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Secant Technologies Creates Data Fortress in Kalamazoo

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Secant building

The team at Secant Technologies is the face of "think big, act local." Four-and-a-half years ago the network and technology firm decided to construct a data center in Kalamazoo. Now the company is a month away from unveiling a state-of-technology facility with enough security precautions to make your head spin.

A data center is a large group of networked servers used to house and share large amounts of data and applications and process computing needs for large organizations and service providers. In Secant's case, the data center is a warehouse-sized facility built to withstand power outages, flooding, tornadoes, and maybe even a zombie attack.

Built to FEMA 361 construction specifications, the 3,400-square-foot TIER3 Enhanced Data Center is built to withstand destructive straight-line winds and even a direct tornado strike. The fiber-rich, carrier-neutral environment provides redundant, high-performance connectivity options. Massive twin generators provide fully redundant power backup support in the event of power outages or flooding.

The facility is raised a foot off the ground to protect it from flooding and features bullet-proof glass, 12-inch thick concrete walls reinforced with a grid of rebar, fire-suppression systems, and round the clock surveillance to stand up to natural and man-made disasters.

It will offer cutting edge technologies and services for customers both large and small with Secant's unique blended portfolio of co-location, cloud-hosting and managed services.

Secant CIO Alex Ellingsen said, "Secant's new data center is the first of its kind in west Michigan. This means that for the first time, local organizations can move their computing infrastructure into a highly secure and reliable facility without having to travel hundreds of miles. Most importantly, they can do this using local telecom links including high speed fiber which eliminates a substantial portion of the cost and challenges with making use of a remote data center."

With 15 years of data center design/build experience, Secant managed every aspect of the site selection, structural/architectural design, and construction of its locally owned and operated data center. The team traveled to more than 20 existing data centers, both private and commercial, throughout the United States and met with industry experts and manufacturers of data center infrastructure, to explore facility design with the goal to create a facility that offered the highest level of reliability, power efficiently, security, and flexibility.

Secant rendering

Located adjacent to Secant's 9th Street industrial park headquarters, the data center is equidistant from Chicago and Detroit. It will also serve a north-south disaster recovery site for small business and enterprise customers from Grand Rapids to South Bend and Indianapolis.

"We're a good midpoint for all those locations to be a primary or a recovery data location," said Data Center Manager Chris Nicholson. "This is a big resource for Kalamazoo."

Let's say you operate a business in downtown Kalamazoo and a tornado comes through and levels your building. All of your technology is destroyed and you have no access to your server or a way to contact your clients.

Nicholson said most small businesses would be out of business in a matter of days in that situation, but with Secant's help they could continue to operate remotely.

Data center clients will have to option to reserve space in the facilities disaster recovery workspace. Using workstations and connectivity provided by Secant and back-up data stored on site, clients will have access to all their business technology needs despite losing their physical business.

Secant CEO Garret Peaslee said, "Secant's new data center is the foundation for our full suite of cloud-delivered services, which will provide organizations the opportunity eliminate much of their on-site infrastructure and the associated costs by moving to a local private cloud. This will be very beneficial to businesses, schools, non-profits, and government agencies."

Chuck Warner, Secant's President, concludes, "We've created an exceptionally cost-efficient facility so clients can benefit from a Fortune 100-level facility at a West Michigan price."

Business, community leaders, and IT professionals are invited to tour the facility on Thursday, Sept. 18, from 10:30 am to 6 pm during the data center's Grand Opening celebration. A ceremonial ribbon cutting is set for 4 pm. Free workshops will also be held throughout the day.

For more information call (269) 375-8996 or register for the event online.

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