Ok, we admit it, this blog post is overdue! The ColoCrossing Buffalo NY datacenter opened in July 2012 and we’ve been meaning to write about it on our blog ever since then. We’ve been so busy that the blog hasn’t been given the attention it deserves, and for that we deeply apologize!
In May 2012 we commissioned the Buffalo project to fulfill a specific customer need. At that time we had no plans to grow the site beyond that original deployment, instead choosing to continue our growth mode at our existing flagships in Chicago and Dallas. Little did we know, but our “Buffalo Project” would quickly turn into one of our fastest growing datacenters and, in itself, create a hosting market in Buffalo that simply didn’t exist before we arrived. Thanks to relatively inexpensive input factors (power, real estate, etc) our growth in Buffalo has been supercharged by an array of enterprise, virtualization, social media and cloud customers.
Our expansion into our home town started modestly (ironically, our headquarters and operations office is actually located in Buffalo). Because the entire project was intended to serve a single customer with a specific need, we turned the operation online with connectivity to Level3 only. Being single-homed to an upstream provider was acceptable in this case because the customer requested Level3 and the site was to function as a disaster recovery zone should their in-house datacenter fail. Almost immediately upon opening we began receiving requests for hosting in Buffalo from current and prospective customers — it was probably around this time that a light bulb went off — why not expand our service offerings to Buffalo? The answer was obvious, it made perfect sense, and as such, plans took shape to facilitate the expected growth.
The first order of business was to install our standard 10GE distribution platform which enables ColoCrossing to provide 20Gbit of redundant capacity to every single cabinet. The Juniper EX-4500 has proven to be the best 10GE distribution platform available on the market today; powered by JunOS and offering untouchable line-rate density. Naturally we understand that not all colocation customers have a need for 10GE+ so we installed a Brocade FCX648 stack to provide 1Gbit copper cross connections at the distribution layer. The FCX stack is connected back to the Juniper’s at 40Gbit and could be further increased to 80Gbit as needed. The next area which needed to be addressed was the single-homed nature of the network (Level3). Immediately we added 10GE circuits to Telia, which were then followed by the addition of further connectivity. Today the network consists of Level3, Telia, XO, Cogent and is actively route optimized to ensure optimal latency, throughput and overall performance.
Our Buffalo project has come from humble beginnings — upon opening there were less than 10 cabinets to facilitate the original customer. Today we find ourselves developing strategies to ensure that we keep pace with the tremendous demand that’s surfaced for fairly priced, high performance NY colocation. Buffalo’s location has proven favorable; outside of common high-risk disaster regions, close proximity to Chicago, NYC and Toronto and plentiful transit connectivity options.
Though we can’t say we didn’t learn things along the way; one of the most prominent challenges we faced during late summer was providing dedicated servers to fill new Buffalo orders in a timely fashion. Historically ColoCrossing has sourced servers from a variety of third party vendors who build, test, and ship systems on an as-needed basis to our datacenters. That model simply didn’t work in Buffalo because shipping systems from out-of-state vendors on an individual basis created overhead and lead to slowdowns in the provisioning process. Our facilities manager solved the problem by bringing the entire process in house. On short order he created a new department dedicated to the design and implementation of thousands of servers to support the growing needs in Buffalo. Today we receive weekly shipments direct from the manufacturer, which has allowed us to stock an expansive array of components and subsequently enabled ColoCrossing to provide JIT (just in time) inventory support to our colocation customers. Where else can a colocation customer call their datacenter and have a customized server ordered and delivered to their cabinet same day? No where but ColoCrossing.
One year ago you could Google “Buffalo datacenter” or a variant of such, and come up with very few actionable results. Today, the once unknown hosting market in Buffalo is growing by leaps and bounds inside ColoCrossing’s facility. We invite you to test the network’s performance (126.96.36.199), review the spec sheet (http://www.colocrossing.com/downloads/ColoCrossing-BuffaloDacenter-Specs.pdf) and schedule a tour by contacting our sales department (sales-at-colocrossing.com).
We’ve begun working on phase II of our Buffalo expansion which will include 14,000 sq. ft. of datacenter space intended to meet ColoCrossing grid hosting, ColoCrossing compute and colocation expansion through 2014. Naturally all of this wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for our intensely loyal customer base and the good looking (errr, talented) group of ColoCrossing account executives, engineers, systems administrators and operations team. We’ve got big plans for the second half of 2013 and we can’t wait to share them with you — and we promise it won’t be 6 months late again.
PS: Our new website, to be released in April, will prominently feature our new Buffalo datacenter.