Peer 1 unveils flagship data centre in Toronto

Vancouver-based infrastructure services provider Peer 1 is launching its flagship data centre in Toronto later this spring and will be the first of the company’s global facilities to offer co-location, managed hosting and dedicated hosting.


Fabio Banducci, president and CEO of Peer 1, said the new facility, just 30 minutes outside of downtown Toronto, will be Peer 1’s most energy-efficient and green data centre. “We’re excited to be able to bring all of our core hosting services … under the same roof for the very first time and to be able to bring our core hosting solutions into Canada for the very first time.”


Peer 1 already maintains two data centres in Vancouver, one in Montreal, and two in Toronto, none of which offer all three services.


Still under construction, the US$40 million flagship data centre is 41,000 square feet and designed for scalability with room for potentially four PODs (Performance Optimized Data Centres) to be built out as customer demand grows, said Ryan Murphey, Peer 1’s vice-president of data centre operations & facilities.


The phased approach to building out the PODs will allow for greater efficiency the closer the facility is to capacity, said Murphey. “So if you build out in smaller pieces, you can reach that peak efficiency when your data centre is only a quarter of the way full.”


Having each POD operate independently will also allow for redundancy, he said. Each POD will be outfit with “cool roof technology” to deflect a greater amount of ultraviolet rays, high-efficiency chillers, and ambient air 50 to 60 per cent of the year, said Murphey.


Besides PODs, 4,000 square feet is allocated to office space, and 4,000 square feet to support infrastructure like networks and loading and receiving docks.


Banducci said Peer 1 originally offered co-location and network services but then through several acquisitions began offering managed hosting and dedicated hosting services.


Peer’s 1 focus is small-to-medium sized businesses where, Banducci said, the needs are dynamic and evolving. Customer YouTube, for instance, grew from using dedicated services on two servers to managed services and networking to co-location with Peer 1, he said.


“For that reason, we’ve positioned Peer 1 strategically to be a full solutions provider catering to their needs and requirements,” said Banducci.


The complexity for these businesses to maintain Web apps continues to increase as well as is the difficulty to their scale infrastructure, said Banducci.


According to Darin Stahl, lead analyst with London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group Ltd., infrastructure services vendors are not really actively marketing co-location anymore, instead focusing on the managed hosting where the margins are now higher.


Stahl said the move to managed and dedicated hosting services also reflects changes among customers who may have started with co-location services but have since become comfortable with the idea of not owning infrastructure equipment at all. “So there’s a continuum that has to take place,” said Stahl.


Besides Peer 1, other infrastructure service providers operating in Canada include Fusepoint, Q9, Bell Business Solutions, Rogers, and Telus.


Stahl pointed out that while these vendors may say they target different markets, the reality is that in Canada the line is easily blurred between small-to-medium sized business and enterprise. A medium-sized business based in Canada, for instance, could toil in a global market and run large enterprise resource planning systems out of multiple locations, he said.


The new flagship data centre is Peer 1’s template for future facilities whether its 10,000 or 100,000 square foot, said Murphey.

Follow Kathleen Lau onTwitter: @KathleenLau

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