August 3, 2015

Sentinel Discusses Carrier Neutral Model, No Cross Connect Fees & More at Telecom Exchange NYC


Sentinel Data Centers recently attended the Telecom “anti-trade” Exchange in New York City. Held at the Cipriani Wall Street, this premier industry event was well attended with over 400 attendees onsite. During this time, TMC’s Global Editorial Director, Erik Linask, interviewed Sentinel Data Center’s Nelson Frye, Sr. Director of Business Development.

To kick off the interview, Linask asked Frye to provide a little background on Sentinel’s history. “Sentinel was founded in 2001, by the current co-presidents and co-founders Todd Aaron and Josh Rabina,” said Frye. “[The company] was founded at the aftermath of the telecom bust and tech bust of 2000 – 2001 where [the co-founders] secured a data center assets and developed a business plan to cater to very large enterprises looking to outsource their data centers.”

The Three Pillars of Sentinel Data Centers

When asked how Sentinel differentiates itself from other multi-tenant facilities, Frye explained, “It’s a crowded market for sure. There’s a lot of activity and interest in the space and I think that’s born out of the trend of the enterprises wanting to get out of owning and operating their data center. It’s very expensive, very time consuming, as well as difficult to find the right resources to manage a data center that’s up 100% of the time.”

Frye went on to discuss how Sentinel sets itself apart in three major ways. The first in its focus on large footprint needs from the global 200 and fortune 500 companies. Second, by designing a footprint that matches an enterprises’ requirements so they can effectively transition their pre-existing data center(s) to a multi-tenant facility. The third differentiator, as noted by Frye, is Sentinel’s flexibility to meet each tenant’s unique needs.

“Every single one of our customers has a different sized deployment…different space, different square footage, different power, distribution model and what we do is take every customer one at a time and ensure we get the details right and on-board them properly.”

The Impact of Carrier Neutrality & No Cross Connect Fees

Sentinel offers a strictly carrier neutral approach within its multi-tenant spaces. “It’s absolutely imperative to have a consistent model with [the telecom community], so that when they come into our facility they know exactly what their cost structure is, how they can operate and serve our clients. So when a tenant enters into our facility they have their own data center and they connect back to pop rooms, where all the carriers are located…and we stay out of the way at that point.”

Frye continued, “So it’s for a carrier to deal directly with our customer, we don’t mark that up. We don’t have an interconnection model where we charge for all of the cross connects that sit in the middle of those parties. By staying out of the way we really allow [our tenants] to control the cost in the environment, also the timing and the execution.”

When asked about how no cross connect fees benefit Sentinel Data Centers, Frye simply stated “Happy Tenants. Most of our tenants are long term customers. On average our contract length with them is 7 to 8 years, close to 10 with many of them. We’re in it for the long haul.”

Frye added, “We know [our tenants] are going to have a lot of changes over that 10 year period. It’s on us to drive efficiency at the data center and the cost over time. And we can’t do that by adding margin on top of margin for those types of services. So stay out of [the tenants] way, let them run it efficiently.”

Data Center Consolidation Trends & Identity

Diving into the market trends, Linask asked Frye to share how consolidation trends are making an impact on the data center community as well as Sentinel Data Centers.

“I think [consolidation] causes confusion in the market place for some the prospective buyers as far as what business are you in? Are you a data center provider? Are you a cloud provider? Are you a network provider? Are you some combination thereof? At Sentinel we clearly define our place in the data center side…We don’t even confuse it by offering cages or cabinets or very small footprints for clients, it’s all big space, private suites, that are dedicated to those clients. From that standpoint I think it’s allowed us to separate from the pack.”


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