The Silicon Review
“We are the best in breed when it comes to providing the customer secure housing for their hybrid IT infrastructure.”
Big Data Exchange (BDx) is a leading pan-Asian data center and hybrid computing solutions provider with sites throughout Hong Kong, mainland China, and Singapore. Its unique hybrid cloud, connectivity, and colocation solutions offer unparalleled security and reliability for the IT infrastructure of its global clientele. As a carrier-neutral provider, the company creates a secure hybrid ecosystem with BDx Single Pane, BDx SoftConnect, and BDx Armour, providing colocation and cloud connectivity solutions across Asia. By using BDx automated modules, BDx is able to provide customers with a level of customization that rivals competitors in efficiency and cost, offering them the ability to manage physical racks with the same ease as working in public clouds.
To highlight and further understand what BDx Data Centers stands for and seeks to explore in this segment, I sat down with Braham Singh, who serves as the company’s Chief Executive Officer.
Below is an excerpt.
Q. As a company, how do you break the ‘sucking sound of the core’? And what strategies are in place to encourage innovation in your company?
At this stage in our lifecycle, if we had to work at “encouraging” innovation, we’d might as well close shop. We foster innovation through careful hiring to ensure we have a bus full of drivers and no passengers. Once drivers align their vectors as they have at BDx, innovations are a natural fallout. So, I guess our strategy comes to play at time of hire: on-board only the self-motivated and the driven, those with a desire—not just for money—but to achieve. Get a busload of such people, then get out of their way and watch innovation happen.
Once again, at this point in our lifecycle, it typically makes sense to stick to the core. You don’t want a start-up chasing every shiny object. Our core competency here at BDx is to buy and turn around existing data center assets — make them more efficient, reduce their PUEs, bring in automation, and affect economies of scale by patching each acquisition into the BDx central command and control platform. This then is our claim to fame. This is what’s at our core. We have resisted getting distracted, but insistent customers have forced us to cave and spread out into designing and building new facilities. We have reluctantly then broken away from the core, and contrary to all my dystopian prophecies, it appears to be paying off.
Q. Forming and managing innovation teams is overwhelming. That said, how do you keep your decision-makers focused?
As long as we hire drivers, we don’t have to do much to keep them focused. It is all in the hiring process. Drivers align themselves and create a company culture. We just have to keep out their way. The trick is in hiring right. We also understand that the more challenging problems are best solved not by sticking to a single point of view but by striving for a more elegant solution that integrates the diverse perspectives being brought in via the hiring process; we make sure team members understand this and don’t think of decision-making as contentious, win-lose activities.
Q. How uniquely do you address your clients’ pain points, given that BDx’s unique hybrid cloud, connectivity, and colocation solutions offer unparalleled security?
We just want to be great at one thing rather than try to be good at many. As such, we are the best in breed when it comes to providing the customer secure housing for their hybrid IT infrastructure. That’s because that’s our only mission in life. Everything else is collateral.
Q. What can you tell us about BDx SoftConnect, BDx Armour, and BDx Single Pane?
BDx Softconnect and BDx Armour are integral to secure housing for the customer’s infrastructure. Softconnect allows the customer to cross-connect his IT infrastructure to other entities, carriers, and public clouds from the BDx Single pane. BDx Armour, as the name suggests, is that essential protective layer over the customer’s servers as well as the connectivity into public clouds. In today’s world, it takes a lot to ensure the customer’s IT infra is safe. BDx Armour is a continuously evolving product in a race against the cyber-villains of the day.
BDx Single Pane is the customer’s portal to monitor and manage his hybrid infrastructure and the vital signs in and around the data center where the physical infra is housed. Based on a remarkable platform named 360View (let me make a plug here and say you should check it out), the customer can monitor and manage his IT assets from anywhere and any device — computer, laptop, iPad, smartphone. The concept of the NOC with technicians sitting staring at monitors is now, so the 20th Century. Whether it is our central monitoring center (cCubed) needing an overview of the whole BDx cluster, or our facility managers at a particular data center requiring a look into their facility, or be it a customer wanting to check out his racks, 360View allows each of them to do it from wherever they are. By they way, any co-lo user in any data center, not just BDx, can download the 360View App and use it to monitor and manage their racks and power usage. For free, if all you want to monitor are temperature and humidity.
Q. What are your focus areas?
Over the next two years, our only focus is to simply keep getting better at housing customer’s IT assets across a larger geography. We are doing this by buying and building facilities across China, Hong Kong, South East Asia, East Asia, and India, infusing technology into these facilities, patching them together and to other data centers and public clouds, making our cluster an irresistible proposition for a customer who needs to be in this geography and has to connect this infrastructure to connectivity partners, enterprises, and public clouds.
Q. You must be decisive and persistent to succeed in this competitive industry. That said, how do you plan to combat your competition?
These are boom times for the data center sector. The pandemic has only accelerated an already extant move to online activities. This has many of our competitors more interested in valuations and IPOs and benefiting from the boom than focusing on business. Not all the competition. There are others smart enough to keep their eye on the ball. But enough of us are enamored by the boom to give others like BDx an opening to grab actual market share in the enterprise sector by simply providing the best service out there.
Q. How do you plan to transform your company into a future that is unfolding before you?
By hiring drivers and letting them loose to build a formidable state-of-the-art data center business in the swathe between India and Australia. The fact that they have made BDx a recognizable brand in barely a year suggests we may have something here.
A Relentlessly Reliable Leader
With more than 30 years of experience in the telecom & data center industry, Braham Singh was instrumental in setting up the pan-Asian BDx data center cluster. Braham’s knowledge of data centers and cloud services across global markets has helped make BDx one of Asia’s fastest growing data center brands.
Prior to joining BDx, Braham served as COO of HGC’s IDC operations, and worked with iSquared and HGC to develop BDx. He came to HGC from Reliance/GCx where he headed their Global Product Management & Data Center business. Earlier, he was COO at BTN Access (later PCCW Global) and was also the CEO of Red Snapper, a Malaysian government funded initiative to promote the growth of wireless broadband in the country.
Braham is the author of Bombay Swastika, a best selling novel now being considered for a limited video series.