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FairPoint Builds Data Center Business
Published Wednesday, February 1, 2017
by Edith Tucker

Tom Cryan, senior manager of data center services for FairPoint. Photo by Matthew J. Mowry.

When FairPoint opened its first data center in 2014 in Laconia, it did so as a test. Four months later, the facility, which is basically a large group of networked computer servers used for the remote storage, processing or distribution of large amounts of data, was 50 percent full. So, in 2015, FairPoint opened a second data center in Manchester, investing $2.5 million to renovate 4,000 square feet at 770 Elm St., which is now 30 percent full.

FairPoint sees its new data centers as a growth market, albeit one it admits will grow slowly due to long sales cycles and competition. There are currently more than half a dozen data centers in NH, including two others in Manchester and one in Bedford.

Customers include businesses needing data colocation services (or a second storage spot for their data) and companies needing space to sell cloud-based storage. FairPoint is also looking into offering cloud computing as a possible future service.

Cloud computing is on the rise and in 2016 will be responsible for the bulk of data center traffic, according to a study by Cisco Systems.

A large portion of FairPoint's data center customers are in the health care and financial industry and are under strict regulations to protect personal data. In September, Northway Bank, with 17 NH locations, moved its backup to FairPoint’s Manchester data center.

FairPoint recognized the need to expand its services to meet customers’ evolving telecom needs, says Tom Cryan, senior manager of data center services who has nearly 20 years of experience selling data services.

And it’s little wonder FairPoint jumped into the data center business. As more companies move parts or all of their operations to the cloud, the size of the data center industry is expected to double over the next five years, according to the Jones Lang LaSalle North America Data Center Outlook released earlier this year.

FairPoint's Manchester data center is a Tier-3 facility, offering a secure building equipped with advanced fire suppression, backup generators, smoke and water detection, and keycard access. “There’s always two techs on call” says Cryan, citing their team of round-the-clock technicians.  

Services are scalable, offering customers the opportunity to pay as they grow and range from about $1,000 to $15,000 per month. While the data centers are able to serve clients that don’t use

FairPoint as their telecom provider, 90 percent of its customers use FairPoint exclusively, Cryan says.

The data centers also provide visiting clients with a conference room. Non-badged visitors are escorted when on company grounds, and, “Most employees do not have access to the third floor,” (where servers reside), says Cryan.

Based on the success of the NH operations, FairPoint plans to open additional data centers in Maine and Vermont, he says.

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