With Atlanta a hot bed for the financial technology (fintech) industry, Flexential announced today that it has expanded its colocation facility in the Atlanta area.
Flexential, which offers hybrid IT and data center solutions, completed a 70,000-square-foot expansion of the facility in Alpharetta, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb.
The expansion is the Atlanta region’s largest this year, bringing Flexential’s national data center footprint to 3.1 million square feet. Flexential's expansion increased the company’s capacity in Georgia to more than 8 megawatts of power and a total of 175,000-square feet.
Atlanta and the surrounding "Transaction Alley" represent the third-largest fintech hub in the U.S., with more than 70% of all credit card transactions processed through the Atlanta metropolitan area, according to the Atlanta Small Business Network. All told, more 120 fintech firms are headquartered or have a significant presence in Georgia with the top-10 generating annual revenue of $72 billion.
"The Atlanta market is an important one for us to invest in for a few reasons: it’s the fifth largest data center market in the country, the third largest for the financial services industry, which is a vital customer vertical for us, and overall it’s one of the lowest cost cities when it comes to total cost of ownership," said Flexential CEO Chris Downie in an email to FierceTelecom. "We’re excited to continue serving customers in the greater Atlanta region with our colocation and hybrid cloud services for mission critical workloads in spaces like healthcare, fintech, retail manufacturing and more."
Data center and colocation companies are hard at work keeping up with the explosion in data and by the continued growth of hyperscale cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.
An IDC Global DataSphere study predicted that the worldwide datasphere—data created, captured and replicated worldwide—would balloon to 175 zettabytes by 2025. IDC predicts that by 2025, the majority of this data will be stored in the core, with data center capacity increasing to match the expansion of cloud-based storage,
Going forward, Downie said that Flexential was also working on additional facility expansions in its other core markets, which include Charlotte, North Carolina.; Nashville, Tennessee; and Portland, Oregon.
"These are key priority markets for us as we look to further support customer growth and larger enterprises who need reliable network backbones and infrastructures," Downie said. "Flexential’s footprint certainly makes up a large portion of Tier 1 and growing Tier 2 markets. You’ll notice Silicon Valley, Northern Virginia, and NYC making headlines, but we’re currently strategically positioned in the markets that will make a lasting impact, long-term. To name a few, Portland (Oregon), Denver, Dallas, Charlotte, Nashville, and, of course, Atlanta are on the next big horizon for growth.”
Data centers are key
With the always-increasing amount of data, coupled with the move to the cloud by enterprises and service providers, data centers are becoming increasingly important. With the advent of 5G and IoT services and applications, data centers will play bigger connectivity role going forward. Service providers, including AT&T, CenturyLink and Verizon, largely have shed their data center assets to focus on their services and applications.
"Data centers are absolutely a critical component for facilitating connectivity between cloud providers, telcos, enterprises, and the end user," Downie said. "As we move further into the age of AI and IoT, geographic reach, strong carrier density and robust connectivity options are increasingly important to the delivery of services.
“Further, network resources that allows for federation across data centers, and carrier hotels and exchange locations in diverse geographies are critical to the success of cloud providers, telcos and enterprise solutions with their own customers.”
Flexential, which is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the end result of a merger two years ago between ViaWest and Peak10. Since the merger, Flexential has grown its footprint to 40 data centers across the nation, spanning 21 markets. As far as its global presence goes, the company offers global connectivity through two prominent subsea cables: New Cross Pacific allows access to Asia-Pacific and Hawaiki, which links Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and American Samoa with mainland U.S., according to Downie.
“In the U.S., we’ve expanded our FlexAnywhere network fabrics to provide access to more than 80 domestic and international carriers, 14 cloud nodes, multiple peering exchanges and more than 250 network, data center, managed service and cloud providers, including AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure," Downie said.
He added that Flexential, which has around 1,000 employees, views its competitors across two buckets; wholesale and retail. In the wholesale sector, it primarily competes against Digital Realty, CyrusOne, CoreSite, and Switch.
"With our new Atlanta-area expansion, wholesale is going to be a core focus," Downie said. "In the retail colocation space we run into QTS, TierPoint, Cyxtera and Equinix most frequently.”