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Canada targeted as data centre acquisition spree persists

North American nation has seen a flow of deals since Autumn 2020, a tendency that is not expected to subside as Toronto becomes continent’s 7th most active data centre hub.

By João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

4 Mins

June 23, 2021 | 3:14 PM BST

Canada is continuing to see a strong cash flow going into the acquisition of data centre facilities within its borders and major cities.

Some of the largest M&A activities include, for example, eStruxture Data Centers, which expanded its footprint in Toronto with the acquisition of eight facilities from Aptum Technologies last March.

Digital Colony Management – now known as Digital Bridge – helped finance that acquisition. The company originally bought the assets from Cogeco Communications, which it later rebranded to Aptum Technologies.

US-based investors and operators are no strangers to Canada’s hosting economy. Compass Datacenters LLC bought Montreal-based ROOT Data Center in 2019, for example. Or perhaps the biggest of them all, Equinix (NASDAQ : EQIX), who bought 13 data centers in Canada and their operations from BCE Inc. (formerly Bell Canada Enterprises Inc) (TSE: BCE), for US$780 million (CA$1,041 million), last October.

There are more examples of just how much activity is taking place in the Canadian market, and now Cologix, a network-neutral interconnection and hyperscale edge data centre company, has also announced its own bet in the country.

The company said that as a part of its continued investment strategy in Canada it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase an interconnection facility from Zayo Group Holdings in downtown Vancouver and plans to expand by another 50,000 sq ft and 10 MW of power with the TOR4 hyperscale data centre.

In addition, Cologix reported record growth in interconnection in Canada, 22% growth in 2020, due to accelerated customer demand to access clouds, software, networks and other key stakeholders at the edge.

Located at 175 West Cordova Street with more than 65,000 sq ft of space, Cologix plans to invest as soon as possible in the downtown site to create 4.2 MW of additional capacity. Zayo is committed to the Vancouver market and will remain a key customer at the site, providing network connectivity solutions for its and Cologix’s customers.

Cologix’s CEO Bill Fathers, said: “We continue to invest in deep connectivity and scale in Canada in response to accelerated demand for cloud deployments at the network edge.

“Today, Cologix hosts 75% of Canada’s direct cloud onramps at our data centres, including three in Vancouver with Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute and Amazon Web Services, and access to thousands of miles of dark fiber routes in the provinces of British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario.

“This site acquisition in the heart of downtown Vancouver, where data centre space is in short supply, fits into Cologix’s interconnection growth strategy by continuing to expand our Canadian footprint to support edge cloud traffic growth.”

In addition, Cologix has also announced plans to expand by another 50,000 sq ft and 10 MW of power with the TOR4 hyperscale data centre.

These two additions to Cologix’s platform are the next step to grow Cologix’s network-dense ecosystem, which provides 200+ Canadian-based networks and almost 600 networks across Cologix’s footprint.

Cologix has invested over CAD $500 million over three years to grow its Canadian platform, including building and expanding cloud gateways with directly adjacent or annex peering hubs and hyperscale edge facilities, enabling dark fibre connectivity, and developing 13 cloud onramps to access hyperscale cloud providers directly and privately – all built upon the most robust interconnection infrastructure in the country. The company’s in-country interconnection footprint includes 19 data centres

According to real estate firm CBRE, Toronto is now the 7th most active data centre market in North America in terms of MW under construction. At 24MW, the city is ahead of Chicago (16.2MW), Portland/Hillsboro (18MW), and even the New York Tri-State corridor (22.2MW).

CBRE counts today 96 facilities in Toronto, 53 in Montreal, 30 in Vancouver, 24 in Calgary and 11 in Edmonton, of a combined national footprint of 279 data centres.

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João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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