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Dallas Data Center Market: A Talk With Flexential CEO Chris Downie

By Rhett Gill · 4/27/2021

Check out our video above with Chris Downie of Flexential to get his take on the Dallas data center market. If you’re short on time, however, you can check out our summary of the conversation below.

How the Pandemic Has Impacted the Dallas Data Center Market

In the midst of the current pandemic, people across all industries have had to adapt to a new version of “normal”. The data center industry is no exception to this rule. The data center industry has, in many ways, been fortunate because it has been built to be resilient, both physically and in the processes that enable the environments to weather a pandemic.

A main concern during this time, according to Downie, has been how to ensure that Flexential is advancing their strategic agenda. Flexential, a four-year-old company, has focused itself on pressing forward. “We’re four years old in our journey and we have a lot to do to improve upon our value proposition and our strategic position market. That involves everything from our people to our facility and being able to get through difficult times as we’ve all experienced in the last year.”

Why Dallas Continues to Be An Attractive Market

One of Flexential’s biggest markets is the Dallas data center market. Flexential has experienced continual growth in Dallas and their customers find this market attractive for their IT infrastructure. As Downie acknowledges, Dallas has been a destination market for enterprises for a decade or more and he feels fortunate to have participated in that. Still, there were questions as to whether or not Dallas was oversupplied and if this would lead to price compression.

That being said, it seems that the Dallas supply is always consumed and Downie believes that we’re currently seeing a continuation of this fact. “I think there’s clearly been a change in product profile in Dallas in terms of what’s being built and some folks in the industry are solving for the very large-scale, multi-megawatt deployments and that just drives a price that, in comparison to history, would be considered compressed. But there’s still a significant amount of enterprise”. Specifically, Downie believes that the large retail and medium retail that’s going on in the Dallas data center market has remained consistently strong.

Downie also acknowledges that another reason that Dallas is such an attractive market is that it has inexpensive land and power, along with the fact that the city offers tax benefits that are business-friendly. These factors have driven large-scale enterprise into the market in recent years. Further, from a network density perspective, Dallas is well-situated. Downie states that it is all of these various factors that continue to make him optimistic about continuing to operate in the Dallas data center market.

What Types of Companies Favor the Dallas Data Center Market?

While Dallas is an attractive market in various ways, there tend to be a few types of companies that favor the current market found there. For example, technology companies, insurance companies, and financial companies fit the enterprise user base that data center companies like Flexential have the ability to attract. Downie remarks on the fact that companies within these industries are those that have been both early and long-tenured consumers of what companies like his deliver.

How Has the Coronavirus Pandemic Impacted the Additional Services That Dallas Companies Require?

From Downie’s perspective, Flexential has been very focused on the additional services required by his clients in the wake of the pandemic, especially moving into 2021. “As we went through 2020, we saw more consumption of a hybrid product set by the single buyer in the enterprise,” Downie says. “As the consumption of cloud has increased, it’s become a real cost center within the enterprise and that’s definitely raised the attention that that needs to be aligned. I think that’s basically led to there being a single buyer within the enterprise, but it hasn’t necessarily done anything to the need for those virtualized resources.”

As Downie sees it, virtualized resources are becoming increasingly needed in the Dallas data center market in particular. As Flexential looks at its hybrid capability set being able to deliver upon this demand, such as data protection as a service, that gives the single buyer the ability to come to one place as opposed to having to procure from several different providers. “I think that as we march into the New Year, our hybrid focus and hybrid agenda [is something we view as] becoming increasingly more relevant to consumption sets.”

Flexential’s Potential Growth in the Dallas Data Center Market in 2021

As Flexential comes out of a difficult year in 2020, Downie remarks on the fact that, just as is the case in any year, his company will come out stronger in its ability to deliver a high-quality value proposition to their customers. For this reason, he expects 2021 to be an exciting year for the Dallas data center market. “A lot of the things that we were able to accomplish in 2020 position us well.”

In the second quarter of 2021, Flexential will be opening up its largest data center ever in Hillsborough. This speaks to Flexential’s focus on continuing to drive the scale of its platform and its relevance for national-use cases. Further, Flexential’s Dallas expansion is an exciting prospect for much the same reason. “We’re very focused in 2021 on continuing to drive the evolution of the customer experience,” Downie says. He also says that it is a primary focus of Flexential to evolve its portal, something that is a differentiator for their existing customers.

Finally, Downie says that they want to make sure that they’re focusing on building automation into the network platforms and remarks on the power of the FlexAnywhere Network in its ability to connect all of Flexential’s facilities together, making consumption easier than ever. It is exciting to watch Flexential’s growth and it seems that there are exciting things in the works for 2021!

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