CentriLogic opens new Mississauga data centre

Toronto-based provider of outsourced infrastructure services CentriLogic Inc. has built a new data centre in Ontario, adding to its existing two in the province, to respond to the mounting demand for data centre hosting services, an executive said.

The new 10,000-square-foot facility in Mississauga joins CentriLogic’s other facilities in Toronto, Kitchener, Ont., and Rochester, N.Y.

The expansion is in response to the increasing demand for outsourced data centre services in the face of limited supply, said Robert Offley, president of CentriLogic. “If you look at rack utilization in data centres, the supply is only growing at four per cent, but the demand is still growing at 18 per cent,” he said, adding that as space becomes scarce, the price of available space rises.

The choice of Mississauga as the new location made sense considering the requirements of businesses in the Toronto area that “need reliable, secure, high-performance infrastructure to support their increasingly complex environments,” said Offley.

The recession is causing businesses to expect more of their IT departments yet be less able to invest in them, Offley said, and outsourcing to a third-party data centre is becoming an increasingly viable option.

The growing Web, too, is driving the need for more data centre space, he said. “The Internet is here to stay. Applications are run on the Internet that are mission-critical, are 7/24 by 365. And Internet traffic continues to grow.”

The new Mississauga facility, is basically a “lock box” designed for redundancy for power, cooling, fire detection, and physical and data security, which all do translate into solving real business problems, said Offley. One of those is business continuity, he said, citing the blackout of August 2003, when “a lot of people lost revenue, brand, equity, reputation.” Compliance support is another, for PIPEDA, HIPPA, and application and data security in general.

The demand for data centre space is, in part, driven by the changing role of IT within the business, having morphed from tactical and operational to “increasingly complex with greater demands to make contributions to the success of the overall enterprise,” said John Graham, senior vice-president with Toronto-based professional services firm Ernst & Young LLP.

But while IT finds itself facing broader accountability while armed with fewer resources, “risks are expanding exponentially … driven by the growth of the Internet,” said Graham, referring to data security risks associated with the proliferation of mobile technologies, like laptops and smart phones, and the associated compliance requirements.

Citing research firm Gartner Inc.’s choice of virtualization and cloud computing as two of the strategic technologies for 2009 that are beneficial to businesses, Graham said while he agrees that costs savings are a clear advantage, any initiative “must be a comprehensive and well-thought-out plan to achieve a lot of these benefits.”

Specifically, he said, a business must scrutinize the returns and plans in terms of its alignment to the business and whether it has the right people to execute that plan.

Cloud computing or “a way of leveraging the benefits of virtualization” is a significant area in IT, said Graham, “and in our minds, will only grow.” The advantages, he added, are cost reduction and business flexibility, among others.

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