Colocation has become very popular with businesses as it provides data center services and infrastructure without the cost and commitment of running an in-house data center. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to colocation in Baltimore.
Baltimore’s historic role as a port city continues to influence its economy and makes the city a key player in regional and international trade. This in turn has helped it to develop a robust financial and business sector. The city’s other historic sector, education, is also still thriving. In particular, Baltimore is home to the USA’s first research university, Johns Hopkins University.
The presence of highly-regarded educational institutions has done a lot to help Baltimore develop industries that will keep it thriving long into the future. Probably the best-known of these is its healthcare and life sciences industry thanks to the presence of both the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Additionally, Baltimore has established itself as a key player in the digital security landscape. The city is now home to numerous cybersecurity firms, research centers, and government agencies. Baltimore also provides a very supportive environment for entrepreneurship and innovation. As a result, it has seen a particular surge in startups, especially tech startups.
The main drivers behind the use of colocation in Baltimore are much the same as in other cities. These are cost-effectiveness, flexibility and scalability, and resilience and redundancy. Here is how these apply specifically to Baltimore.
Baltimore famously went into a spiral of decline in the 1960s. This continued through the 1970s and, arguably, continued into the 1980s. Since then, however, the city has not just pulled itself out of this downward cycle but started trending very clearly upwards. This has resulted in the city’s land and real-estate prices also increasing.
Implementing colocation therefore gives businesses the opportunity to run their own data centers without the hefty up-front costs of buying land or buildings in Baltimore.
Additionally, the fact that Baltimore already has a well-established and growing tech sector means that there may be opportunities to collaborate to leverage economies of scale.
Now, even the largest businesses need to prioritize flexibility and scalability. It has long been a key consideration for startups. Astute use of colocation is often a very practical way to enhance flexibility and scalability without excessively increasing costs.
Technically, Baltimore is well outside the areas known as being vulnerable to coastal storm surges. Practically, it is common for hurricanes or their remnants to hit Baltimore. The winds themselves do not tend to do a lot of damage. They can, however, trigger floods which can have serious consequences. This is most likely in the period between the end of summer and the start of fall.
Companies that run their own data centers need to be very aware of this and take appropriate precautions. Companies that use colocation can simply leave their colocation provider to arrange suitable protection against floods and other hazards.
Similarly, the factors affecting the cost of colocation in Baltimore are much the same as the factors affecting the cost of colocation in any other area. There are, however, some considerations that are specific to the Baltimore area.
As in most cities, some areas within Baltimore are more popular than others. There is generally a solid reason for this such as better connectivity or resistance to weather. Each business will need to decide for itself whether the price premium is justified in its case.
All colocation facilities around the world need power, cooling, and network connectivity. Baltimore is currently strongly incentivizing colocation vendors to make their infrastructure as sustainable as possible. In theory, the city could reverse this policy. In practice, this seems highly unlikely. Even if the policy were to change, the fact would still remain that using power sustainably (that is to say efficiently) does lower operational costs.
The rapid (and continued) growth of Batltimore’s tech sector means that there are plenty of IT service providers, contractors, and employees for hire. This means that labor is relatively easy to acquire and reasonably affordable compared to many other areas.
Choosing the right colocation service in Baltimore is similar to choosing the right colocation service in any other area. Once you have defined your business requirements, you can create a shortlist of vendors and evaluate their suitability. In Baltimore, pay special attention to vendors’ disaster recovery capabilities. These need to be robust enough to handle Baltimore’s challenging climate.
If you are looking for colocation services in Baltimore, DataBank is an excellent choice. DataBank has a state-of-the-art data center in Baltimore, which offers 4,080 Raised Square Footage and 0.6MW Critical IT Load. Learn more about DataBank’s Baltimore data center.
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