Our New Jersey Datacenters


Newark NJ skyline
Newark, NJ skyline on the Passaic River

Our first New Jersey Datacenter was just a bedroom closet in an apartment. It was 1994, and the Internet wasn’t even a thing yet. We had this crazy idea about providing secure email communications over dial-up phone lines. So we set up some servers and modem lines, and a small, one-room New Jersey datacenter business was born.

We soon outgrew the modest setup and expanded to a small office in Bogota. As the Internet grew in popularity, we realized that companies needed more than just email. They needed a way to protect their data from catastrophic loss.

In the early 2000s, tape backup was still the state of the art for data protection. But tape backup was not possible over the Internet, which meant that businesses needed to have multiple islands of backup, each with the need to be monitored and maintained.

We saw an opportunity to solve this problem, and we developed a new technology that allowed us to send backups offsite by comparing changes between daily backups and sending just the tiny incremental changes. For example, if someone created a 10-page document and then the next day added a new page, our system could identify the difference and just transmit the new page. Our data center could merge the new page, and presto, it had backed up the file.

Central Railroad Station terminal in NJ
Central Railroad Station terminal in NJ

Our data protection business snowballed, and we outgrew our Bogota office. We built our first proper data center in Hackensack, New Jersey, to handle this new growth. Equipped with generators for reliable power, data center grade HVAC, and increased square footage, we were able to ramp up our services.

To handle even more growth, we added another data center in Weehawken, New Jersey. This facility was designed to manage our growing national contracts. We had built partner relationships around the country with other technology companies that were specialists in their local region. These partners would bring us into their customer accounts as their backup partner. They would manage the customer’s onsite needs and entrust us to protect their information system – a truly humbling honor.

Today, our data center business is thriving. We have customers all over the world, but we’ve never lost our New Jersey roots. We still view the New Jersey area as the best location for datacenters. With its proximity to New York City and Philadelphia, we can reach both markets easily. New Jersey is also great for industry diversification. The state has large professional, scientific, and technology industries, and it’s a leader in finance, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals.

Over the past 30 years, we’ve learned a lot about running data centers. Here are three of the most important lessons we’ve learned:

  • Monitoring is essential. You need to be able to know, at every moment, the precise health of your entire operation. As information systems get more complex, they develop strangely emergent behaviors – complex interactions that were unthinkable to you while you were building them. Only by measuring and monitoring everything can you understand what’s going on.
  • Documentation is critical. Only by documenting everything can you have a predictable operation. Checklists, runbooks, reference manuals, and even tutorials can all help you remember how things are supposed to work. And you don’t just document the what – you document the why. Why was that system built that way? What options did you consider, and why did you choose your path? Those kinds of assumptions are lost over time, leaving you scratching your head when something doesn’t work as you think it should at 2 am.
  • Automate everything you can. Engineers are great at finding new solutions but terrible at reliably repeating their solutions. So once you have a known good solution to a problem, immediately invest in the automation needed to repeat that solution perfectly every single time. If you depend on it being done manually, you’ll be spending all your time putting out fires, with no time to innovate new ideas for new problems.

We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished over the past 30 years, and we’re excited to see what the future holds for our data center business. We’re committed to providing our customers with the best possible service and we’ll never stop innovating.