of those users from home, those smaller offices along with still some centralized locations, especially like retail distribution centers along with the retail locations, home users, et cetera. So there’s a mix now. So the office location as we know it hasn’t gone away. It’s just now it’s the waiting we’ll say is a bit different than what it used to say. So frankly,

Scott Kinka:

I was just, or said differently. I say this to people all the time, you’re basically building two networks, a hundred percent remote, one and a hundred percent in the office. One you don’t know where they’re going to be

Brian Thomas:

And then blend them together.

Scott Kinka:

Yeah. Super interesting. So when Dr and I talked last year, some of the same themes, right? I mean I think the messaging is now maybe a year removed right around the digital core and the edge has morphed, let’s say, or matured a little bit. But we spoke quite a bit about the pandemic, we talked a lot about the cloud hangover. You guys at the time were repatriating a lot of public cloud back into bare metal or private cloud or perhaps even colo. Let me dust off the gear that’s still sitting in the warehouse kind of thing, right? Absolutely. And then just the general topic of digital transformation and how that looked in 23, I’m assuming those themes are still there and if you want to touch on any of them, great. But I mean, what else is affecting your market and roadmap for 24? What are you guys thinking about this coming year?

Brian Thomas:

Yeah, well repatriation is still, that’s actually gotten accelerated. That seems to be even more of a topic than it was a year ago. So we see that with so many customers now. I think it was a lesser percentage a year ago. They’re still assessing their decision from the past for cost and control. So that’s still happening. Not as impactful maybe as the sexy things you’re hearing now. AI of course is you can’t go a day without hearing the term ai and my mother hears AI every day. So it’s like everybody’s all they’re talking about. So that’s really, AI is a true driver that’s changing the dependencies that customers have from an ecosystem, from a network perspective. I think it’s IDCI. Threes on IDC said core AI IT spend is going to exceed 300 billion by 2025 just to update infrastructure, to support AI applications. So they have to have strategies they’re assessing their digital infrastructure or rather to see if it supports the data ingestion, the training and inference of all the local decision points. And they’re seeing that their infrastructure cannot support that and it scares the hell out of them, frankly, because all they’re hearing about is AI and they’re seeing their infrastructure can’t support it. So a lot of questions about that iot still hearing about because now it’s connected to everything. I just bought a home and we got our refrigerator and it’s connected. You can see when I need milk, it’s ridiculous. The world is connected, connected buildings, connected cities, factories. It is just, your home is fully connected now. So all that’s creating so much data that has to be acted upon. AI and iot are driving big data and analytics. What am I going to do with all that data? How am I going to analyze it? How am I going to get those actionable insights to the edge to make ’em real time near real time? And from an AI perspective, serious real time like now? Well,

Scott Kinka:

Yeah, right. I mean we’ve been talking about getting the data in a spot to do BI for some time, but I mean the AI’s got to be informed. I mean that’s the next phase of this thing, right? We’ll unpack that in a minute. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cut your answer off.

Brian Thomas:

No, no worries. And that’s changing our alliances and our partnerships that we have, the partnerships of yesterday, they work in the AI space, but we need those newer partners, the nvidia, the Intels, the AMDs, and then any partner who can enable the use cases, the ai, so data scientists and everything that goes along with that, writing that code and studying the structured and unstructured data and all that, be able to do that. So we want to work with partners’ digital infrastructure. We enable that, Equinex does, but we’re not delivering the full use case to bring AI truly to bear. So we need the right partners that we can marry with and bring that to the market. So that’s a lot of work we’re doing now. So that’s impacting our, just as we say, it impacts network and ecosystem dependencies for the customer. It also impacts us as well, Frankly. So Those are three real key areas that we’re seeing as drivers.

Scott Kinka:

I was mentally jotting down the 15 things I wanted to ask you in the middle of that answer there. So I apologize for jumping in the middle. It’s a great answer.

Brian Thomas:

No worries, no worries.

Sustainability and the Carbon Footprint: A Growing Concern for Data Centers

Scott Kinka:

I’m going to Unpack just a couple of things on that. We started on the repatriation topic and then we got into AI and I want to spend some time on ai, but let me just harken back to repatriation for one minute because you mentioned that all of the spend that’s going to go into digital infrastructure to support AI, and yet if you talk to the average CEO, they don’t even understand the use cases yet. So I’m harkening that a little bit to where we are currently on repatriation, right? Because let’s be honest, there were these board level edicts, get to the cloud and cloud First, first And out of fairness, the board didn’t even know what in a lot of ways what the hell they were asking for, Right? The impact. So now we’re in this hybrid stance. We’re hybrid where our employees are, we’re now comfortable with hybrid clouds. Let’s just be honest. There’s workloads that you just shouldn’t pay for by the drip. It’s what it’s, and I think that hybrid term has just become normal with where we are, but I’m trying to make that equation because I wonder if we sort of cloud our eyes to everything 6, 7, 8 years ago. Do you think there’s a little bit of that going on in AI right now? I mean I know that tech is moving fast, but I still feel like businesses are like this. This sounds great. I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do with it in my business, but it sounds awesome. You think that’s occurring?

Brian Thomas:

Yeah, I do actually. They’re reading about all the different use cases that can apply to their world, whether it be consumer experience or understanding your customer better and being able to be more reactive to them to drive revenue, to push different solutions or different products, those sorts of things. So AI is a big driver in that space and so customers are reading all about the different use cases, but they have no idea how to move that forward. Now different from cloud, the move to cloud is easier than let’s deploy AI, let’s do applied AI or generative ai. So what am I doing? So what we’re finding is, and I have some family members that are actually working the space. So I’ve asked them a question, Hey, are you having more AI strategy discussions or are you having more AI deployments? Where are you at in your discussions with ai? And they said it’s dominantly strategy discussions right now because I think maybe they learn a little bit from their decisions of how hasty they were, how quick they moved everything to the cloud, they’re moving it all. This is fantastic without, that’s RAM ramifications without the ramifications of cost and control. It was easy. That was easy, hey, put all the workloads, migrate the app. Now I don’t want to oversimplify, that’s not easy, but a hell of a lot easier than deploying a whole AI solution. So I think it has them looking at strategy more now than maybe they did in the past. I hate the term easy button, but it applies to setting things in the cloud as opposed to an AI enabling an AI use case. So I think they’re discussing more strategy now and open to more strategy and asking for help more than they did just moving things to the cloud. So maybe they learned something along the way.

Scott Kinka:

What perspective? I hadn’t even thought of it that way. I won’t get into the details of the company or anything along those lines. I have a close family member, let’s just say who works for an AI company and the company does something that’s interesting to us. I won’t get into the details on this, but when I engaged with them from a selling perspective, their basic approach was let’s suss out your use case and we’ll demo it. They wanted to do that before they even gave me pricing. It felt like a little bit backwards and then I’m going, but in having this conversation I’m like, that’s kind of exactly it. Particularly when it says subscription, it’s going to consume subscription or in your case consume infrastructure. You know what I mean? And you’re already in there before you’re sussing the use case out. They’re basically approaching their sales process as an AI services company that has a solution that fits a specific need where they’re basically saying, you got to best fit yourself to this thing we’re doing before we’re going to the next stage with you. Our thing does the thing and you’re going to try it and we’ll put some sales effort in upfront because that’s a whole lot of effort probably than recovering on the backend when you’re paying for something you’re not using or you want to leave or you’re dissatisfied or what have you. It’s a really interesting approach to selling that. Do you think we’ll see more of that maybe because of this I cloud

Brian Thomas:

Hangover the lab work being done in advance to see what it looks like, how it works. And I think a lot of the sis when they’re having AI conversations are having that as one of their first is let’s put this in the lab, see how it works. And that’s part of the test pad, the sandbox, we’ll say for it. I think even the dominant players in the space are creating sandbox environments that are going to let people play in using some of the high performance computing and see that, okay, here’s how this would look. Then it becomes, we latch onto that. We compliment that by saying, okay, do you want to house that high performance computing in your basement and deal with cooling and power consumption, all that? So we latch onto that as, okay, this use case, you saw how it wasn’t possible, it was super cool. Wow, it’s fantastic. It’s going to make a huge difference in our business. Alright, now if you want to put that into deployment, really put that into production. Here’s, here’s what you are going to consume from the space, from a power and all that. So we want to compliment that, work with that and then bring it to life together.

Scott Kinka:

Frank, can you take a minute on, and definitely we’ve covered this on other episodes, but I want to make sure that people don’t have to go back to them. Can you just take a minute, let’s be nerdy for a second. On the physical space portion of what it is that you do. You guys are going to be the digital infrastructure for where these applications live. Others are providing the applications, but how is ai, and you mentioned the partnerships with Nvidia, and I’m just sharing that so that you know where I’m going with this. What’s changing in your core data center and infrastructure business as it relates to being able to support these applications?

Brian Thomas:

It is enabling the consumption of power. So I have to probably put a financial frame of reference.

Scott Kinka:

Go for it.

Brian Thomas:

So, historically, a cabinet inside of one of our IBXs is a data center and it’s a stack of gear and it’s consumed maybe 5K VA. So kilowatts a unit of measurement power unit with the high performance computing stacks that are now available. If you deploy them into a cabinet, it could be up to anywhere near 30, 40 KVA, so exponentially greater than what was consumed by your standard run of the mill application. So that changes the way that we are. We are deploying the consumption of power within our own data centers. So it’s remodeling that bit to enable this significant amount, the physical, very concentrated pooling, All that has to change. And then you have the sustainability piece of it. So that’s part of our conversation with customers as well is, okay, so from a sustainability footprint, your carbon footprint, whatever you’re committing to the street as far as your sustainability efforts and the reduction of your emissions, et cetera, our discussions about how we are 98% renewable energy now globally and going to be a hundred percent by 2030, that’s our commitment. So because we’re using all renewables, we can say, Hey, we’re not only taking over this footprint for you and providing the power that it’s going to require and the cooling, et cetera to make sure that it’s going to function properly, but then we’re going to have our sustainability efforts are going to allow you to maybe reach your commitments despite the fact that you are deploying this significant power hog of an application. So that’s kind of the messaging we have and we’re reworking the data centers in order to handle those types of footprints.

Scott Kinka:

Yeah, super interesting. I’m going to clarify something that you said just for the listeners, and I want to come back to the sustainability thing for a minute and to be clear, people are like, well, why ai? It’s an app and why is it consuming so much power if you just think about it logically, I won’t go technically because there’s GPUs versus CPUs, and that’s the Nvidia thing. Let’s just stay off that for a minute, just logically for the end user to think about when you’re engaging with an application, most times it’s working when you’re asking it to do something, right? So I use it and then I’m not using it and I use it and I’m not using it. And oftentimes that’s just sort of a bi-directional instant space moment where processors are being used and therefore power is being used and fans are cooling, et cetera. In an AI model, the strength in being able to get a large language model that knows something is that it’s not, it’s working constantly on your data to make connections between it. So even if we weren’t addressing it with different hardware, which we’re doing now because we need the processors to be more efficient and things of that nature, but the reality of it just on a regular old server trying to run these algorithms, the machine would be working all of the time instead of when you’re asking it to do something. I mean, that’s just the base level of measure why this is different. Fair, right, Ryan? Just a simple explanation.

Brian Thomas:

Absolutely

Scott Kinka:

Yeah. The second thing I wanted to just pack in on is I wanted to get back to the sustainability thing because you talked about, I was going to ask you this question and then you said global, which somewhat indicated where we were going on this. Are you finding that the sustainability and more importantly the specific carbon footprint question is really still a nice to have in the US where obviously it’s in some areas of the world, Europe in particular, it’s really regulatory nature, still a nice to have in the us? Being honest about our gas guzzling US culture, let’s just is what it’s right,

Brian Thomas:

Yeah. You’re still drinking the dinosaur, filling up your gas and your tank every day. Yeah, it’s nice to have. If it fits into the context of the deal, if, oh, we get sustainability efforts as well, that aligns also. So we could check a box there, but it’s rare that in the business criteria that everybody’s being put up against sustainability is top of that. It’s a, oh, I have to do this sustainably as much as possible as well. So I think in the order of things that are recessed, maybe that’s number five, it might move up to four or three in the next couple years, but is it ever going to be one, this is on average, some companies, maybe

Scott Kinka:

It becomes one if the government gets involved, but if it is, it’s going to become two or three when buyers in the US care more about it than they do today. And then from your perspective, it’s like if it’s good marketing, great, but I’m not going to necessarily use it. I’m not going to spend twice as much. You know what I mean? It’s kind of the model in Europe. Just a question, because we do have listeners, CIOs, CEOs or a lot of the listeners of this podcast who have European operations and they do have to deal with this for real. Are you kind of engaging in that carbon credit economy over there as you’re doing these deals? You guys are sort of doing the hard work and helping them sort of work through that a little bit?

Brian Thomas:

Yeah, we have some folks who can really dig in with them, and we do provide some reporting that gives them true benchmarks and documentation on the consumption and those sorts of things. It’s kind of difficult to provide specific consumption within a very large data center of a specific cabinet and the corresponding renewable energy and how that, so it’s a very difficult analysis to put together, but we help them understand the impact of sustainability on their particular space as much as possible.

Scott Kinka:

Yeah. Yeah. Complicated and expensive, but easy when it’s in your building, you put it in yours, they have their consumption, but you have your generation and you have your cool, and those are like germane stats you’ve got to add to, which makes some sense. And

Brian Thomas:

And That’s specifically just one last point, specifically difficult when it’s a virtual footprint because that’s a shared resource

Scott Kinka:

And you might be eating it more today than you were yesterday and somebody else is eating some of it. So yeah, completely get it. Just understanding that and being able to be willing to engage in that conversation is the feather in your cap in my mind, right? Because it’s coming here, it’s just going to be slower, you know what I mean? Like you said, we’re the big hairy gas guzzlers from a government perspective.

Brian Thomas:

We have a real commitment to sustainability, the whole ESG policies and such. We’re very much aligned.

 

From COVID to Cosmos: AI, Cloud, and the Future

Scott Kinka:

Well, we just drew a straight line from covid to offices collapsing to AI to cloud repatriation to iot through big data and into edge enablement. So we covered a lot of territory in a really short period of time. Is there anything else that’s hot on your mind right now that maybe we missed in that conversation that you want to make sure that the listeners get out? What’s keeping Brian up at night or what you’re thinking about from a messaging and marketing perspective as you think about how to talk about these concepts?

Brian Thomas:

Yeah, I think all these disruptions, all these disruptors that are out there today, we would at Equinix say, you need to have a platform partner that you work with on these things. So that’s been our messaging for a couple of years, but we’re doubling down on that. If you think about traditional co-location providers who have a decent footprint, some light cloud interconnection, we’ll say those architectures were built for yesterday’s problems. We’ll say. They weren’t built to handle the disruptors of today, so they just weren’t built to do it. So it’s like trying to stream Netflix on an old VCR, it just wasn’t meant to do it. So you need to have the ecosystem density, the flexibility of physical or virtual and that ecosystem, the scalability and the nimbleness to interconnect when on demand as required quick interconnection, self-service models. You got to have all that as a platform to handle today’s disruptors because that just requires it.So we’re having our discussion with customers is more about their strategies being you need a partner today tactically, but they have to have a partner that also aligns strategically for tomorrow because customers are spending all this money to deploy footprints and such. And then in a year they’re saying, wow, they can’t do A, B, and C. And then it becomes a migration and a rip out and a move and time and energy resources have to be spent to redo that. So you have to make decisions for today. And also what a view on what your outcomes are 12, 24, 36 months out. And clients that we work with, sometimes they don’t have that view, and we try to have that strategic discussion with, so that’s why that’s a takeaway that I try to always instill in clients.

Scott Kinka:

It just can’t be a real estate conversation anymore. It’s not. I mean especially, and here’s an extreme example, but when somebody says, well, what do you really mean by that? I’m always like, well, listen, most data center facilities were built in old manufacturing in the nineties, right? Big old concrete behemoth built. You just can’t cool them the way today’s applications are needed to, if that’s the majority of your footprint. The whole way we do this has changed. And to your point, once you move the core of your business somewhere else, all of that interconnection and the way you think about it and the way you move workloads and who else is there and all that kind of stuff becomes imminently important. The way we’re investing in our networks has completely changed. It used to be all about the network and now it’s really about where your data is. And then the network is a subsequent conversation in a lot of ways.

Brian Thomas:

I had a conversation with a client last week in fact, and I won’t use her name. So we walked around the data center, took ’em on a data center tour, and we came back into the executive briefing room and I said, okay, so you saw the blinking lights and the conduit and the mesh around the cage. That’s fantastic. You’re going to see that with every one that you talk to. Okay, but let’s all talk, let’s, let’s raise this discussion up a level. What are you trying to do over the next five years? And we had that dialogue for them for the next hour and a half, and then they were like, wow, we didn’t talk about our footprint at all. I’m like, all right, well let’s talk about that. Let’s get that now. And at the end of the meeting, they said, we didn’t have this conversation with the other six people we spoke To And now we’re moving forward with them because they saw the value in the platform, the value in the strategy, and aligned to what they’re going to do in the future as well as today. So that’s an important part.

Scott Kinka:

Yeah, begin with the end in mind, Brian, or as we said in college, explorers are never lost ultimately. Alright, so we went as I expected by the way, in our pre-call longer than I expected to go with this conversation. So we’re going to have a fun conversation, but we’re going to do it rapid fire style. So we’ll keep these quick. I have three questions for you. We’ll start light and then we’ll have fun. First one, there’s probably something on your end table that you’re reading, what is it? And would you recommend it to our listeners?

Brian Thomas:

A couple books. I read everything through my Kindle, so the Gift of Influence, which is a business book I’m reading, which is about how to interact with people, both business and personal. So it’s a good business read of just how to impactful relationships. And then I read a ton of books. I’m always reading a book, so right now I’m reading Matthew Fitzsimmons, which is a book on cloning. It’s fiction and it’s super interesting. He’s a great writer. I read them a lot.

Scott Kinka:

Got it, got it. Are you reading any books where they’re, the AI is basically eating humans to power itself basically. None of that?

Brian Thomas:

Skynet taking over? None of that

Scott Kinka:

Going over now. The whole time we were talking about not having enough power for ai, the Matrix just keeps coming to mind. I’m like eventually they’re going to realize we’re a great power store, but we’ll get there.

Brian Thomas:

I can’t read that kind of stuff. It would just change my view of what I do today.

Scott Kinka:

Those who know me, I am all about dystopian future movies and books. You can give me those all day long.

Brian Thomas:

I do like those as well.

Scott Kinka:

Alright, so speaking of dystopian futures, what a great segue. I wasn’t even prepared for it. Let’s assume that a dystopian future comes and there’s only one app working on your mobile phone at that point, what’s the one app you get to choose?

Brian Thomas:

Sure. Well, like zombies, apocalypse, dystopia, and the future.

Scott Kinka:

You can choose your end of the world, but what app?

Brian Thomas:

Yeah, I don’t want to have to leave the house, so I’m going to go to Instacart, bring me my food so I don’t have to go out and leave my house and deal with the zombies and stuff.

Scott Kinka:

Somebody let somebody else risk their brain to get me to like it. That’s right,

Brian Thomas:

Instacart.

Scott Kinka:

Right? And that doesn’t make you selfish at all. He’s a good man. It’s good. A man’s gotta eat. Alright.

Brian Thomas:

Isn’t the dystopian future all about selfishness? I mean come on. It totally is. Survive.

Scott Kinka:

You’re right. You got that, man. I love it. Alright, last one. Here we go. I just need, and this kind of hearkens back to our business conversation, to give me a shameless prediction of something in the next 12 to 18 months. It can be tech, but it could be politics, sports, music, whatever you want.

Brian Thomas:

I’m going to go off, I’m going to nerd out on this a little bit. So my son, I noted my son’s getting his PhD, so bear with me. I need one minute. Yeah, go. My son’s getting his PhD, but I didn’t tell you what it was. He’s getting his PhD in astrobiology and planetary studies. Okay. So the James Webb Space telescope went up about, oh no, a year and a half ago I guess, and that is going out farther and getting data from farther out in the universe than we’ve ever had before. So it’s studying, the first data is going to come back from a cluster called TRAPPIST one. It’s a seven planet cluster and we’re going to get data back from that probably in about a year, maybe two years. And my prediction is that that data is going to massively change our view of the universe and our place in it because it’s going to come back with some really cool data. By the way, the trap is one that cluster is, has already been the term by scientists to have similar characteristics to Earth.

Scott Kinka:

Yeah, there’s multiple planets in the Goldilock zone in that territory. I’m a little bit of a geek on that in my Apple newsfeed. I follow James we, so I get all the stories every week. Totally. I think the thing about that is the most exciting. And then for nerds like us also in the same sense, the most disheartening thought about all of this is that we will ultimately discover that there’s probably almost, if you follow Hawking’s math on it, it’s almost statistically impossible.

Brian Thomas:

Impossible

Scott Kinka:

That there’s not another US just based on the number of options and the number of things that had to go right for us to become a carbon based lifeform on a planet like this, but this carbon based lifeform physically impossible for us to ever see them or get to them in our lifetime come other way at traveling, right?

Brian Thomas:

Yeah. It’s Independence Day. They’re going to come to us. So Universe outstanding

Scott Kinka:

The way faster than our sciences to be able to get there. Yeah,

Brian Thomas:

They’re going to find something. They’re going to find something. I don’t know what it is, but it’s going to be something that changes just a massive shift in how we View the world when that data comes back.

Scott Kinka:

We’re getting you back on the podcast and we’re just going to geek out on that time.

Brian Thomas:

I’ll bring my son, he’s the Gees 25, this is what he does for his living.

Scott Kinka:

We’ll do that. I’m sure my business partners are going to be like, why are we running episodes of the bridge talking about the telescope? I’m a geek and I want to know, Hey Brian, this was as fun as I expected it to be after our pre-call, so I really appreciate the time of always meeting somebody from the hood, which is awesome also. So pleasure there and we’re really looking forward to perhaps seeing you again on the show. If somebody wants to find out a little bit more about Equinix or maybe follow you on the stuff that you’re working on, what should they do?

Brian Thomas:

Sure. www.equinix.com. E-Q-U-I-N-I-X.com. Reach out to me, email BRIthomas@equinix.com and follow me on LinkedIn, reach out to me, connect. So thank you so much for having me today. This was a lot of fun, Scott, and I appreciate obviously Bridge Point’s partnership with Quins and continued success for you and the firm here.

Scott Kinka:

We are heading into the new year, so I’ll toast to that. Thanks for being on The Bridge today, and thank all of you for listening. We really do appreciate your time and we hope to catch you soon on another episode of The Bridge.

 

 

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