451 Research

New Continuum Data Centers celebrates opening of its West Chicago datacenter

Analyst: Rick Kurtzbein 11 Sep, 2014

New Continuum Data Centers celebrated the opening of its 80,000-gross-square-foot datacenter at 603 Discovery Drive in the city of West Chicago, about 40 miles west of the Chicago central business district. In 2007, Cyber Continuity Center designed and began the buildout of the purpose-built, concurrently maintainable facility, but never completed the project. In 2013, New Continuum negotiated a long-term lease with purchase options on the facility and an adjacent 14-acre parcel with CenterPoint Properties. The New Continuum team completed the mechanical, electrical and plumbing buildout of the facility in August. The datacenter’s first phase provides 20,000 square feet of operational space and 1.6MW of critical load.

The 451 Take

New Continuum’s senior leadership team has completed the buildout of an enterprise-quality facility near the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s Aurora datacenter. The facility benefits from proximity to fiber networks with access to downtown locations that will support companies looking for resiliency options outside the city for their critical systems. We expect that local Fortune 500 and 1000 companies interested in enterprise-quality datacenter space will find New Continuum’s NCDC 603 datacenter an option to support expansion strategies and secondary disaster-recovery sites. We also believe that New Continuum’s West Chicago facility is a viable disaster-recovery site for companies on the East or West Coast or in the southern Gulf regions of the United States. We also believe New Continuum is well positioned to execute its strategy to target trading companies, research institutions and enterprises with high-density computing requirements.

Context

New Continuum Holdings Corporation, a company formed by Eli D. Scher, New Continuum’s chairman and CEO, acquired certain operating assets of Continuum Data Centers, including the brand name, in August 2013. Gary Chaffin and Tom Chaffin, founders of Continuum Data Centers, and previous founders of Stargate, a datacenter operator in Lombard, Illinois, which was sold to Latisys, have partnered with Scher to provide engineering and operational functions.

The operating team at New Continuum Data Centers has been providing datacenter services in the western Chicago suburbs for over 10 years. New Continuum serves a broad range of customers, including trading and financial firms with high-density computing requirements as well as enterprise and Fortune 1000 companies, and retail customers requiring primary colocation.

The datacenter is in the city of West Chicago in DuPage County, which is the second most populous county in Illinois after Cook County. The county is home to five Fortune 500, six Fortune 1000 companies and many other large enterprises. The West Chicago location is far from urban environments and traditional threat zones and located less than five miles (line of sight) from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s Aurora colocation facility. The West Chicago site is neighbor to Fermilab, the US Department of Energy’s advanced research institution, and home of a particle collider, validating that the region has been vetted for disaster and risk mitigation.

New Continuum’s marketing strategy for its new datacenter is to focus on trading companies, research laboratories and enterprises with high-density computing and big data requirements and to partner with managed services providers driven by customer demand. The firm provides private suites, custom cages, full and partial cabinets.

The NCDC 603 datacenter

The 80,000-gross-square-foot datacenter will provide roughly 40,000 square feet of operational space at full buildout, as well as an enclosed 18,000-square-foot exterior equipment yard. The facility’s security includes 2-foot thick, ballistic resistant exterior walls, gated entrance, biometrics, mantraps and REX infrared interlocking doors. The facility has office space and a conference room for customer use and an on-site network operations center. Additional features of the property include:

Power

  • Multiple power substations (up to a combined 48MW of critical load available)
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  • Four 12,470 volt – 2.25MW custom Caterpillar generators
  • Redundant (A/B) N+1 power infrastructure (Utility, UPS, PDUs and rack distribution)
  • High-density cabinet footprint

Cooling

  • Hot aisle /cold aisle containment
  • Redundant STULZ CyberRow intelligent cooling systems
  • Free cooling heat exchangers
  • Four 770-ton parallel turbines

Connectivity

  • Open-IX Data Center Certification
  • Four, 4-inch fiber casings at each corner of the building
  • Two diverse meet-me rooms
  • Carrier neutral, with multiple carriers already present

Competition

The western suburban cities of Aurora, Elk Grove Village, Franklin Park, Lombard, Naperville and Oak Brook have datacenters from providers including Ascent, Digital Realty Trust, Equinix and DuPont Fabros Technology. New Continuum will likely face competition from colocation providers in the western suburbs such as CenturyLink Technology Solutions, Equinix, Latisys, ServerCentral, SunGard, Windstream and zColo.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

New Continuum’s new datacenter provides an enterprise-quality facility in the supply-constrained western suburban markets of Chicago. The firm’s leadership team knows the Chicago market well and benefits from an existing customer base migrating from its previous facility.

Opportunities

New Continuum may benefit from building strategic partnerships with providers in downtown Chicago or in other regional markets to build its disaster-recovery services for enterprise customers.

Weaknesses

New Continuum’s datacenter footprint is currently located solely in the Chicago market and at present, the firm lacks the national brand recognition of many of its competitors like CenturyLink, Equinix, Latisys and SunGard.

Threats

The Chicago market remains a constrained market, which tends to result in other multi-tenant datacenter providers entering the market and increasing the competitive environment of that market.

Copyright 2014 – The 451 Group

Reproduced by permission of The 451 Group; © 2014. This report was originally published within 451 Research’s Daily T1R. For additional information on 451 Research or to apply for trial access, go to: www.451research.com