A hosting company in Denmark has launched Data Center Map, a new site that applies Web 2.0 technology to the data center market, using Google Maps to provide a visual guide to colocation facilities in major markets around the world. The application provides locations for 548 data centers around the world, including 259 in the United States. Users can search for facilities using the map, an index, or search the database.
Data Center Map was developed by Sune Christesen, who owns the ActiveWebs hosting service in Egaa, Denmark. The service goes beyond previous "colocation finder" sites such as ColoSource, QuoteColo, e-colo and ColoTraq in providing a visual guide to a facility's location, in many cases including the street address. Like its predecessors, Data Center Map hopes to use the site to generate leads for its colocation brokerage services. Most colo brokers are careful about making their database public, lest prospects "dial direct" to providers.
While some providers will welcome leads through Data Center Map, the site may also test the comfort level of other providers, as it publishes street addresses for facilities whose operators usually limit widespread knowledge of the precise location of their data centers. On at least one previous occasion, maps of telecom and data center locations have raised concerns with U.S. security agencies.
"Numerous attempts have been made before to index data centers, but I feel that with this service I can fill up the empty space on the market by making it more than just a list - by making it a map," said Christesen. "My vision is to make it as easy as possible to find a colocation data center in a specific area."
Data Center Map says it is driven by user submissions, which are approved before they are visible at the web site. The site is free, and Christesen says any professional assistance in locating a colo facility will also be free. Colo brokerage fees are typically paid by the provider, making the service free to end users.
Colocation and data center providers vary in their practices on publishing the street addresses for their facilities. At least one provider whose sites are listed on Data Center Map has previously sought to limit awareness of their facility addresses. While these unpublished addresses are known within the industry, the companies don't publish them on their own web site.
In 2003, George Mason University grad student Sean Gorman mapped critical infrastructure in major cities, including fiber lines and telecom hubs, as part of his dissertation. Government officials sought to suppress publication of the research, fearing it would help terrorists identify targets. It should be noted that Data Center Map offers far less information than Gorman's project, especially in its focus on hosting facilities rather than fiber maps.
UPDATE: Colotraq has contacted us to say that it has provided a mapping system for some time. "Our proprietary web based system that we launched in January of 2006 actually geo-indexes ALL of our partners' data centers (over 3,000 at this point) and displays them on a map for our users," writes Colotraq's Ed Roland. "And unlike Mr. Christesen's site, we figured out a long time ago how to get around the 'comfort level' of providers by making our maps available only to registered clients whom the providers have agreed to bid for their business."