Tuesday Apr 16, 2024

Phillip Koblence, COO and Co-Founder, NYI; Co-Founder, Nomad Futurist

For this episode of the Data Center Frontier Show Podcast, DCF Editor in Chief Matt Vincent sits down for an instructive chat with Phillip Koblence, a strategic executive and ubiquitous thought leader in the data center and network space. 

Koblence co-founded NYI in 1996 and has successfully navigated through an ever-shifting infrastructure landscape, growing the company from a single data center in Lower Manhattan to a robust network with executional capabilities in key national and international markets. 

His leadership, focus on customer experience, and ability to cut through complexity and hype, has positioned NYI as an industry leader in high-touch infrastructure solutions. Koblence is also CEO of Critical Ventures, a consulting agency offering a range of services to help clients, owners and investors optimize the value of critical infrastructure assets.

Koblence sits on the DE-CIX North America Advisory Board as well as on the Board of OIX (formerly Open-IX). He is co-founder of the Nomad Futurist Foundation and podcast, designed to demystify the world of critical infrastructure and inspire younger generations to join the industry. 

The interview begins with a discussion of NYI's entry into 60 Hudson Street and the challenges of retrofitting legacy buildings for modern data center needs, while emphasizing the importance of connectivity and collaboration in the digital infrastructure industry, and highlighted the rapid pace of technological advancements such as AI.

Here's a timeline of the podcast's highlights:

2:03 - Koblence discusses NYI's entry into Manhattan's historic colocation and interconnection hub, 60 Hudson Street, emphasizing the importance of connectivity in New York City's digital infrastructure evolution.

6:20 - Koblence elaborates on the challenges and considerations when retrofitting legacy buildings like 60 Hudson for modern data center needs, highlighting the importance of creative solutions and understanding the nuances of different deployments.

11:38 - The discussion turns to an exploration of deploying data centers in skyscrapers, the evolving criticality of digital infrastructure, and the need for redundancy and a "data center mindset" in reckoning with society's reliance on connectivity.

20:02 - Remarks on the rapid pace of technological advancements, specifically the increasing densities of GPUs such as Nvidia's H100, H200, Grace Hopper, and Blackwell chips.

20:32 - More on the exponential increase in densities within the digital infrastructure community and predictions of a future "flattening out" of density growth.

23:59 - Koblence emphasizes the continued relevance of legacy facilities such as 2 megawatt (MW) or 5 MW data centers in modern deployments, particularly in major connectivity hubs. The concept of the edge is also discussed in the context of facilitating connectivity with AI sites.

26:59 - Koblence elaborates on the importance of collaboration and creating cohesive solutions across various data center facilities, while emphasizing the role of NYI as a solutions facilitator and discussing partnerships with Hudson IX and other providers.

31:22 -  Koblence elaborates on the mission of the Nomad Futurist foundation to demystify the world of digital infrastructure, highlighting the simplicity of the industry beneath the technical complexities, and emphasizing transparency and accessibility in making connectivity and digital infrastructure understandable and available.

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