As a multi-tenant data center operator, we never quite know exactly what our customers are doing with their IT, and since we serve so many varied industries and verticals, it can often be a tremendous challenge to design our data center product.  When we set out to design our colocation product at New Continuum, we wanted to maintain the highest levels of flexibility in our design in order to present as many solutions as possible to customers.

Our West Chicago data center is located in an extremely risk averse geography with low risk of natural or man-made disasters.  Moreover, the facility itself has an extremely resilient and highly redundant design for power delivery and backup, as well as cooling.  What we decided we needed to spend our time cultivating was our connectivity.  We enjoy relationships with several leading fiber and IP companies who are present in our West Chicago building, but we wanted to do more in order to enhance the offering we could deliver to our customers and create more value in our customers’ IT spend.  We did this by partnering with highly experienced networking and coding specialists to form United Internet Exchange (United IX).

United IX is a multi-site peering fabric with points of presence in 3 buildings in the metropolitan Chicago area.  We connected these 3 sites with a fiber ring and began the work of on-boarding customers.  We matched content networks like Akamai, Google, Cloudflare and Netflix with eyeball networks like WOW!, Hurricane Electric, GTT and US Signal.  Slowly our traffic grew.  We then added partners like Console, who can provide direct access to major cloud providers like AWS, Azure and GCE (Google).  The result is a network that peaks at 20GB of daily traffic currently, and is growing rapidly.

What this means to our customers is cost savings, and resiliency in their network design.  Adding connections in our data center means that losing a single connection elsewhere during any potential service disruption is less impacting and potentially not impacting at all (depending on our customers’ overall network design). With the presence of United IX in our West Chicago facility, our customers can save bandwidth costs by plugging into the IX and establishing peering relationships, and they can add incremental connection points to networks with whom they pass significant traffic.  For New Continuum, we create an ecosystem which is enriched by the customers in our facility and the customers of United IX in other facilities, and all the while, we help in some small way to make the internet work better and more efficiently for all.