Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc. says the expansion of its downtown Toronto data centre further exploits proximity to cheap fibre and other communications companies.

Speaking at the launch Wednesday, Primus product manager of hosting and ASP services Michael Pegg said the centre’s location — two blocks from Union Station — allows Primus to lease fibre that already exists under the rail lines. “When you ride a train into Union Station, that’s basically the Internet at large,” Pegg said, adding that having new fibre laid down outside of the city would be considerably more expensive.

The centre has been open for a year and a half in a reduced capacity, offering voice, Internet and data services. The expanded 7,500 sq. ft. centre, Pegg said, includes 750 sq. ft. of space for customer premise equipment and the security to protect a full service data centre.

Primus said the data complex delivers managed dedicated, shared application hosting and co-location services through a 50 Gbps (gigabits per second) capacity IP backplane routing and switching centre. Its servers connect with Primus’s 46 points of presence in Canada and the more than 45 Internet peering and transit interconnects on the company’s global broadband Internet/data network, Primus said.

The centre also boasts a triple redundant backbone and a redundant on-site power supply.

In order to reach its goal of 99.99 per cent reliability, Pegg said the centre features back-up battery packs and has fuel arrangements with two different companies to make sure Primus’ diesel generator is humming in case of emergency.

Fast emergency response is another bonus of being in the downtown core, Pegg said, as is the proximity to other communications companies like Sprint and AT&T.

The so-called “Telco Hotel” on Front St. W. is fast becoming the sole provenance of communications companies, Pegg said. Telcos are snapping up space left vacant by the departure of restaurants like East Side Mario’s and financial institutions like Montreal Trust, whose real estate Primus acquired in order to expand its data centre.

Primus has a primary peering arrangement with AT&T and connecting the two companies was an easier job since they both occupy the same building.

“You can multi-home with various connectors within one building,” Pegg said.

Eamon Hoey principal analyst with Toronto-based Fox-Hoey Consulting, said while the downtown location increases visibility, it is not as crucial for Primus as primary peering arrangements and the one-hop service to the Internet Pegg said the data centre offers.

“Anybody wanting to go into a server location, if they’re looking for faster service, they need to consider if it’s a one-hop service and (if) they have top-notch peering arrangements,” Hoey said.

While Primus has a primary peering arrangment with AT&T, Pegg could not provide additional information on Primus’ peering arrangments. Hoey said he was doubtful Primus was part of a primary peering group with multiple partners offering direct access to their networks.

Primus, which currently has 25 co-hosting customers, has taken severe measures to ensure the data it hosts is kept safe.

Unwanted intruders would have to get by biometric security, an alarm system and video surveillance. Even customers looking to access their co-location services and equipment must do so in a contained area, under supervision.

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