One-On-One with Chris Downie, Chief Executive Officer and Board Member, Flexential

InterGlobix Magazine’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Jasmine Bedi, recently sat down with Flexential Chief Executive Officer and Board Member, Chris Downie, and discussed the company’s renewed focus on interconnection ecosystem development and its future strategy around campus connection, subsea cables, terrestrial fiber, and Internet Exchanges.

Since joining the company in 2016, Downie has been responsible for leading the strategic priorities of the business to drive profitability and growth with his deep expertise in the economics, delivery, and operations of the data center and Hybrid IT solutions. Before Flexential, Downie was CEO at Telx Holdings, a leading interconnection and data center solutions provider. Having previously worked for Bear Stearns, Daniels & Associates, BroadStreet Communications, and Motient Corporation (now TerreStar), he has over 30 years of executive leadership experience in finance and operations.

When we last spoke as part of the cover story for Issue 9, you gave us insight into the geographic expansion of Flexential and the importance of partnerships in broadening your services and reach. Can you catch us up on how things are going with your patented connectivity solutions (like Cloud Fabric and the FlexAnywhere™ platform) and your key partnerships, like Angola Cables?

Over the last year, we’ve put a lot of energy into enhancing the scale of our FlexAnywhere™ platform. We have a large-scale data center platform today and several new data center developments in flight, including our latest 110MW expansion plans across Atlanta and Hillsboro. But the critical part of our data center value proposition is interconnection, enabling our customers to federate anywhere and everywhere. At the end of 2021, we launched Cloud Fabric, which created a robust, on-demand connectivity platform that allows customers to quickly provision and deploy private cloud connectivity to leading public cloud service providers. By 2022, we had elevated the scale of that platform further by adding direct access to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure across the US. As we move into the remainder of this year and beyond, we will continue to scale with other cloud options. This scaling of the FlexAnywhere platform in terms of our data center footprint and enhanced interconnection solutions enables us to continually improve our customer offering.

Subsea cables have also been a longstanding and vital part of our federation strategy, and that’s where Angola Cables comes in. In 2022, we announced our partnership with Angola Cables, providing access to the MONET cable system in Fort Lauderdale and linking our national platform with South America and Africa. This complements our existing subsea connections in the Pacific Northwest, where we are home to the hosting platform for the New Cross Pacific (NCP) cable and the Hawaiki system, which serve as our link to the Asia Pacific region. We see subsea cables as having an essential role in extending the global value of our platform.

Atlanta-Douglasville, Data Center

We’re also building additional data center capacity in proximity to these new subsea connections with a 36MW project we announced at our Atlanta-Douglasville campus. This new facility will complement the 22.5MW development we announced in Q4 last year at the heart of a highly connected market home to major healthcare, IT, and information security players. In parallel, we’re also building out significant capabilities on the West Coast with two new facilities under development in our Hillsboro, Oregon footprint that will add 54MW of capacity with direct access to these major subsea cables linking the US to Asia.

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