First Colo
About the customer

The focus on addressing companies with high traffic volumes and above-average demands on service quality and IT security pushes First Colo to stay on its toes when it comes to continuously developing and enhancing its IT-infrastructure. And it has paid off. A couple of years ago, the company won the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Award for the 4th consecutive year.

Industry: Enterprise Data Center Interconnect
Location: Frankfurt am Main, Amsterdam, Vienna
Solution: Open line system

The challenge

Digitalization driving bandwidth requirements

As a platform for its services, First Colo operates two high-availability data centers in Frankfurt am Main, both connected to rented server locations around Europe. Although not located very far apart, traffic between the two Frankfurt data centers connected via leased dark fiber, is intense. Jerome Evans, CEO, First Colo explains:

– The digitalization of the whole society is a key driver for our business. Internet services, cloud computing, and a growing emphasis on security and remote data-backups are all driving the need for more bandwidth. Our customers use more and more traffic, month by month. We are also continuously attracting new customers, adding to the bandwidth requirements.

To support the ever-increasing need for more bandwidth in the network, Jerome Evans and team reached the conclusion in 2018 that it was time to upgrade the server and routing infrastructure and to upscale its DCI capacity.


"The way I see it, there was no comparable alternative to the Smartoptics offering on the market that could meet our bandwidth requirement in such as efficient way. In my view, the solution is amazing!"

Jerome Evans, CEO, First Colo

The Solution

Time to step up to 100G

After ten years of close cooperation, service integrator Xantaro is a trusted business partner of First Colo. Providing consultancy services and technology solutions, Xantaro was initially given the task to upgrade the First Colo data center infrastructure to new high-capacity Juniper Networks switches and routers, all supporting 100G traffic. Next step was to secure a reliable high-capacity DCI solution to connect the data centers.

– We pride ourselves on our strong customer focus and on offering a high degree of flexibility in our solutions. We want to make sure we use the best equipment on the market, for everything from switches and DDoS protection to data center connectivity, and are always on the lookout for modern, up-to-date technologies, Evans explains.

According to Evans, the First Colo engineering team had a clear view on what was needed from a DCI solution to meet both today’s bandwidth needs and tomorrow’s. Investigating different alternatives, it soon became clear that Smartoptics open optical networking solution recommended by Xantaro offered the best fit for the project.

– The way I see it, there was no comparable alternative to the Smartoptics offering on the market that could meet our bandwidth requirement in such as efficient way. In my view, the solution is amazing! Jerome Evans exclaims.

the Result

Smartoptics open line system offered the perfect fit

The new DCI solution connecting the First Colo data centers combines the benefit of modern PAM4 transceivers with Smartoptics’ flexible DCP-M open line system for smart, flexible 100G DWDM connectivity. The sleek form factor PAM4 transceivers are embedded directly in Juniper Networks switches and connected to the DCP-M system, meeting the needs for easy provisioning, a minimal foot-print and reduced power consumption. The new DCI solution now fully supports First Colo’s increased backbone capacity of 1 TB/s.

– Looking at the life-time cost of the new Smartoptics DCI solution, considering that we now have a solution that will meet our bandwidth needs not only today but also for the coming years, it is definitely a very affordable alternative, Evans explains.

Another key benefit of the new DCI solution is that it is configured to support full redundancy between the sites, an important requirement for an organization with extra focus on service up-time and security.

– I view the solution we now have in place as our blueprint for data center interconnectivity. The Smartoptics system supports not only the 100G connectivity we were looking for today, but it is also designed to support upcoming 400ZR, giving us a future-proof solution.

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