The Data Center 2020 Bounce-Back

On this episode of the Not Your Father’s Data Center podcast, guests Buddy Rizer and Dave Liggett join host Raymond Hawkins to look ahead to 2020.

Rizer has been in the data center business since the beginning. Before he took the leap, Rizer took time to get to know the industry, then filled the data centers.

Rizer said that it was “such a new industry” that he was the only economic developer at trade shows. He also said that he was lucky to have investors and management “give him the budget and authority to get it done.”

On the topic of the industry’s inception, Rizer said that some entrepreneurs started in AOL and are still “driving the business which is exciting to us.” Dave Liggett said that it’s neat that Rizer has the perspective of where it started and where it’s going.

The conversation shifted toward the future and where the industry is headed in 2020. Being a capital intensive business, 2018 was a great year, but 2019 didn’t feel very good, and this had them worried a little.

The question came up: was it as bad as they thought? Liggett said that, in 2019, the industry players were “victims of their own success.” He said when investors see a great year, they ask, “How good can you do the next year?”

Fortunately, Liggett said he was “encouraged already for 2020 with the data we’re receiving.” The host said to keep some perspective, as “there aren’t many 53% increase industries.”

Rizer then talked about the benefits and jobs that his data centers bring locally, turning the thought that data centers don’t bring jobs on its head.

Rizer predicted that, for the next east coast data centers, there is “still room to grow in Loudoun County, Virginia,” where he is located, or Atlanta and communities in Georgia.

He said that partnerships with power companies are key, and a distributed model could provide opportunities across the country and world.

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