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Tag: colocation

SAS 70? ISO 27001? PCI? The Big Overview


By on September 8, 2010

It is very normal that companies require that their colocation or managed service providers are certified according to one or more standards, to make sure that they can expect that their data is in good hands. Some industries are even forced by law to require specific standards from the providers they choose, which is why compliance with these is important for enterprise orientated service providers.

There are a bunch of different standards though, commonly used for different purposes, so it can be quite a jungle if you are new to this. In this post we will be going over some of the most common standards and certifications you might come across in the data center industry. We will only touch some of the standards very briefly to give an overview, so if you would like to know more about them you will have to dig deeper on your own via the links included.

SAS 70

SAS 70 is a statement on auditing standards by AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) from 1993, where an independent auditor is to evaluate a service providers controls and generate a report based on the evaluation. SAS 70 is the most common standard you will encounter in the US, but unfortunately it is often misunderstood as being a general stamp of approval that provides a guarantee of everything being secure and all procedures being perfect.

However this is not guaranteed in any way by choosing a provider who is SAS 70 audited, as the SAS 70 audit does not necessarily touch all relevant topics (the provider chooses what they would like to have audited) or alternatively the report can contain remarks about certain procedures etc. that are not properly designed. Even though this would be the case the company would still be able to say that they are SAS 70 audited, which is why the fact that a company is SAS 70 audited in no way is a guarantee of anything. The only sense of security when it comes to SAS 70 is the actual content of the SAS 70 report, so there is no purpose of just requiring that a service provider is SAS 70 audited without reviewing the SAS 70 report thoroughly.

There are two types of SAS 70 auditor reports (SAS 70 I and SAS 70 II). Type 1 is limited to the auditors opinion on the service providers description of controls and their relevance compared to the service providers control objectives, where type II audits are extended to also include audit of how this actually works in operation during a period of time than just evaluating it on paper.

- Link to the full standard

ISO 27001

ISO 27001 is an ISMS (Information Security Management System) standard by ISO and IEC from 2005 (therefore also referred to as ISO 27001:2005), evolved from the British Standard BS7799, for managing information security. ISO 27001 is used in conjunction with other standards from the ISO 27000-family, such as the ISO 27002 that contains some guidelines to audit by.

Even though ISO 27001 is an international standard SAS 70 is often preferred with US service providers, but in Europe for example the standard is commonly used. The ISO standard is also used in the US though, as it has advantages such as being an International standard as well as being more specific with a formal set of requirements, which provides more sense of security that a provider has been audited on specific things (unlike the SAS 70 that as mentioned leaves it up to the provider to choose suitable things to audit on).

- Link to the full standard

PCI DSS

The PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) was created by the credit card companies (VISA, MasterCard etc.), to ensure that data is probably handled and secured when handling credit card data. Even though it is the merchant or PSP (payment service provider) that needs to be PCI certified for handling credit card transactions, the standard also has some requirements to the physical facilities that the data center they are located in needs to be compliant with. This includes access control, surveillance, procedures for visitors etc., to limit who has access to the equipment that handles and stores transaction related data.

- Link to the full standard

Tier Standard

The Tier Standard from Uptime Institute was developed specifically to data centers, evaluating them on various fixed benchmarking points and then placing them in a category from 1-4 that would reflect its operational sustainability (tier 4 being the best). In addition to the number, a tier certification also includes a rating as either Bronze, Silver and Gold depending on the characteristics of the company and facility certified.

The Tier standard is very well known within the industry and a lot of clients as well as providers use the terminology of the tier standard. Even though a lot of clients require for example a minimum of a tier 3 and a lot of providers claim to operate a tier 3, it is actually very few providers that choose to get certified according to this by the Uptime Institute.

- Link to the full standard

HIPAA

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) was enacted by the US Congress in 1996, to ensure protection of for example medical records for US consumers. HIPAA compliance is therefore required when storing and processing medical data in the US and lack of this can result in fines if you handle such data.

HIPAA covers various subjects that needs to be taken care of, under topics such as administrative safeguards, technical safeguards and physical safeguards, but without defining how they should be taken care of (for example requiring that an organization shall take implement policies and procedures to limit physical access and ensuring that only authorized access is allowed, but without requiring how large an effort should be put in to this).

- Link to the full standard

LEED System

The LEED system (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was designed by the US Green Building Council and introduced in 1998, and unlike the other standards above has nothing directly to do with operation or security. A LEED certification functions as a third party evaluation of how energy efficient a building is, which some data center developers choose to certify by due to the huge focus on efficiency and green data centers. When being certified, buildings are placed within one of four categories (Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum) depending on how many points they score in their evaluation – the higher the score, the more energy efficient the building is.

- Link to the full standard

Conclusion

Obviously there are a ton of other standards and regulations available out there, for example SSAE 16 that is a new upcoming standard that will function as a replacement of SAS 70 and ISAE 3402 that is a new international standard designed to streamline some of the various national standards under an international standard (such as the the American SSAE 16, German IDW PS 951, Canadian CICA 58970, British AAAF 01/06, Australian GS 007 etc.). SSAE 16 and ISAE 3402 are definately standards that we will be seing more of in the future, but for now the standards listed in this post are probably the ones that you will be most likely to meet in the data center industry.

To sum them up, you could say that the SAS 70 and ISO 27001 are the most “general” standards used. PCI compliance and HIPAA on the other hand are more industry specific standards, while the Tier Standard is focussed on data centers operational sustainability specifically and the LEED system on the energy efficiency of buildings. So it is not really possible to draw any real conclusion on the various standards, as they were designed for different purposes and therefore have different methods of achieving their goals.

As a result of this you will often see data centers promote themselves as being certified, audited or compliant according to more than one standard, as it varies from customer to customer what they will require – and then of course it always looks good if you meet a standard that your competitors does not.

Now I am no expert on this subject, so if you have any corrections or comments – feel free to put in your two cents.

September 8, 2010
4 Comments

Expanding footprint through partnerships


By on March 27, 2010

Not that long ago I did a blog post on the status of the carrier neutral colocation industry, and with some of the stuff that has been going on lately I thought it might be a good idea with a follow up. In the 2009 roundup from February, I noted that Telehouse seemed to use a different strategy than the other global carrier neutral providers, as they were expanding their footprint by cooperating with a local provider in South Africa and by doing a joint venture with two other companies in Vietnam. Furthermore I noted that Telx had entered a partnership with TATA Communications to resell space in their international data centers.

This week the leading provider, Equinix, surprisingly announced a similar initiative by entering the Chinese market through a partnership with the local provider Shanghai Data Solution. So what is up with all these strategic partnerships?

Interesting Tendency

I think it is interesting with this growing tendency of the big data center providers expanding their global footprint via partnerships, rather than establishing their own local data centers. In an industry where most of the big clients have strict requirements for certifications and standards to ensure that the facility design and management is good enough, and that the employees are trained properly, one could argue that clients care more about who they contract with than who designed and operates the facility that their servers are housed in as long as the certifications are in order.

That being the case, strategic partnerships seem like a great alternative to building in such a capital intensive industry as this one, and offers the providers a great way of expanding their footprint faster, testing new markets and slowly building up a name in the new markets. If the entrance to the market is successful, the providers can always build later on and if unsuccessful they have not risked investing millions in building huge facilities.

Obviously a lot of clients with global requirements would like to contract with as few large providers as possible, rather than having to work with a lot of local providers, which is a good argument for getting as wide a footprint as possible. On the other hand a lot of clients value the fact that their provider owns and operates the data center themselves though, and at the same time it is a large risk factor for a provider to rely on a local partners way to run their business, as actions by them can impact peoples impression of the provider. So there are a lot of pros and cons to this approach.

Asia – Growing Market

Another interesting factor in this is that even though there is no doubt that there are some very attractive and growing markets in Asia, then some of the countries are not as stable to do business in as the countries in the western world. A provider such as Equinix knows without any doubt that there is a huge business potential in China, but on the other hand we have all heard of companies like Google and GoDaddy exiting the Chinese market due to the strict involvement of the Chinese government in everything Internet related. Who would feel comfortable investing millions of dollars in building carrier neutral data centers, in a country that has proven to interfere in exchange of internet traffic with censorship as well as suddenly introduce very strict requirements for domain registrations in the manor that China has done? I would not.
In addition to the announcement of entering China, Equinix recently announced that they arranged to loan $170 million to expand its activities in the Asia Pacific region.

Staying on the topic of Asia, the Malaysian company CSF Grop PLC recently completed an IPO to raise $42 million for further expansions in the southeast Asia. CSF Group builds data centers for clients as well as operating several colocation facilities in Malaysia. The future expansion plans include Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. Read more about CSF Group and their IPO at Data Center Knowledge.  While there is a lot of focus on the situation with the big US and EU players and what counteractions we are going to see to the Equinix dominance on these markets, the growing markets in Asia may not be forgotten. This is definitely a region to keep an eye on.

Telx IPO

While we are talking abount IPO and expanding footprint, it is also worth taking a short dive in to the recent IPO filing from Telx. The GI Partners owned company hopes to raise $100 million, to grow their business through expansions and possibly acquisitions of other providers. Whether focus still is on the North American market or if Telx is considering acquisitions to enter the European and Asian markets is unknown, but it is an interesting thought. One can not help to connect the previouis speculations of Interxion approaching Switch & Data, to a combination of perhaps Telx and Interxion.

As Rob mentioned over at Telecom Ramblings, a publicly traded Telx might take over a gap left by the Equinix acquisition of Switch & Data. More information about the IPO can be found at Data Center Knowledge, including details about the number of interconnections of Telx, Equinix and Switch & Data.

March 27, 2010
1 Comment

State of the Colocation Industry


By on February 7, 2010

Not long ago President Obama gave the annual State of the Union speech, which made me decide to do a State of the Colocation Industry post looking back at 2009/January 2010 and how things look now. This overview will be limited to the big data center providers who focus on carrier neutral colocation, but pretty comprehensive in regards to these.

More specifically I have decided to limit this post to focus on Equinix, Interxion, Telehouse (owned by KDDI), CoreSite (formerly known as CRG West), Telx, TelecityGroup and Global Switch. Other major colocation providers exist as well, but as their focus isn’t primarily on carrier neutral colocation they are not included in this post.

News, Acquisitions & Expansions

To start with I have compiled an overview overview of the most relevant headlines regarding alliances, acquisitions, new facilities and expansions announced by the providers in 2009 and January 2010 (this part can be skipped):

  • Equinix
    • Expansion (second phase) of NY4 data center in Secaucus, New Jersey USA, opened in May 2009 ($82 million expansion for capacity of 1,100 extra cabinets) [link]
    • New ZH4 data center announced for Zurich, Switzerland, to open in Q2 2010 (1,200 sq. m./12,920 sq. f. for 500 cabinets) [link]
    • New CH4 data center announced for Chicago, USA, to open in Q1 2010 (600 cabinets) [link]
    • Expansion of CH2 data center in Chicago, USA, opened in July 2009 (200 cabinets) [link]
    • New FR4 data center acquired from Exodus Communications in Frankfurt, Germany, in July 2009 ($30 million purchase of 10,000 sq. m./107,000 sq. f. with capacity of 3,300 cabinets) [link]
    • Expansion (third phase) of NY4 data center in Secaucus, New Jersey USA, for mid-2010 ($100 million expansion for capacity of 1,250 extra cabinets) [link]
    • New SG2 data center opened in Singapore ($45 million initial phase with capacity for 700 cabinets) [link]
    • New LA4 data center opened in Los Angeles, California USA, in August 2009 ($95 million initial phase for 10,000 sq. f./900 sq. m. with capacity of 800 cabinets) [link]
    • New DC6 data center announced for Washington D.C., USA, to open at summer 2010 ($100 million project for 152,000 sq. f./14,000 sq. m. with capacity for 1,750 cabinets) [link]
    • New SV5 data center announced for Silicon Valley, California USA, ($100 million initial phase with capacity for 1,000 cabinets) [link]
    • Announced acquisition of Switch & Data (SDXC) ($98 million deal incl. 34 data centers with 1,100,000 sq. f./100,000 sq. m. of space)
    • New GV2 data center in Geneva, Switzerland, announced to open in December 2009 (Initial phase of 380 cabinets) [link]

    Total: 8 new data centers opened or announced, 3 expansions planned or opened & 34 data centers included in the Switch & Data acquisition.

  • Interxion
    • Expansion of data center in Copenhagen, Denmark, announced for May 2009 (1,000 sq. m./10,700 sq. f.) [link]
    • Expansion of city data center in London, United Kingdom, completed in July 2009 (400 sq. m./4,300 sq. f.) [link]
    • Expansion of ZUR1 data center in Zurich, Switzerland, announced for early 2010 (2,650 sq. m./28,500 sq. f.) [link]
    • Increased credit limit with €45 million in June [link]
    • New data center announced for Dublin, Ireland, to open in April 2010 (€12 million investment for 2,455 sq. m./26,400 sq. f.) [link]
    • New PAR6 data center opened in Paris, France, in September 2009 (1,400 sq. m./15,000 sq. f.) [link]
    • Expansion of data center in Madrid, Spain, completed in September 2009 (1,500 sq. m./16,000 sq. f.) [link]
    • New FRA6 data center announced for Frankfurt, Germany, to open in Q3 2010 [link]
    • New PAR5 data center opened in Paris, France, in October 2009 (4,000 sq. m./43,000 sq. f.) [link]

    Total: 4 new data centers opened or announced & 4 expansions planned or opened.

  • Telehouse (KDDI)
    • New Magny data center opened in Paris, France, in March 2009 (15,000 sq. m./) [link]
    • KDDI company PRISM’s data center in Seoul, Korea, changed to be part of the Telehouse brand in April 2009 [link]
    • New Telehouse West data center to open in London, United Kingdom, in March 2010 (£80 million project for 19,000 sq. m./161,400 sq. f.) [link]
    • New Telehouse data center opened in Cape Town, South Africa, in December 2009 (as part of a cooperation with Teraco Data Environments) [link]
    • New Telehouse data center announced for Johannesburg, South Africa, in spring 2010 (also as a part of the cooperation with Teraco) [link]
    • New joint venture with two companies to run Telehouse Vietnam, with the data center Telehouse Hanoi to open in March 2010 [link]

    Total: 6 new data centers opened or announced.

  • CoreSite
    • Rebranded from CRG West to CoreSite in June 2009 [link]
    • Expansion of data center in Chicago, Illinois USA, completed in June 2009 (20,000 sq. f./1,850 sq. m.) [link]
    • New data center announced for Santa Clara, California USA, to open in Q1 2010 (50,000 sq. f./4,600 sq. m.) [link]

    Total: 1 new data center announced & 1 data center expanded.

  • Telx
    • Expansion of data center in New York, USA, to open in February 2009 (14,000 sq. f./1,300 sq. m.) [link]
    • New data center opened in Clifton, New Jersey USA, in April 2009 [link]
    • Secured $45.5 million in financing in June 2009 [link]
    • Alliance announced with Tata Communications to offer colocation in each others facilities for expanded footprint [link]
    • Expansion of data center in Chicago, Illinois USA, opened in August 2009 (10,000 sq. f./930 sq. m.) [link]
    • Expansion of data center in Phoenix, Arizona USA, opened in September 2009 [link]
    • Expansion of data center in Los Angeles, California USA, opened in October 2009 [link]
    • Expansion of data center in Atlanta, Georgia USA, opened in December 2009 [link]

    Total: 1 new data center opened, 5 data centers expanded & global footprint expanded via new alliance.

  • TelecityGroup
    • New data center opened in Milan, Italy, in April 2009 (2,300 sq. m./24,750 sq. f.) [link]
    • New data center opened in Stockholm, Sweden, in April 2009 (2,800 sq. m./30,100 sq. f.) [link]
    • Expansion of data center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, completed in November 2009 (2,400 sq. m./25,800 sq. f.) [link]
    • New Condorcet data center opened in Paris, France, in January 2010 (3,400 sq. m./36,600 sq. f.) [link]

    Total: 3 new data centers opened & 1 data center expanded.

  • Global Switch
    • No announcements

For more research about new data centers and expansions in the various markets, have a look at the regional markets channel at Data Center Knowledge that covers some of they key markets around the world.

Comparison Chart

More interesting, I have compiled an overview of the providers below with details about their data center footprint and a summary of the expansions mentioned above. Focus of the comparison should be kept on markets served by the providers, rather than the total number of data centers or total capacity in square feet/square meters, as this is the most relevant benchmarking factor.

The primary reason for the number of data centers not being a relevant factor, is that the providers mentioned have data centers varying in size from 5,000~ square feet to several hundreds of thousands of square feet. The total capacity in square feet would of course be a relevant benchmarking factor, but the problem with this method is that some of the providers are not listing the sizes of their facilities, others are not keeping their data up to date as they expand and in general it is not clear what the data from the providers represents. Some limit the data to actual usable data center floor space (which would be most relevant), while others include office/storage space etc. and space available for future data center expansions.

Equinix Telehouse CoreSite Telx Interxion Telecity Global Switch
Founded: 1998 1990 2001 2000 1998 1998 1998
Company type: Public Public Private Private Private Public Private
Symbol/owner: NASDAQ:EQIX TYO:9433 Carlyle GI Partners Baker Capital LON:TCY Reuben Brothers
Revenue H1 2009: $508.9m €82.9m £82.2m
EBITDA H1 2009: $226.2m €29.8m £29.4m
-
Data centers: 79 47 10 15 26 23 9
Capacity (sq. f.): 6,100,000+ 750,000+ 2,000,000+ Unknown 590,000+ 620,000+ 2,790,000+
2009 New DC’s: 8 6 1 1 4 3 0
2009 Expansions 3 0 1 5 4 1 0
-
Countries served: 10 11 1 1 11 7 7
Markets served: 34 24 7 11 13 8 7
- Europe: 8 2 0 0 13 8 5
- North America: 22 2 0 0 0 0 5
- Asia-Pacific: 4 18 0 0 0 0 2
- Africa: 0 2 0 0 0 0 0

The data has been gathered from various sources, primarily corporate websites and Wikipedia, and its accuracy therefore can not be guaranteed. If you have any corrections, please feel free to contact me.
Equinix data are combined with S&D data and the Telehouse data are partly based on the entire KDDI Corporation.

Industry Changing Deal

Looking back at 2009, the most significant change among the large colocation providers is without any doubt the blockbuster announcement from Equinix about their intention to acquire their US competitor Switch & Data (NASDAQ:SXDC).
The acquisition increases the capacity of Equinix with 34 data centers (1,1 million square feet) in 22 different markets, of which Equinix did not have presence in 16 of the markets prior to the acquisition.

Apart from the extra capacity in existing markets and the new markets this brought Equinix in to, a more interesting perspective was that this move prevented overseas competitors from acquiring Switch & Data and thereby easily gaining a large market share in the US and competing with Equinix on their home turf. Since Equinix entered the European market in 2007, by acquiring IXEurope and their 14 data centers across 4 countries followed by an acquisition of Dutch Virtu and their 3 data centers in 2008, other continental providers have been put under pressure by Equinix very wide global coverage which have led to speculation of other acquisitions or mergers as a countermove to Equinix.

Continental competitors put under by Equinix expansion to the European market included Switch & Data in the US, prior to Equinix acquiring them, and the large European colocation provider Interxion. These two companies announced a strategic alliance in 2008 as a response to the growing dominance of Equinix, to be able to serve clients in both Europe and North America. This obviously made it an interesting thought that Interxion and Switch & Data might be a good fit as a countermove to Equinix, and since the S&D acquisition some interesting information has come out in relation to this.

Two options for Switch & Data
From a filing made to the SEC, it is disclosed that Switch & Data was approached in January 2009 by a privately held company from outside the US about a possible merger of the two companies, prior to them being contacted by Equinix in April. According to the SEC filing the two companies discussed merging their businesses under the Switch & Data brand, but after analysis and meetings the S&D board of directors entered an exclusivity agreement with Equinix in September as they concluded that the Equinix deal would most likely bring most value to the stockholders.

So who was this privately held company from outside the US that wanted to merge with Switch & Data? Rumours say Interxion, who is privately held, already had a strategic cooperation with Switch & Data and with their presence limited to Europe was threatened by the global coverage of Equinix. Furthermore Interxion has made attempts to make more awareness of their brand on the US market, for example by sponsoring US events such as “Hosting Transformation Summit North America” and “Datacenter Transformation Summit “.

There are few others than Interxion that would have been a great fit for a merger with Switch & Data, the first ones that pop up are KDDI’s Telehouse and TelecityGroup but none of these companies are privately held which rules them out. Adding to that there has been rumours since 2008 that Interxion was preparing for an IPO, which might have been postponed if they were hoping for a merger with Switch & Data instead.

What is next?
It will be interesting to see if we are going to see the long expected countermove to Equinix in 2010, as they currently have a very dominating position on the global market. Interxion is still the most likely candidate for such a move looking from the European perspective, although TelecityGroup should not be completely ruled out, while a suiting candidate seen from the US perspective might be Telx or CoreSite. Both are privately held companies owned by US investment firms, with businesses in both North America and Europe under management.

CoreSite has been active the last year with rebranding from CRG West and multiple expansions, and their product portfolio seems easily integratable with Interxions. CoreSite currently only has US coverage, while Telx has a strategic alliance with Tata Communications that enable them to provide services globally already – although that might also be a sign that they are more interested in foreign markets and thereby also a match for a European provider such as Interxion.

Looking more globally KDDI has also been working on optimizing their colocation business under the Telehouse brand, by expanding to multiple new markets that the other large providers do not seem to focus on. The presence of Telehouse in the United States is limited to New York and Los Angeles, so further capacity through acquisition in the US would definitely also be a great fit for Telehouse. However, Telehouse currently seem to operate their various regional companies very independently and in different ways, without doing much to market Telehouse as one global brand with worldwide carrier neutral colocation space. The strategy for the various markets also seem very different, for example Telehouse Vietnam is a joint venture with two other companies while their entrance to the market in South Africa is based on cooperation with a local data center provider rather than establishing their own data center(s).

Going back to CoreSite, a more suitable match might be a company such as Global Switch when looking at the kind of facilities the two companies operate. Global Switch might also be a good match with the privately held provider 365 Main, who is not included above but manages about 1 million square feet in 6 US data centers. Unfortunately there has not been much activity involving Global Switch lately, although they own and operate some large and important property in central European markets and have presence in the foreign Asian markets, so it is hard to say much about them. Asia is a very important region that is growing fast right now though, so it must not be forgotten in the middle of all these Europe/North America speculations. With the huge growth of Internet usage in Asia demand for carrier neutral colocation there is growing fast, which may lead to totally different names coming in to play when we are talking about future mergers and acquisitions.

Conclusion

There is not much of a conclusion to draw – but to sum it up 2009 has been a very exciting year for the carrier neutral colocation industry, and we have seen more of some providers than others. Equinix has of course been dominating as the global market leader they are, followed by a lot of buzz about Interxion, while we have not heard anything at all from a company such as Global Switch.
It is easy to make speculation, but keep in mind that I am no analyst so the theories above are based on the limited information I have about the mentioned providers. One thing is for sure though, when thinking 2010 and ahead it is definitely going to be interesting to see how things will develop. If Equinix is going to have some real global competition we need to see some kind of change, for example in the form of a merger between two of the other large providers.

Other names to watch
For analysts etc. who are doing research on data center providers of colocation and wholesale space, there are a lot of other names that are worth looking in to as well. Apart from the providers with focus on carrier neutral colocation there are other segments such as providers with focus on wholesale space, carrier driven data centers and data center providers focussing on managed services. An overview of some of the most relevant larger names can be found below:

  • Wholesale providers: Digital Realty Trust, duPont Fabros Technologies, Sabey Corporation
  • Managed service providers: Savvis, NaviSite, Terremark, SunGard Availability Services, Peak 10, ViaWest, PEER 1, Reliance Data Center, Datapipe
  • Network carriers: Level 3, Internap, Cogent, Interoute, tw telecom, XO Communications, Tata Communications, AT&T, NTT Communications, Telia, Global Crossing, T-Systems

Adding more confusion to the speculation above, there might also be the option that one of these providers sell their colocation business to keep focus on their carrier business or managed services. For example NaviSite has been actively looking to sell their colocation business [link].

For more general information about the financial performance of the colocation sector in 2009, have a look at this post from Telecom Ramblings and this post at Data Center Knowledge.

February 7, 2010
8 Comments

Data Center Flash Presentations


By on November 2, 2009

When clients choose a colocation provider the quality of the data center is obviously often one of the most important factors, which is why presenting your data center in a good way on your website is very important so that clients get a good first impression. There are a lot of ways to do this – a good description, facts, photos, videos, 3d models, interactive flash presentations etc. Below I have gathered some of the various approaches of doing virtual flash tours, as inspiration to those who are considering how to present their data center(s) as well as eye candy for those of us who just love watching them.

InTechnology

InTechnology has created a very simple yet powerful presentation of the entire facility layout, with nice mouseover functions with pictures and facts of the various features in the data center.
InTechnology

Easynet Connect

The approach by Easynet Connect is a bit different than most of the other providers, made as a 360 degree photo you can spin around and mouseover the various elements in the data center to get further details and photos.
Easynet Connect

HostEurope

HostEuropes approach with a tour inside a 3d model of the facility is really cool, although it of course is more time demanding for the visitor. After entering the facility the visitor can then choose between four different subjects (cooling, power, network and security). The tour is in German, but even though you don’t understand German it should be pretty easy to use it and get an impression of how it works.
HostEurope

TulsaConnect

TulsaConnect has made flash layouts of their two data center locations, with the possibility of clicking on the various elements for further details and photos.
TulsaConnect

Level 3

Level 3 has taken the same approach as a lot of the others with an overview of the facility, where you can click on various subjects for further details.
Level 3

The Bunker

As an underground data center The Bunker has created an overview as well, but split in to three different levels (above ground and 25/30 meters below). Click the “Take a virtual tour” link in the right side panel to see their tour.
The Bunker

UK Grid

Very simple and clean facility overview, split in to two different floors featuring small markers that can be hovered with the mouse for further details.
UK Grid

Cisco

Although Cisco is not a colocation provider, I thought their recent presentation of their data center in Richardson was worth including. It is a really nice overview with a lot of technical details, photos and video material combined.
Cisco

Summing up the best qualities of the various presentations above, in my personal opinion, then focus on keeping it simple, easy to navigate and combine it with facts, photos and perhaps even video – and make sure that it is easy to update later on if your facility gets upgraded. Oh, and no unnecessary background music as it doesn’t belong in an office environment.

Later I will try to dig in to the best approaches of video presentations and perhaps some of the other alternatives.
If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to reach out.

November 2, 2009
2 Comments

Co-location? Colocation? Collocation?


By on June 11, 2009

When reviewing company submissions here at Data Center Map, I often stumble upon the many different ways of spelling colocation. Data center is often spelled in different ways as well, but that is normally due to local grammar – so what is up with colocation? It kind of ignored me to constantly meet those three different ways of spelling it, so I decided to look in to whether one of the terms was more correct than the others.

The most obvious is to start out by googling to see which term is most widely used. To ensure it was primarily related to data centers, I did searches with “data center”, “data centre”, “datacenter” and “hosting” in them.
The combined results looked like this:

colocation: 1.814.000 results
co-location: 1.498.000 results
collocation: 179.000 results

So to continue I wanted to check what was most widely used in the media via Google News, which gave the following results for the past month:

colocation: 320 results
co-location: 255 results
collocation: 198 results

Next I thought I would look at what the industry leaders call the service:

Equinix: colocation
Interxion: colocation
Switch & Data: colocation
TelecityGroup: colocation
Telehouse: colocation
Terremark: colocation
Savvis: colocation

So now that we have the large providers and the media included, I thought it might be worth including what people were buzzing about on blogs via Google Blog Search:

colocation: 201.000 results
collocation: 46.000 results
co-location: 29.000 results

And last but not least, I compared the three terms via Google Trends to see what people was searching for:

Colocation trends via Google Trends

Looking at the Data Center Map statistics, it is also very clear that we receive more visitors searching for colocation than co-location, even though we have been spelling it as “co-location” until this research was done.

Judging from the numbers the conclusion is pretty clear, that colocation is definitely the most widely used term and therefore the best term to be using if you want to reach the majority of your target group. Of course there can be some countries, regions etc. where one of the other terms (or other words) are more widely used so keep that in mind as well.

Be aware that the words can of course also be used in relations that has absolutely nothing to do with our industry, so the numbers aren’t 100% correct.

June 11, 2009
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