U.S. company targets Canada

The recent opening of a small co-location facility in Washinton State near the Canadian border has raised questions as to whether there is a hidden market of Canadian companies actively seeking to house their servers in America.

“The reason why we can bring the Canadian customers to (us) is, by bringing them into the United States, they’re that much closer in terms of connectivity, and fewer ‘hops’ if you will to their U.S. customer base,” explained Kelly Lockhart, the marketing manager for FiberCloud, a provider of high speed scalable bandwidth and secure environments for enterprises’ mission critical data operations.

The new U.S. company recently opened its first Class A datacenter facility in Bellingham, Wash., about 30 miles from the border and an hour south of Vancouver.

Lockhart told Network World Canada her company expects about half of the customers who fill up FiberCloud’s 5,000 sq. ft. facility to be from Canada. She has already had talks with “several” Vancouver-based companies looking to house servers in Seattle but which are now intrigued by the idea of a “co-lo” closer to home.

All of FiberCloud’s customers have chosen to remain anonymous but Lockhart described their operations as ranging from ISPs and ASPs to streaming media providers and enterprises just communicating between offices.

It is the latter group that analyst Eamon Hoey, of Fox-Hoey Consulting, believes will be the primary tenant of the small “co-lo.” He said he is skeptical of Lockhart’s assertion that Canadian customers will flock to Bellingham for improved connectivity to the Internet backbone.

“If you’re sitting in Vancouver, and you’re connected to the Canadian network, you’re there,” he said. “It’s not like we’re living in the 18 th century here.

“The advantage of co-location is not the real estate advantage,” he explained. “The real advantage comes in determining if the co-lo you’re with can provide one hop service (to the Internet), and most of the small co-los can’t do that.

“What you want to do is provide your customers with one hop service to the big portals to reduce the effects of latency.”

Currently, Lockhart said FiberCloud’s facility is equipped with OC-3 level connectivity, about the equivalent of 100 T-1 lines, and employs dual Cisco switches and routers, cross-connected and redundant in configuration for failover.

She added the facility utilizes multiple levels of security, including Web-enabled closed circuit cameras, retinal scanner (“fingerprint for the eye”) identification, and fully locked cabinets that are seismically braced to the floor and ceiling.

“If you’ve got a server that you just want to protect from a security perspective, that’s one thing,” Hoey responded. (But) “I’m perplexed as to why somebody couldn’t find one square foot of space in a telco hotel (in the city). I’m not sure you want to go all the way to Bellingham, Wash.”

The answer is they may not. FiberCloud’s future plans are to expand to locations in other sites in the Western U.S. Lockhart said the roll out will be to primarily second tier cities considered underserviced in terms of co-location, a possible indication that Bellingham’s customers may come from within and not from either of the giants, Vancouver and Seattle, that surround the small city.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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