AdaniConneX represents a significant milestone on India’s rapidly progressing digital journey. The 50:50 joint venture ups the pace of digital transformation by bringing together the resources behind EdgeConneX, a leading data center operator with 50 facilities in 30 markets and Adani Enterprises, the flagship company of the Adani Group, the Indian multinational conglomerate.
The new JV will build a network of hyperscale data centers across India. The aim will be construct 1GW of data center capacity over the next decade.
In our “Faces of the industry” segment, we bring you exclusive interviews with the CEOs of EdgeConneX and AdaniConneX, Randy Brouckman and Jeyakumar Janakaraj respectively. Brouckman and Janakaraj discuss with InterGlobix Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Jasmine Bedi, how they plan to leverage their complementing experiences and abilities to build the highest quality green data centers across India.
EdgeConneX CEO Randy Brouckman has more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunications, software and data center industries. Starting his career with Bellcore, Brouckman progressed through various management roles, and before leaving, was the Executive Director of Network Operations Systems. He went on to serve as CTO, COO and CEO at public and private enterprises, including: BSG Clearing Solutions, Telispark, Wireless World Solutions and Iridium (where he led a successful company reorganization). Brouckman also worked with Nextel to set up and lead Nextel Ventures. Prior to joining EdgeConneX, Brouckman was a Partner, as well as Entrepreneur in Residence, at TDF Ventures. Brouckman earned an MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and a BS in Computer Engineering from University of Michigan. He was awarded the EY Entrepreneur of The Year in 2014.
Late last year, EQT completed the acquisition of EdgeConneX. Looking ahead, what kind of plans are in the works regarding new markets and/or new product capabilities?
Our focus will include the hyperlocal and the hyperscale. We will sell to the same set of customers across that product continuum. I consider that we at EdgeConneX were behind the first wave of edge, which post-acquisition continues to be a vital product line for us and our customers. A number of our edge markets have become core markets and a number of our customers have said we need to go to smaller edges yet have bigger cores. So, from a product perspective, you won’t see a lot of change. Although, in regard to helping support markets, pacing and speed, that’s where EQT comes into play.
EQT made it abundantly clear that EdgeConneX was going to be their only data center platform. They had a global mandate for us. We were already operating in North America, Europe and South America; however, it was made clear that we needed to be in Asia-Pac and grow additional markets in regions where we were already built out.
When we were acquired, we basically traded out a private equity investor for an infrastructure investor—that’s pretty outstanding. That move brought in fresh capital, deeper pockets, and quite frankly, a more competitive cost of equity. It has allowed us to accelerate our plans for both organic and inorganic growth. The reason you’ll see the management team sitting in the same seats as the rest of the team, talking to customers just like everyone else, is because we’re all excited about the opportunities that lay ahead.
What synergies did you see with the Adani group?
To start, we’re aligned with Adani’s commitment to building success in India smartly, especially as the data center market grows at a CAGR of more than 23 percent there. With that in mind, we have jointly announced our goal to build a gigawatt in the next decade. We share a focus on ESG Principles (Environment, Social and Corporate Governance). That combined with our operational and design expertise created a pretty great synergetic partnership with Adani.
The true differentiator to having Adani on board is how they can support our relentless focus on renewable power and sustainable data centers. Adani’s ability to build and manage infrastructure is unparalleled in India. This gives us a competitive angle because we now can offer our customers in India, direct procurement of renewable power at scale.
Will the JV focus more on wholesale (hyperscale) or retail colocation?
AdaniConneX will offer the same EdgeConneX holistic suite of products, from hyperlocal to hyperscale. Our foray into scale/hyperscale market builds already are underway in Chennai, Mumbai, Noida and Hyderabad.
Keeping in mind that edge in India is enormous, as these builds progress there will be some interesting edge opportunities. What people might call a Tier 2 market would still be a market with a massive population in India, with a rapidly expanding GDP. So, you may see us enter with an edge product that will be positioned to over time expand to campus or scale product.
As for wholesale versus retail, EdgeConneX’s roots are in wholesale. Early on there will be a bias toward wholesale approaches to the market. Although some of the deal sizes may be retail in nature, you’ll see a heavy focus on wholesale opportunities bringing wholesale economics into and across the entire marketplace.