CanShield Solutions on CBC Kamloops Radio Show

November 5th 2020




CanShield Solutions on CBC Kamloops Radio Show,

George Emery, CanShield Solutions President and CEO, along with Mickael Maddison, VP Operations at CanShield Solutions, recently gave CBC News Anchor Doug Herbert, a tour of the Kamloops data center on Lorne Street.

CanShield Solutions · CANSHIELD SOLUTIONS ON CBC KAMLOOPS RADIO SHOW

Below is a transcript of that interview that was played on CBC Radio 1 on Tuesday, October 27th.

Shelley Joyce, Host:

A Kamloops tech business is about to expand after finding a new partner and investor. CanShield Solutions, a name you might not be that familiar with, but since the pandemic began, their services have been in high demand. Daybreaks, Doug Herbert got a tour of their data center, a mysterious looking building on Lorne Street. 

George Emery, CanShield Solutions President and CEO: 

My name is George Emery. I'm the CEO of CanShield Solutions. The amount of data that is being stored and managed globally is just growing exponentially. I mean, we're about 60 zettabytes today, which is going to double in about three years time. So, you need facilities to manage and host that data, and you need that closer to the consumer. Kamloops was a perfect example to test that business case. We picked up this purpose-built data center in late 2017. The facility boasts reinforced concrete cinder blocks and structurally sound infrastructure. We also have a huge amount of fiber that runs through this facility, which we'll show you shortly. And Kamloops is a strategically ideal place for data centers, including seismically stable, opposed to the lower mainland, which is not, as well as being highly connected. We have all the major trans Canadian fiber that runs through Kamloops as opposed to somewhere like Kelowna, where it's just an offshoot of that. And then the final piece being the environment and access to tech. Kamloops met all of those requirements. So, it was really a great move for us. 

Doug Herbert, News Anchor:

And why are data centers so sort of secretive looking, you're surrounded by a chain link fence and there's no windows and most people wouldn't even know you were here?

George Emery, CanShield Solutions President and CEO: 

I think it's a little bit of an offshoot from the past where data centers just wanted to keep that secrecy because they do hold a lot of personal information and data. But we're approaching it as a different business model where we want to be much more part of the community, much more part of the business growth and offer a collaborative design. So, you can't do that in the shadows, right? You need to be up front and open about what you’re doing.

Doug Herbert, News Anchor:

So, what's it been like for you guys since COVID-19 began and there's been such a demand for more online, hosting etcetera?

George Emery, CanShield Solutions President and CEO: 

Yeah. It's mixed results. We very much sympathize with the industries that have been suffering. We luckily have brought on some net new clients, which has been really great, but certainly projects that we've been involved in have been pushed or indefinitely delayed. But you're a hundred percent right that everything has gone online. The work from home movement has required huge amounts of data and having those platforms to access the information. And that's what these data centers ultimately try and provide. 

Doug Herbert, News Anchor:

All right, well, let's take a look. 

George Emery, CanShield Solutions President and CEO: 

Okay, perfect. So, first of all, we're going to the fiber room. And this is really the beating heart of a data center. So, what you'll see here is we have about 400 strands of fiber that accesses the facility through multiple ingress points and what this does is connect us and our clients to the outside world. 

There's enough fiber here to basically supply the whole of Kamloops with their full data consumption on a per second basis. So, it's really a great advantage for us to have this amount of fiber here. This ultimately connects us to the outside world and then we provision the fiber to our clients upstairs providing redundancy through multiple paths. So if one carrier fails like Telus then Shaw picks up where it left off. Currently we have Bell, Telus, Shaw offering services, while Zayo is about to enter the facility.

Doug Herbert, News Anchor:

So, the beating heart of my television watching and computer usage is right here?

George Emery, CanShield Solutions President and CEO: 

To some degree. It's all about throughput, bandwidth and capacity and that's what we have here in spades. 

Doug Herbert, News Anchor:

I see a sign here saying invisible laser radiation when open. I guess data centers aren't entirely safe?

George Emery, CanShield Solutions President and CEO: 

No, you don't want to be bringing your kids here on a weekend tour. There's a lot of moving parts, right. We have a huge amount of power, which we'll show you in a minute. 

Doug Herbert, News Anchor:

This is a relatively small room. I'm surprised that it's so small for what it does. 

George Emery, CanShield Solutions President and CEO: 

Well, fiber is about the width of a human hair, so you can compact that down pretty nicely if you need to.

Doug Herbert, News Anchor:

Everything is very managed here. I see your heat, humidity, to pretty much your sign in, to everything. 

George Emery, CanShield Solutions President and CEO: 

Exactly. We like to be more open about we do, but we have to be very secure with our client's data and the premise.

Doug Herbert, News Anchor:

How many clients do you have?

George Emery, CanShield Solutions President and CEO: 

Through CanShield directly we probably have about a dozen clients that use our facility today, but through our clients there's probably thousands of clients that use this facility for their data management. 

Doug Herbert, News Anchor:

How many people work in this building?

Mickael Maddison, VP Operations at CanShield Solutions:

Well, currently I think there's about 10 of us working in here on a regular basis. I'm Michael Maddison, I'm the VP of operations for CanShield and I'm the CEO of SilverServers.

Doug Herbert, News Anchor:

What is everyone in here tasked with? 

Mickael Maddison, VP Operations at CanShield Solutions:

We do inspections of different components to make sure that our air conditioning systems are keeping everything cool and working correctly. We'll spot check servers, make sure they're not making funny sounds, because they'll make beeps or other noises when components need to be replaced. That's a big part of what we do. And then other than that, we actually build software and manage all the different things that are required for this facility to operate.

George Emery, CanShield Solutions President and CEO: 

So now we're going to take you into the main data center floor. So, it's a little bit noisy and a little bit more chilly. It's a good thing you have that jacket on.

Doug Herbert, News Anchor:

Oh wow. This is like a jail for servers and what not.

George Emery, CanShield Solutions President and CEO: 

A jail for data. Exactly. So, the way that it works is that our customers and our own in-house servers are stored and managed in these cabinets. We then run power, we run connectivity, and we keep them cool and environmentally sound 24/7. And so, we keep it in a perfect environment to run these servers and services. 

Doug Herbert, News Anchor:

Now I notice a lot of empty space in here. Is that Because you may add other servers at some point or?

George Emery, CanShield Solutions President and CEO: 

Exactly. We started CanShield in late 2017 and I only came on board in January 2018. So we're two and a half years into this project. And the idea is to expand and grow and give ourselves the room to do that. We hope to have this facility filled out within the next three or four years and then move on to another facility elsewhere. 

Doug Herbert, News Anchor:

And what do you have over here? 

George Emery, CanShield Solutions President and CEO: 

This is one of our clients. They're actually a local organization and they've been doing some cryptocurrency mining in here and we've been lucky enough to host them here for a few years now. These units run all day and all night, mining Bitcoin and Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. 

Doug Herbert, News Anchor:

So how does that work for people that are not aware of mining cryptocurrency what's actually happening over here?

Mickael Maddison, VP Operations at CanShield Solutions:

 So basically these are high end video cards that have a lot of processing power, and they're basically just solving mathematical problems to create a unique code that can be assigned a value. They just sit there and they crunch numbers all day long until they find these codes that can't be broken. And that becomes a new coin.

Doug Herbert, News Anchor:

Do you think the general public is aware that this facility is necessary for them to be able to watch TV, do internet, do all of that stuff? 

George Emery, CanShield Solutions President and CEO: 

Probably not. We're not, as I mentioned, trying to hide behind reinforced concrete walls. In fact we're very happy to discuss it and be open about what we do. Normally, however, when I start discussing data centers at a cocktail party I get a blank expression and people move on fairly quickly. So yeah, it's not everybody's cup of tea. 

Shelley Joyce, Host:

I liked the way he said that, that was George Emery and Mickael Maddison with CanShield Solutions. Well, we thought it was interesting and they were showing Daybreak Doug Herbert, their data center on Lorne street.

Book a tour of CanShield Solutions