Driving growth: KevlinX appoints Eric Boonstra as CEO

With an excitement towards building a new business, Boonstra shares with Data Centre Magazine the ideas he’ll bring to his new role as CEO at KevlinX

KevlinX, the European data centre operator, has named Eric Boonstra its new CEO. Boonstra comes to KevlinX from Iron Mountain, where he held a leadership position overseeing the business for five years and became a part of in 2018.

In an interview with Data Centre Magazine, Boonstra tells us about his career history to date before going on to address some of the challenges that the data centre industry is facing today. He explains how modern technologies, such as AI and machine learning (ML) are being incorporated into business practices and what he is most looking forward to in his new role. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your career history and how you’ve gotten to where you are today?

“I’ve been in the data centre business for about 15 years now. I started as CEO of EvoSwitch which we developed over 10 years and turned into a strong and profitable business. To realise our ambition to expand in Europe, we sold our company to Iron Mountain in May 2018 where I ran the EMEA business for 5 years and was a part of the global leadership team. Before starting in the data centre business, I worked for companies such as Siemens, and ABN Amro, and I was also a partner in a consultancy firm. Before all of this though, I studied Law at the University of Utrecht.”

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the data centre industry and how is your company addressing these challenges?

“Well, the biggest challenges are not on the demand side. There is so much demand in Europe and the rest of the world for data centre capacity that we could sell more than we are able to and AI is increasing the demand even more. No, the challenges are on the supply side. 

“For example, scarcity in the main data centre regions on land and power, stricter regulations on building and operating data centres (harder to get permits etc), supply chain delays for key equipment, the war for talent, and on top of that there is a negative attitude towards data centres in some countries from the authorities and public. 

“So we need to be more vocal as an industry outside our bubble about the value we add to the digital economy. We need to demonstrate how we all use data centres in our daily lives and how sustainable the data centre industry is today. We have already made tremendous efforts and it helps a lot that we are united by associations like the EUDCA, DDA, and BDIA.”

How are you incorporating emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and edge computing into your data centre operations?

“So this is first of all a question for our customers who are heavily involved in AI and edge computing from a product/service perspective. For cloud providers, hosting providers, content delivery networks (CDNs), and cyber security providers etc, this is part of their services and products. We adapt to it because it is impacting the needs of our customers. 

"In response to the increasing demand for both capacity and density, we have adjusted our designs to exactly meet our customer’s needs and to be flexible in case these needs further change. We are ready to serve all kinds of customers with our flexible design!”

What are you most excited about in your new role?

“I’m most excited about building a new business and creating value with this very talented team in a changing data centre industry. I am extremely excited to work with this great team of experts, and our investors Macquarie and PMV, which provide such a strong basis for building out a platform across Europe.”

Do you have any key milestones that you’re aiming to achieve as CEO?

“Definitely. We have a clear strategy to build out a sustainable, multi-region platform of data centres in the emerging European regions. Our first delivery will be a 32MW data centre in Brussels (BRU01), with capacity coming to market by October 2025. 

“We also have various projects in development in other European regions and I am excited about converting these into live projects in the coming years. We will serve our customers with our flexible design which can do low and high densities that will fit AI and cloud needs, and we will be extremely focused on high-quality service. That’s my commitment.”

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