Mark Collins – Excool – Cloud Expo Europe 2020
DAVID TERRAR [00:00:12] Hi, I’m David terrar. reporting for Disruptive Live, we’re here at the London Tech Show within Cloud Expo Europe. And I’ve got Mark with me.
MARK COLLINS [00:00:22] Hi. Hi David.
DAVID TERRAR [00:00:22] I’m looking blank. I’ve forgotten your surname.
MARK COLLINS [00:00:25] My surname is Collins, Mark Collins.
DAVID TERRAR [00:00:28] And so what company are you from?
MARK COLLINS [00:00:30] I work for Excool, I’m director Excool, one of the original members of staff. Working there right from the very start.
DAVID TERRAR [00:00:38] Excool’s kind of cool name. Tell me, what Excool does.
MARK COLLINS [00:00:42] Well, yeah, we call datacentres so we’re a specialised manufacturer of datacenter cooling products. We came up with the idea to call data centres in a completely different way around 10 years ago. And basically what we’re doing is we’ve taken the indoor air, we’re passing it through a heat exchanger and we’re transferring the heat to the outdoor air and using a combination of evaporative cooling and mechanical cooling top up to remove the heat from the data centres. Very simple, effective, low cost way of cooling data sensors and very innovative. We would pioneers of that technology 10 years ago. And it’s now an established technology globally.
DAVID TERRAR [00:01:19] It’s interesting. That’s one of the interesting things about this show, because it covers such a wide range of topics. Right. From that, you know, that the hardware and devices are actually vital for data centres to the software and stuff that people are running on.
MARK COLLINS [00:01:32] I agree. It’s a lot of stuff in here that I walk around and try and understand and it’s beyond my comprehension. So, yeah, I understand what we do, but the rest of it’s very, very challenging.
DAVID TERRAR [00:01:41] How has it changed over the 10 years you’ve been doing this?
MARK COLLINS [00:01:44] So it’s it’s a 10 year anniversary this year and we have taken the product and and we continue to continually innovate in our DNA innovation. And we’ve we’ve take the profits that we have made and plough those back into R&D. And that keeps us a step ahead of competitors. And what that’s allowed us to do is is to focus very heavily on the technology and to and to optimise it for the for the market that we’re operating in, because there are various ways of doing it. But this is a very specific market and we’re constantly innovating. And we are now at a point where we’ve innovated further and we have a new unit which we’re now launching. It’s got smaller, it’s got lighter, it’s got lower cost. And the biggest challenge we’ve had over the last 10 years is the growth in the size of datacenter campuses. We’ve gone from having two megawatt campuses up to having fifty sixty up to 400 megawatt campuses. And when we’re using water, that’s quite a difficult thing to say to maintain the amount of water that’s required for the cooling. So what we’ve done is we’ve we’ve we’ve taken the idea a step further and come up with ways in which we can operate the unit running dry or without using any water at all.
DAVID TERRAR [00:03:01] Now, that’s interesting because I think maybe that way it might use more energy, but obviously that’s not the objective. So how does it worked?
MARK COLLINS [00:03:09] Yeah. So we’re using we’re using a little bit more energy when we’re running the dry. But if the water is available, then it makes a lot of sense to actually reuse that small amount of water to enhance the the the energy consumption, to optimise energy consumption. But the amount of what we’re using is probably a tenth of where we were at maybe five years ago. So it’s now we’re now giving the operators flexibility on the amount of water that they want to use or is available on that site so they can go from zero to to a figure, which is still about a third of where we were two years ago. And they have the choice now. They can dial up how much water they’ve got on site and use that to enhance the will to optimise the energy consumption.
DAVID TERRAR [00:03:52] And I guess part of your approach is kind of continuous improvement.
MARK COLLINS [00:03:56] Absolutely. That’s the only way to innovate and to continually develop the products. The only way we’re going to continually maintain our position as global leader and this sort of technology and still and still be welcomed in by our bank customers. Can you name any of the customers just to bring it to life? Well, I mean, some of our biggest customers, it’s in the public domain, so we can say who those are. CyrusOne, Digital Realty, Colt. Many, many others as well. Globally, some of the some of the big hyperscalers as well, which we’re not allowed to talk about. But yeah, with our product is cooling data. Data centres down globally now from South America right the way through to all over Europe. And we’re now just starting to enter the US as well. Haven’t started 10 years ago as a tiny operator in the West Midlands and this year in the West Midlands, just outside Bromsgrove. So we’ve we’ve gone from that tiny embryonic embryonic company to a major global player now. Absolutely. U.K. owned company, UK success. Yeah.
DAVID TERRAR [00:05:06] Anything grab you about the show today?
MARK COLLINS [00:05:09] Well, obviously. The big headline is, is how quiet it’s been for obvious reasons. Yesterday was was a different sort of show where I think it’s quite marked in that we didn’t have the constant footfall that we normally get, which is quite difficult to deal with at times. What we did have was some valuable conversations with people that we already knew, which which we could spend more time. We could spend more time with them. Maybe 30 minutes, 40 minutes, just having a casual conversation about work and what was coming up. So it was valuable from that perspective.
DAVID TERRAR [00:05:41] You can get deeper into we got deeper into it.
MARK COLLINS [00:05:43] Into the conversations indeed.
DAVID TERRAR [00:05:44] Mark it’s been great talking to you.
MARK COLLINS [00:05:47] And you. Thank you.
DAVID TERRAR [00:05:48] So this has been David Terrar for Disruptive Live. If you check hashtag CEE2020 and hashtag Disruptive Live, you’ll get more interviews and content like this one. Thanks very much.