In the spring of 2010, QTS Realty Trust (NYSE: QTS) purchased the former Qimonda semiconductor plant located on a 220-acre campus in the White Oak Technology Park in eastern Henrico County. QTS renovated and modernized the site into a 1.5 million-square-foot mega data center encompassing a 110-megawatt substation offering robust power, fiber, water, and physical infrastructure. The facility has grown and evolved to feature diverse and abundant connectivity for hybrid colocation and hyperscale data center solutions, including carrier-neutral cloud interconnection, in-building access to 17 on-net carriers, multiple fiber routes, third-party-neutral internet peering exchanges, and direct access to the world’s largest cloud platforms.
Henrico EDA recently sat down with Kevin Snead, Site Director of QTS Richmond, to give us some insight on who they are and what they expect for 2019.
Q. When you walk into the QTS facility, you are welcomed by American patriotic art and décor. What is the significance of this?
A. QTS is extremely passionate about both our country and our community. It starts at the top, with QTS CEO Chad Williams and his effusive pride in our country and the men and women who protect it. It is also reflected visually in QTS data centers by what we refer to as the “Freedom Wall” in the lobby and decorative patriotic images throughout the data centers.
Williams is fond of the expression, “To whom much is given, much is required.” He believes that QTS is blessed with talents, wealth, and knowledge, and it is expected that we use these well to benefit others.
Q. The 3Q 2018 earnings results showed strong performance and year-to-year growth. What is fueling this growth?
A. The demand for infrastructure to support compute and storage deployments continues to grow, and a fair amount of that growth results in increased demand for data center services. QTS has a unique value proposition in our space. We have an industry-leading NPS (Net Promoter Score) by more than a factor of two against industry average. That’s a long way of saying our customers love the support we provide. Also, QTS deployed our Software Delivery Platform (SDP) 18 months ago to all of our customers. This platform builds off of a DCIM base, and we’ve added many other API’d data sources to deliver unmatched visibility and control.
Our customers routinely give us feedback that this is the only toolset of its kind across the data center provider landscape. Specifically, in Richmond, QTS adds the Mid Atlantic Network Access Point (NAP) of Virginia to the mix, as well. The NAP is a historic confluence of sub-sea fiber, terrestrial fiber, internet, and SDN interconnection and peering. Of course, our facilities are incredibly well designed, but when you add the NPS and SDP components, we have one-of-a-kind value.
Q. In October 2018, Telxius, an international infrastructure company, announced that it would have a major POP at QTS at WOTP. What does this mean for QTS and for users of the internet?
A. The recent deployment of Telxius, in QTS’ Richmond mega data center, establishes QTS as the closest Tier 3-designed data center to the MAREA and BRUSA next-generation subsea cables – significantly closer than other data centers and network exchange points in Ashburn, Virginia. This now provides customers with the lowest latency connectivity and highest on-net capacity for network traffic between the U.S. and Europe, and the highest capacity to South America without having to detour through Ashburn. Industry giants such as Facebook and others are establishing a presence in Richmond to take advantage of this new opportunity.
Q. What makes QTS excited about 2019?
A. Henrico County has been attracting increasing interest as a connectivity hub, based on its strategic proximity to the Northern Virginia data center market to the north and the Virginia Beach Cable Landing (VBCL) to the south. The arrival of the MAREA and BRUSA subsea cables is a transformative event connecting European, Latin and South American markets to the region via the lowest latency and highest capacity ever deployed between the continents.
Due to this activity, the County dramatically cut its tax rate on data centers. The business property tax rate on computer and related equipment for data centers was slashed 87 percent – from $3.50 per $100 of assessed value to just 40 cents per $100.
QTS is fortunate to occupy a prominent position and has a responsibility to facilitate this historic confluence of domestic and international connectivity and lead the emergence of Henrico County and the Richmond region as a truly global business destination.
Q. This is very exciting news, and we are thrilled to be the epicenter of the Mid-Atlantic NAP of Virginia. QTS is a hidden gem in the Varina magisterial district of Henrico County. How do you engage with the community?
A. QTS recognizes that a healthy community provides a healthy environment in which to conduct business. As a team-oriented organization whose core values include integrity, character and trust, we place special emphasis on support of family, faith and community volunteerism. We are committed to helping charitable organizations meet the specialized needs of our communities.
The mission of the QTS Community Impact program is to enrich the lives of QTS employees and members of the communities in which we serve by providing dollars, technology, and manpower to benefit local programs and agencies that strive to enhance the care and improvement of human life. The focus is on better communities and changed lives.
QTS hosts the Richmond Boys and Girls Clubs with various educational and workforce development programs. QTS has collaborated on a community volunteer project with HOMES, Dominion, and Henrico County to help seven homeowners be safer and more comfortable and achieve lower energy bills. QTS volunteers regularly with Housing Families First to take on maintenance projects within their facility. In addition, QTS participates in Career Days with local Richmond middle schools, sponsors local Cub Scout packs, sponsors events for the local chapter of the National Kidney Foundation, supports the local chapter of the Ronald McDonald House, and donated supplies to a local elementary school that experienced a major fire.
Today, QTS is a leading provider of data center solutions across a diverse footprint spanning more than six million square feet of owned mega-scale data center space throughout North America. It operates 25 data centers encompassing 600+ megawatts of critical power deployed and access to 500+ networks, including connectivity on-ramps to the world’s largest hyperscale clouds. Through its software-defined data center platform, QTS is able to deliver secure, compliant infrastructure solutions, robust connectivity, and premium customer service to leading hyperscale technology companies, enterprises, and government entities.