Why Compass Data Centers is a new category on GreenM3

Chris Crosby and I have been keeping in touch over the last 6 months as he comes out of stealth mode.  We talked briefly on Tuesday, the company press release went live yesterday, but I was on the road all day yesterday with flights and meetings. Today, I was able to catch up and discuss Compass Data Centers.  We had an hour and talked about so many different things, I can't write about all the ideas in one post, and I know we are going to be talking a lot more.

So, let's just create a category for Compass Data Centers.


The official press release is here.

Compass Datacenters Enters Data Center Market Offering New Direction For The Industry

For Immediate Release

Founded by Former Digital Realty Senior Executive Chris Crosby, Innovative Data Center Provider Poised to Dramatically Expand the Scope of Industry

Dallas – April 18, 2012 – Compass Datacenters, a new data center provider formed by Chris Crosby, the industry visionary who helped build Digital Realty, today unveiled its business strategy which makes dedicated modular data centers a reality for the 98 percent of the market not served by current wholesale data center providers.

DatacenterKnowledge discusses Compass bringing the wholesale market to new markets.

Compass, a new company based in Dallas, is planning to bring turn-key data centers to second-tier markets where demand is growing, but hasn’t yet reached the scale of historic data center strongholds like Silicon Valley or northern Virginia. The company says it is optimizing its data center design to fit the demand profile of smaller markets, while deploying its development capital in an efficient manner.

DatacenterDynamics discusses Compass going after underserved market.

“The bulk of current investment in the U.S. is concentrated in only six markets with data center products that meet the needs of a very narrow set of customers,” Crosby, now CEO of Compass, said.

”That approach ignores 98 percent of the potential overall market, which means there is a huge untapped market for an innovative company that can pioneer a solution aimed at that large segment of underserved customers.”

But, some of the best reasons why I enjoy chatting with Chris is captured in Andrew Lane's post on Mission Critical.

AJL: Chris, given your professional success to date, what’s left on your bucket list?

CC: Professionally, I’m already enjoying the freedom of thinking clearly about building a brand again. I get to figure out my own personalized approach based upon all of my experiences and the input of incredibly bright friends and colleagues. It’s freeing and fun. It’s almost like a disease when you want to have everincreasing responsibilities.

Personally, things have been great with this last summer off. I’ve had time to reflect on the fact I’ve had one blessing after the next in this life. I’ve gotten to see a lot of more of my wife and two kids. I’ve been coaching my kids’ sports teams. I’ve had date nights with my wife. Generally, it has been a much better balance for me, which is what I focused on accomplishing near term.


AJL: Our very own “Data Center Genie” (picture Bill Mazzetti?) Arrives in a puff out of a generator and grants you three wishes for the data center industry. What do you wish?

CC: One, humility. We need to realize that our industry behaves like a child in its early teens. You know the times that you think you know everything but you really don’t? Don’t get me wrong; this is obviously a great industry to be in, but think about how many new ideas that have already been done in other industries are being re-created here. We tout all these “new technologies” like we created them and own them. Modularity. Airside economizers is free cold air. Hot- and cold-aisle separation has been done in fab space for years.

Two, recognition. This is an industry that is going to require a different breed of athlete with different skill sets, such as process engineering. We need to promote its growth and success early to professionals as a career in order to keep growing at the rate we can.

Three, transparency. We need to start opening up to customers and facilitating allegiances and alliances. We need to help educate each other.


AJL: What do you see going on that you like?

CC: Everything about the space. Lots of capital in love with the fact that it is a high-cash flow, asset-based business. It is becoming mainstream. There is a tremendous energy and vibrancy to it, and it’s great to be a part of it and know why it’s going on. There aren’t too many careers where you get to be a part of something that is completely new.

Here I am getting a chance to go around again. I had a whole summer off where I fielded a lot of phone calls and gained a lot of perspective. It was healthy for me. I got disassociated from the personalities of the business and now have a clear refreshed perspective on the business potential. The result of this will be Compass Data Centers, essentially bringing rapidly deployable, highly customizable wholesale solutions to emerging markets. One thing I have learned is that I’m much more valuable and much happier at the growth stage. I’m not so good nor do I want to be managing the $1B to $3B in revenues stage.

One of the things few people discuss are really big crazy ideas. It can be too hard for some people to think out of the box.  It is so easy to talk about big ideas with Chris is he has  a Computer Science degree.  I spent 26 years surrounded with computer science type of people at HP, Apple, and Microsoft.  Being a good engineer, it has been great being immersed in the data center industry.  But, some of the concepts are easier to discuss if you spend time developing code.

There will be many more posts coming on Compass Data Centers.  Chris has figured out many of the same things I have, and now that he is going to execute them, blog them, we can start discussing them.