July 28, 2021

Cologix taps into new lines for massive data bank center in Jacksonville

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CologixBy Drew Dixon From Jacksonville.com

The expansion of a data center operator in Jacksonville in the past year is an example of how North Florida is becoming increasingly attractive to technology firms.

Cologix Inc.’s acquisitions of other technology firms coincides with a seemingly obscure technological development that could have long-reaching impact for business data and communication transmission between North America and South America.

Anticipating an influx of Internet service providers and carriers to Jacksonville, Denver-based Cologix has spent $20 million in the past year to upgrade and expand its facilities on Church Street in downtown Jacksonville and other First Coast locations. Cologix now operates more than 100,000 square feet of data center space in this area alone.

To envision Cologix’s data centers, think of an Internet modem in your home enlarged 10 times. The data centers hold hundreds of those devices that serve companies and manage their technological storage.

Cologix Chief Operating Officer Graham Williams said the Jacksonville data bank facility is akin to a massive train station for information.

“A Grand Central Station [of data] is a good analogy in that we provide a neutral place for carriers and enterprises to come in and connect to each other. We do it in a way that doesn’t benefit one over the other, which is ultimately why they come to a place like ours,” Williams said.

The first acquisition was the Jax Meet-Me-Room, which is now the Cologix facility on Church Street. Another acquisition involved Colo5, a secure information technology data service. Cologix has existed only since 2010, but its presence in Jacksonville now services about 100 customers ranging from local companies to Fortune 500 brands, including retail, finance and media.

One of Cologix’s most prominent customers in Jacksonville is the cluster of PBS television network affiliates anchored by WJCT TV-7. The network operations center for those stations was anchored in the Colo5 facilities and secure data center on Spring Park Road. That’s now run by Cologix, which has seven similar operations in the U.S. and Canada.


Cologix’s First Coast expansion coincides with a major development that expands Jacksonville’s global technological reach.

Workers for international fiber-optic network operators recently completed installation of two new subsea cables that connect Jacksonville to South America, Latin America and the Caribbean. The AMX-1 line to South America already is operational, and the Pacific Caribbean Cable System to Latin America is expected to be operational within months.

That cable system, which eventually will lead to Atlanta and other U.S. areas, for the first time allows data and Internet service to Latin and South America to bypass Miami, where data centers are slammed with high traffic from all over the United States.

“What really drove our decision to come to Jacksonville was the two new subsea cables that were being built in Central and South America to land in the Jacksonville Beaches,” Williams said. “It will provide an opportunity to change the way Internet traffic moves between North America and South America.”

As the subsea cables will attract new Internet service providers to Jacksonville, the competition will result in lower costs and higher speed for Internet use, Williams said. So Cologix’s “switches and servers are on their way to Jacksonville to connect to the subsea cables,” and Cologix needs the building space to house them.

In addition, Jacksonville was selected for the data cables because, historically, North Florida has dodged significant hurricane strikes.

“They offer a new path that is faster, that is cheaper and less risky to get from North America to South America without having to traverse the peninsula of Florida,” Williams said. “The link between North America and South America is now the largest intercontinental link from an Internet traffic perspective in the world.”

Until now, all Internet traffic heading to South America passed through a building known as the “NAP of the Americas” in Miami, which is owned by Verizon. The new data centers run by Cologix offer an alternative.

“If you look at the NAP of the Americas, you can see the potential for economic growth for jobs in Jacksonville,” Williams said. “We see the same promise in Jacksonville.”


Cologix has about 40 employees at the two data centers in Jacksonville. But the data center in Jacksonville will raise the area’s technological profile beyond Cologix.

“That attracts new networks and new businesses to want to be near that point of intersection,” Williams said.

Angela Mattia, assistant professor of innovation management at Jacksonville University, said that while the new undersea data lines running into Jacksonville may seem obscure to most people, the business impact likely will be substantial.

“It is a big deal for Jacksonville in particular because … it allows for more stable processing, more traffic to go through, more services, those kind of things,” Mattia said.

In that environment, Mattia said, data bank providers such as Cologix offer a key service.

“The biggest thing the data bank can do is bring all these different services together under one umbrella,” she said. “A company can now go to this data bank and pick the network-based services that they need.”

Jerry Mallot, president of JAXUSA Partnership, a business development organization, said the convergence of data banks and subsea cable arriving in Jacksonville has broad implications.

“It’s good to see this growth and the evolution of it because we sit in an advantageous place,” Mallot said.

“It does give us an advantage on data speed and movement that we believe will lead to more data centers and companies where that is critically important.”

Mallot acknowledged he’s not sure how many related companies will spring up in Jacksonville. It may be limited to a niche industry.

“Within this very minute, groups of people who are involved in moving data and managing data, we are in fact gaining a reputation,” Mallot said. “We’re hoping we can exploit that over the next few years as more and more data centers are developed.”

Williams is confident about that.

“With these new cables, there are increasingly going to be networks who review Jacksonville at minimum as a redundant or complementary market to Miami. In many cases, it will be a replacement,” Williams said.

“We fundamentally believe that Jacksonville is going to increasingly become an important dot on the global network map.”

IMAGE: Provided by Cologix Inc. Workers install more data storage equipment for Cologix Inc. at their data center on Church Street in downtown Jacksovnille.

For more on this story go to: http://jacksonville.com/business/2015-01-31/story/cologix-taps-new-lines-massive-data-bank-center-jacksonville

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