Canada15Edge hopes to edge out colocation competitors in Toronto
Canada15Edge Data Centers (C15Edge) is a fairly new entrant in the Toronto multi-tenant datacenter (MTDC) market that offers retail colocation services with a focus on connectivity, at a reasonable price. This has been a common and successful business model in the US, and remains feasible there in smaller markets. In larger US markets, however, wholesale providers have entered and taken advantage of scale to compete at a lower price. Wholesale competition then forces smaller retail colocation providers to differentiate with, for example, a focus on interconnection or managed services. Although Toronto is the largest market in Canada, it has a relatively underdeveloped wholesale datacenter segment, so there remains an opportunity for smaller players like C15Edge to carve out a niche before the large-scale operators arrive.
The 451 Take
C15Edge’s value proposition lies in its aim to be a more agile alternative than the larger, potentially unwieldy telcos – providing colocation with enterprise-grade infrastructure and connectivity, while maintaining cost effectiveness and flexibility. Its offering should be appealing to small cloud and managed service providers as well as firms that want easily accessible colocation facilities close to downtown Toronto. C15Edge’s partnership with a US network provider (ManagedWay) should also provide exposure to a variety of US customers that its rivals likely do not have access to. The company is gaining traction and seems to have opened at a good time but will eventually need to add geographic diversification or services to continue to grow. Redundancy is currently provided by partner sites in the greater Toronto area and eastern and western Canada, as well as the US.
C15Edge was founded in 2015 by Mark MacDonald, Joe Damiani and Michael Gamey, and was initially known as Canada151. The firm opened its first datacenter in September 2015. C15Edge provides colocation and disaster recovery, with additional managed and cloud services offered via partners. Despite being a young contender in the Toronto colocation market, the company has started to secure a base of customers.
C15Edge’s datacenter is located just west of downtown Toronto, between the city and Mississauga. The building was originally a Public Mobile network operations center acquired by TELUS. It has four fiber entrances, with diverse fiber paths provided by Bell Canada and Cogeco – HCE Telecom, Cogent, ManagedWay and Standard Broadband also provide network services to the building. C15Edge offers a blended bandwidth service and it has redundant points of presence at 151 Front, so can provide interconnection to carriers located there.
The company has upgraded the facility’s power and cooling: phase 1 offers 4,000 operational square feet and up to 800kW of power for 150 racks. It is currently 35% utilized. Power is upgradeable to more than 2MW, and C15Edge has first right of refusal on neighboring floor space, so there is room for future expansion as needed. The datacenter is built on a slab floor and is designed to be concurrently maintainable, with two separate cooling strings, as well as A+B power backed up by separate (2N) UPS and generator systems. Unusually, one generator is run on natural gas, while two others are run on diesel fuel, providing fuel diversity. The firm prides itself on its proactive maintenance.
Security features include constant video surveillance of the perimeter and colocation space, mantrap access to the server room, and two-factor authentication systems, one of which is biometric. Fire suppression is done via an FM200 gas-suppression system with a dry pipe sprinkler system as well. Compliance certifications include ISAE 3402, CSAE 3416 and SSAE 16 SOC2, Type II.
Customers and strategy
C15Edge’s high- and low-redundancy offerings have appealed to a broad range of industries, with recent traction in data-intensive verticals such as film and TV, engineering and architecture. Outside of MSP customers, it has a varied client base, from publicly traded companies to some Bitcoin mining tenants. About 30% of its customers are in the US, including service providers that need access to the Canadian market and networks. The company expects service providers to be a key vertical going forward and does not plan to compete with them by offering its own managed services. Instead, it provides connectivity to public cloud providers and plans to partner with telecom and cloud/managed service firms to offer more advanced capabilities. It currently partners with ManagedWay, which has datacenters in Michigan, to provide geo-redundancy.
For customers seeking a location fairly close to downtown with connectivity to Toronto’s carrier hotel, C15Edge will likely compete with higher-priced services from Cologix and Equinix while occasionally bumping up against smaller players such as 3z Canada and Amanah. Bell Canada, Cogeco Peer1 and TeraGo Networks may also contend, although they tend to vie for deals that have a network-specific component in addition to colocation. CentriLogic, TELUS and Rogers Data Centres come up less frequently in deals, as they focus more on the managed and cloud services space.
C15Edge is a small firm that has built a concurrently maintainable datacenter at a relatively low cost in a good location, with more connectivity options than is typical for a small facility. It has enough power to offer fairly high-density services and is small enough to provide personalized service.
With its focus on colocation, the company is dependent on partnerships to offer managed and cloud services that some clients may expect as standard offerings.
Large-scale wholesale players have only just started to enter the Toronto market, while small managed and cloud service providers are growing and seeking higher-density space. This should offer a window for C15Edge to establish itself among the service-provider community. There may also be a need for small, well-connected facilities for Internet of Things applications in the future.
In the Canadian market, major telcos represent a recurring threat to smaller players, while the entry of scale-focused wholesale providers may appeal to cloud supplier customers in the future.
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