Canada’s data centre market to grow ‘in a big way’: Cologix president • RENX

January 4, 2024
3 mins read
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Sean Maskell, president and general manager of Cologix Canada. (Courtesy Cologix)
Sean Maskell, president and general manager of Cologix Canada. (Courtesy Cologix)

Canada’s data centre market will keep “growing and accelerating in a big way,” according to Sean Maskell, president and general manager of Cologix Canada

Over the last five years, the Denver-based company has doubled its Canadian footprint from 11 to 22 data centres in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, with 1.057 million square feet of space and 94 megawatts of power. 

Cologix also has carrier- and cloud-neutral hyperscale in eight U.S. markets, but the company’s three-city Canadian portfolio represents about 50 per cent of its business, says Toronto-based Maskell.

While the Canadian data centre sector is small in comparison to the U.S. market, Maskell says there is potential for major growth. 

One of the reasons is a greater focus on connecting multiple data centres across the country with data that does not pass international borders.

Currently, data running from Toronto to the West Coast “dips down” into the U.S., before coming back into Vancouver, but there is a push from clients for added security.

“We’re seeing national network providers and international or global companies coming to Canada that are trusting us in their deployment and leveraging our ecosystem of networks to maintain that data sovereignty position.”

Canada well-positioned for growth

Data produced by AI and machine learning companies in the U.S. needs to be close to consumers who use it, Maskell says.

“That data will be pushed closer to the edge and live within a Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver data centre where the folks are (who) need to consume that information.” 

The high-density computing needs of AI and machine learning, as well as 5G networks and the continued trend of digital migration to the cloud, have created substantial demand for colocation and interconnection solutions across Canada, he says. 

Cologix recently completed its acquisition of two Cyxtera facilities in Vancouver and Montreal, and has expanded existing data centres in Montreal and Toronto.

Its newly acquired 11,000-square-foot VAN5 in the Harbour Centre at 555 West Hastings St. in Vancouver has 1.2 megawatts of power. The site was Cyxtera’s former YVR1 facility.

In Montreal, the 8,500-square-foot MTL12 at 3000 René Lévesque Blvd. in Nuns’ Island has 1.6 megawatts. Cyxtera operated the site as YUL1/MR1.

Cologix expands several Canadian data centres

new A rendering of the Cologix MTL8 data centre in Technoparc Montreal in the Saint-Laurent district of Greater Montreal. (Courtesy Cologix)
A rendering of the Cologix MTL8 data centre in Technoparc Montreal in the Saint-Laurent district of Greater Montreal. (Courtesy Cologix)

Also in Montreal, Cologix expanded capacity by 12,000 square feet and four megawatts at its MTL10 at 530 Bériault St. in Longueuil. The 250,000-plus-square-foot site now has 39 megawatts.

Cologix is also expanding capacity by 2,400 square feet and 400 kilowatts at its TOR1 facility at 151 Front St. in Toronto. The site, which is Canada’s largest carrier hotel with 27,400 square feet and 4,000 kilowatts, will come online in 2024.

As well, Cologix recently completed its TOR4 facility, a three-storey, 50,000-square-foot facility in Markham, just north of Toronto. One client is using 50 per cent of the 15-megawatt facility.

In addition, the new MTL8 in Technoparc Montreal in the Saint-Laurent borough in the city’s West Island will be a 205,000-square-foot LEED Gold-certified facility with 21 megawatts.

It will be “one of our most sustainably designed data centres to date,” Maskell says. MTL8 is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2024.

Cologix did not disclose costs for the expansions or acquisitions.

Maskell says Cologix has no current plans to expand beyond Canada’s three largest cities. “It’s not to say that we wouldn’t look at other Canadian markets; we always keep our eye on where the market needs to be.”

Maskell says a small expansion in Vancouver should be announced soon “and we continue to try to find efficiencies to expand our existing data centres (to) ensure they’re modernized and reliable as possible.”

Montreal a critical data centre hub

He notes sub-sea cables on the East Coast typically run through Cologix facilities as they head west.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to secure the first sub-sea cable that comes from Japan and lands in Vancouver and that resides within our VAN4 location (in Gastown),” he adds, “so that’s a really interesting piece of network news that will help expand the network growth on the West Coast.”

Montreal remains the city where Cologix has its largest presence and Maskell doesn’t see that situation changing.

“I don’t see a slowdown in Montreal,” he says. “We’ve got 200,000 square feet of white space coming available next year, so we continue to believe that Montreal will lead the way in data centre space.”

Quebec has done a very good job promoting green energy and low power costs, which has attracted significant international attention to the province. On top of that, “companies are looking for green in renewable energies and Montreal ticks those boxes in a big way.”

Maskell and Cologix in Canada

Maskell, who has been in the data centre field for about 23 years, became president of Cologix Canada when his company, Telehouse Canada, was acquired by Cologix in 2011. 

Cologix has a Canadian interconnection ecosystem of 350 networks, more than 200 cloud providers, 15 public cloud onramps and three internet exchanges.

Currently, 75 per cent of all cloud onramps in Canada are within a Cologix data centre, he says. 

“I don’t think there’s another company that can tout the carrier neutrality and hub presence that Cologix has across Canada.”

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