12 July 2020

The critical infrastructure building digital diversity

By Simon Cooper, Chief Operationing Officer

Analysts and investors often ask me why we build where we build. The short answer is that every strategic decision we make as a business is calculated to result in outstanding outcomes for our customers.

A longer explanation focuses on how we intimately research and understand the markets we operate in and make astute decisions about where demand is going to come from two, three or even five years into the future.

Building geo-diversity around cloud availability is an important component of our vision and purpose to design, engineer and operate the critical digital infrastructure that will support our customers’ needs to digitally transform their operations and thrive in the information economy.

Capital is a finite resource for all organisations. It needs to be managed carefully and with respect. Introducing innovative critical infrastructure when and where it is needed by our customers requires the application of considered, long term thinking in the way we plan for and execute our expansion projects. The decisions we make to prioritise where and when we build, and how we deploy capital are motivated by meeting demand and enabling the success of our customers.

Knowing where to build infrastructure that will accurately match the present and future digitisation demands of customers is a crucial area of value, which we believe is a core responsibility of ours in acting as a trusted advisor for our customers. These are the necessary crucial decisions we make, to take all logistical headaches and associated risk away from our customers, allowing them to stay focused on what it is that they do best.

Digital growth is here to stay

As business, Government and communities continue to generate extraordinary and ever-increasing amounts of data, the role of digital infrastructure that manages it becomes crucial to economic development.

Organisations continue to find cost, performance and productivity value through digital transformation, a journey that is vastly optimised when they get as close as possible to cloud Availability Zones (AZ).

It is important to note here that the AZs I am talking about here are a cluster of public and private cloud platforms, carriers, managed service providers and other as-a-Service suppliers that form a locally available and accessible interconnected ecosystem. I am not talking about how cloud platform providers describe the locations where they have deployed their own infrastructure.

Expanding Australia’s digital heartbeat

Many of our partners and customers have grown from their initial presence in Sydney’s north, and continued investment in this availability zone will support their ability to continue growing and innovating in an unconstrained manner. As demand for technology infrastructure here grows, so too does our commitment to bring new capacity and connectivity online as customers need it.

Expanding our footprint in alignment with future demand, enables our customers to experience frictionless growth. We facilitate the underlying capability to scale-up in a planned, flexible and agile manner by providing immediate access to capacity, clouds and local availability zones when it is needed.

The northern Sydney digital innovation cluster continues to flourish. It’s important we continue investing there so customers have access to the infrastructure they need to execute their long-term growth strategies.

Our first data centre in this zone, S1 Sydney is constantly busy with multiple service providers enhancing their services in parallel with our own capability enhancements, through Remote Hands, AXON and DCI.

S2 Sydney has been hosting live customers for 18 months while the complex construction continued to its recent completion. This $400 million facility is Sydney’s new digital hub, and will deliver the region’s first colocation facility designed, built and operated to meet UI Tier IV certification, a standard that is critical in demonstrating our long term commitment to the ever increasing resilience requirements of the digital organisations we support.

As I mentioned, this A-Z is planned to deliver unconstrained growth support to the hyperscale and enterprise scale customers. In order to achieve that we work well ahead to be ready to service their future needs – specifically with the land purchase and construction of S3, which is well underway as part of our Sydney north AZ and less than 10km from the Sydney CBD.

Pioneering in new territories

Melbourne’s demand for digital infrastructure has also grown rapidly in recent years in line with Victoria’s booming economy. As Victorian organisations accelerate their digital strategies and embrace cloud computing, it became clear to us that it was only a matter of time before the performance advantages of having substantial cloud infrastructure and connected ecosystems in-region would become a customer priority.

Our M1 facility was the first large scale digital trailblazer in what is now a thriving Port Melbourne-based AZ, but despite that many customers were still connecting to various public cloud’s that are located in Sydney. Early on in our Melbourne journey we made a calculated decision that there would be a requirement for a new availability zone in the city’s north, where commercial growth was taking off.

With that growth in mind, we expanded our Melbourne presence with the delivery of M2, a new 40MW, Tier IV fault tolerant facility that would enable our customers to seamlessly grow their critical infrastructure in region, without having to re-invent their Hybrid Cloud (and Multi-Cloud) architectures.

As predicted, unconstrained growth was enabled by M2 and hyperscale customers are rapidly deploying and expanding their infrastructure to accommodate the explosive growth of digitisation. This has acted as an accelerant for our staged expansion plans at M2, and further validated our decision to build there.

By further expanding our thriving Melbourne ecosystem, NEXTDC will deliver unprecedented flexibility for customers and the solutions they require now and in the future.

Being prepared for the next wave of growth

Since opening in early 2014, P1 has been supporting the growth of the WA digital economy, including Government and enterprise customers who are able to interconnect seamlessly to our full national ecosystem of cloud services and carriers.

With demand growing in this region, we commenced the construction of P2 to support our customers’ need to expand their digital infrastructure via our locally available ecosystem community. P2 is strategically located to enable immediate access to the critical sub-sea cable investments made in region which will further stimulate development of the type of flexible, agile and resilient global connectivity that will drive customer growth.

This important new piece of infrastructure will provide customers world-class, Tier IV infrastructure in Perth’s CBD. P2 is something WA has never seen and will be a game changer for local, interstate and international customers who want to grow their presence in the region. It will drastically improve application performance for WA organisations, save them money on long-haul connectivity and encourage them to trade, partner and compete globally without having to leave home.

Open in July 2020, P2 means our customers will have two diverse facilities in region, supporting their risk, business continuity and resilience objectives and accelerating their digitisation priorities.

Our focus is partnering with our customers to ensure their business is underpinned by secure resilient infrastructure and fast flexible connectivity, enabling them to bring their data, applications, and customers closer. If this is something we can help you with, reach out to our team.