Datacenter-friendly Montreal gets a new facility


Montreal is the home of a new data center. The “carrier-neutral” inter-connection and colocation site at 875 St. Antoine was officially unveiled by Metro Optic and I.C.E Datacentres at a gathering Wednesday night in downtown Montreal.

The 25,000 sq. ft. datacenter is now available for network operators, content distributors and internet service providers. It will act as a “gateway” to North American fiber-optic connectivity. Metro Optic is a leading independent provider of high-speed fiber-optic solutions in Canada. The company now serves major datacenters in Montreal and Toronto with dark and lit fiber solutions and inter-connection to more than 30 carriers.

The news points to a growing preference for datacenter builders to choose Montreal and Quebec as home points. I.C.E’s Michel Bucheit was on hand Wednesday night for the gathering. He told MTLinTECH that three factors are making Montreal and Quebec datacenter-friendly.

First, Montreal is along one of the most important and heavily-frequented data routes in the world, between Europe and the US. A large amount of internet traffic is going through Montreal and between between London and New York.

Moreover, a company called Hibernia Networks recently connected a Subsea cable to Halifax, from Cork, Ireland, connecting North America to Europe. That capacity goes through I.C.E’s new Montreal datacenter and onto New York before branching off to several locations in the United States. With 100Gbps transmission speeds, the roughly $450 million project allows data to travel across the Atlantic ocean within 60 milliseconds, four to five milliseconds faster than other companies’ submarine cables, according to Hibernia Networks. Hibernia Express also says its cable will yield in excess of 10Tbps per fibre pair, nearly three times more the capacity delivered on current transatlantic systems.

Secondly, Bucheit said Canada is more privacy-friend than the United States.

“European companies are very concerned about privacy in the US, so they don’t want to store their data there. It starts with the Patriot Act and it’s been a heightened concern since the scandal where the NSA tapped peoples’ cell phones. Now with Trump it’s a concern again,” he said.

Thirdly, the cost of power is lower in Quebec and Canada than the United States. Canada also possesses a more stable power supply.

“The other thing that’s happening, especially in Quebec, is you have very low power rates, about 5.5 cents per kilowatt hour here, compared to New York where it’s 18 to 19 cents. The cheapest rate in the US is in New Jersey, where its 12 cents. There’s a real pricing advantage because all these datacenter computers use a lot of power,” added Bucheit.

Finally, Montreal and Quebec’s cold weather is a boon for datacenters that produce near-constant heat. Because of all the cooling needed, datacenters generally need external air in a cold climate.

“When you put those together the operating costs here are 50 per cent cheaper, so there’s a lot of business coming up here,” said Bucheit.

I.C.E’s new datacenter in Montreal will primarily target fast-growing companies that need “a lot of Internet” and cater to a large amount of people visiting their properties, like telecom providers. Moreover, digital companies that provide cloud infrastructure like Amazon and Google both need datacenters to host their infrastructure, said Bucheit,

The new facility in Montreal is the leading fiber rich entry point of long-haul fiber and the optimal facility for latency-sensitive traffic at maximum redudancy, according to I.C.E. It’s the densest and carrier-neutral facility in Montreal with direct access to more than 30 leading metro, regional and national and international carriers at competitve prices. MOreover, I.C.E. says its network reaches all major datacenters and thus millions of eyeballs in the Montreal area.

The cost for building such a facility would be “nothing less than $10 million,” and potentially in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The reason for that is you need to build redundant infrastructure,” said Bucheit. “Companies come to you because they never want to go down on their power systems and even if you go and reboot for a few seconds you lose data. When you’re in a commerce environment like Amazon or even a bank, you cant even have a blip. Being 100% on uptime is critical in the industry.”

I.C.E.’s Toronto facility is 41,225 sq. ft. over three acres, is fully developed for commercial datacenter and disastor recovery clients and has dark and lit fiber options.

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