INSIGHTS FROM EVOQUE’S NEW SALES ENGINEERING LEAD LAEL HESTER.
Evoque is evolving the world of hybrid cloud, and one of the foundations of this strategy is hiring the best and brightest. This week I had the opportunity to sit down with our new VP Sales Engineering, Lael Hester.
Welcome to Evoque Lael. Your mission critical data center experience is very impressive. Can you share a bit about where your career has taken you?
I have diverse experience in technical sales and engineering, direct sales and channel alliance partnerships in both the data center and telecommunications industries. My passion is technology and I have an appreciation for the positive impact technology makes in our lives. In my eyes, the data center is both a secure fortress for digital innovation and a living ecosystem where diverse technologies and ideas can be realized and integrated. For example, clients and data center operators alike are experiencing the need for greater interconnectivity. Electrical and facilities engineers devote tremendous time and resources to ensure a data center, or data center campus is operational and offers the connectivity to support the diversity of user types.
The team of experts that build our data centers have the extraordinary task of delivering physical infrastructure resiliency, electrical power, cooling and interconnectivity. Evoque data center resiliency, as a result, is second to none. We have never experienced client-facing downtime at any Evoque data center.
What makes you excited about Evoque?
We have a unique opportunity. The data center infrastructure is iron and concrete clad (literally) and available in strategic markets across the country. The combination of our Foghorn cloud consulting expertise and Multi-Generational Infrastructure (MGI) value proposition with SpendAgility ensures that our clients can remain nimble in a rapidly evolving technical climate. Workloads can migrate between our data centers and the public cloud with minimal complexity, risk or contractual spend liability.
We have attracted the best talent from the data center, telecommunications, and finance industries to work with our highly experienced Executive Leadership team. Together, with the backing of Brookfield Infrastructure Partners and Brookfield Energy Partners, we have developed a long-term vision for sustainable growth based in large part, on Evoque’s ability to offer renewable energy behind the meter in traditionally energy challenged locations. This makes an Evoque data center the environmentally friendly choice while also insulating our clients from the power availability issues facing the industry.
Lastly, I have had the pleasure of touring most of our data centers. They are all purpose-built, enterprise-class facilities with industry leading uptime track records. The tenure of our data center operations staff is also impressive. Many of the operators have been dedicated to the facilities since their inception and they remain passionate about uptime, providing an excellent customer experience, and delivering operational excellence. These folks are our frontline and showed incredible determination during the pandemic. They remain committed to providing a world-class experience to clients.
What are your key goals for the Sale Engineering team?
Our Sales Engineers are technologists with diverse backgrounds and experience. A key goal is to exemplify technical thought leadership across different disciplines such as mechanical engineering, interconnectivity, high performance compute and storage infrastructure and hybrid cloud.
In the last decade, what are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the types of business problems clients are facing that require a data center solution?
A number of different industry trends and challenges come to mind: Edge computing and IoT (everything has an IP address these days), the increased power consumption and associated cooling requirements of HPC workloads such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, the complexity, cost overruns, security concerns and uptime inconsistency of the public cloud and lastly, how to effectively manage hybrid cloud deployments. The shift to work-from-home as the business normal and the closing of office buildings during the pandemic also requires a transition of large-scale IT infrastructure environments. Businesses need to focus on their core mission and value, not on running a data center.
How do you encourage innovation amongst solution designers (SEs)?
I encourage innovation among our solution designers by motivating them to pursue their passions and career goals. I tell them: Be curious, learn, lead, take calculated risks and be bold in ideas and solution design. Read industry publications, earn industry certifications, and collaborate with peers across the industry via technology and business associations.
In your experience designing infrastructure solutions, what are the biggest drivers of long-term value for clients?
Solution designers paying close attention to detail is by far the biggest instrument driving long-term value to clients. This means that the sales engineers on my team actively listen to understand the business attributes and technical challenges of each client, understanding that the client experience is paramount to the value we provide. Their top priorities are: flawlessly executing solution design, communicating clearly and operating with impeccable professionalism.
What do you see as the biggest challenges for data centers in the coming 5 years?
The biggest challenge to data center operators coming up in the next five years will surely be keeping up with the pace of hyperscale cloud computing growth, power and land availability, all the while integrating sustainable energy into all campuses. It is imperative that we identify pathways of sustainable growth that keep up with the trajectory of clients’ digital infrastructure needs.
- Cooling technology to support increasing power density of HPC workloads
- Deploying liquid chips in a sustainable manner
- Finding the right combination of skills and talent in the range of data center personnel who possess the unique blend of infrastructure, IT and electrical engineering experience and training that allow them to hit the ground running.
We also need business friendly legislation to facilitate the growth of the industry in the form of expedient permit approvals and design reviews, tax incentives like in Northern Virginia and local modernization initiatives to encourage technology adoption and technical training.
Great stuff. Thanks for the time and insights Lael!
Thank you Laura. I’m excited to meet more of our amazing customer base and help design solutions for the next generation of Evoque’s data center customers.