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Interview: CEO, John Keagy on GoGrid’s Global Cloud Expansion

March 1st, 2012 by - 4,721 views

GoGrid CEO, John Keagy, recently spent some time overseas visiting the new GoGrid European Headquarters and data center in Amsterdam. I caught up with John upon his return in order to find out his thoughts and visions of a global GoGrid cloud, how Equinix has enabled GoGrid’s expansion and why it is important to the GoGrid customer.

Michael Sheehan: Why is opening a new overseas data center important?
John Keagy: It’s part of our global expansion plan. Europe is a logical next step.

MS: Why Amsterdam and not somewhere else?
JK: My favorite reason on why we selected Amsterdam as the first part of our overseas expansion is AMS-IX. AMS-IX is an Internet exchange that has resulted in Amsterdam being the place for Internet transit. Bandwidth is affordable and comparable to Silicon Valley. It means that customers are in the spot where most Internet traffic originates and terminates. If you are going to locate a web server in one location in Europe, Amsterdam is the most connected city. It’s the best place to locate your Internet infrastructure. It’s got the most connections and because it has the most connections, it is the most affordable – the highest performance at the lowest cost.

MS: Why was having a European presence critical?
JK: We have a strong European customer base that has been demanding a localized presence and when we examined that marketplace, we determined that it was critical to enable those European customers to have a cloud infrastructure deployable in their backyard.

MS: What are your impressions of the data center facility having visited it?
JK: The data center facility is incredible. It’s a combination of GoGrid doing a nice job with its installation – the racking and stacking, cabling and design of the installation. But it is also Equinix’s implementation of its cold aisle technology. It’s like walking into a refrigerator. It’s sealed. It doesn’t have a cage door, it has a glass door. They pump cold air into the interior of the cage and it’s vented through the equipment. Where there is no equipment, the slots are filled with baffles so that the cold air is forced through the equipment. It’s sort of like a refrigerator within a cage. It’s not just us doing a good job, it’s Equinix pursing a better utility efficiency score through sophisticated cold aisle containment technology.

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MS: What’s your longer term strategy for global operations?
JK: Europe was just a first step in our global expansion plan. The next step will be Asia, although we have always enjoyed a large percentage of our customers coming from South America, so our next step after that will be South America.

MS: Personally, how is this exciting for you – 10 years in the making, we now have an overseas footprint?
JK: GoGrid has always had a customer base that served an international audience. Over 90% of our customers historically were outside of the state of California – considering the value we bring to Silicon Valley-based companies, that is quite remarkable. And we are on the order of 40% international. For me personally, it’s a milestone that I have been looking forward to for a long time and I’m excited that we finally have automation technology that is really facilitating what we are doing.

MS: Why is the Equinix partnership important?
JK: I’m very excited about the partnership with Equinix. They have an ecosystem for cloud services that is more compelling than their ecosystem for telecom services. The difference here is that businesses (consumers of cloud services) are learning that by connecting to Equinix, they can procure cloud infrastructure and other services securely and reliable in a high performance fashion that avoids the public Internet.

MS: How does that work with GoGrid’s Hosted Private Cloud?
JK: It’s about avoiding the two largest fears regarding the adoption of Cloud Computing: the public Internet and sharing. Customers are worried about consuming cloud services over the public Internet. There are over 3 million buildings connected to Equinix facilities in one way or another – this allows them to remove the public Internet from how they consume cloud services. GoGrid Hosted Private Cloud is a non-shared environment – it’s dedicated and private – which eliminates the 2nd big fear which is sharing – it provides security and performance benefits.

MS: For GoGrid customer, having a global footprint like this is important because…
JK: GoGrid is the only company that has a single pane of glass that lets you manage infrastructure across the globe in a truly on-demand fashion – through one pane of glass and one API.

Do you have any questions for John? If so, please leave a comment!

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Michael Sheehan

Michael Sheehan, formerly the Technology Evangelist for GoGrid, is a recognized technology, social media, and cloud computing pundit and blogger who writes regularly about technology news and trends.

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