First Colo GmbH offers data centre and managed services to companies in Germany and central Europe. With core competencies in housing and colocation, the business idea is to provide a secure, cost-effective and up-to-date home to servers and IT-infrastructure solutions.

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.


Digitalisation driving bandwidth requirements

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

”The digitalisation 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.


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 centre 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 centres.

”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 centre 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.


Smartoptics open line system offered the perfect fit

The new DCI solution connecting the First Colo data centres 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 organisation with extra focus on service up-time and security.

”I view the solution we now have in place as our blueprint for data centre 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. Should we expand our business with another
data centre we would do this in the exact same manner, installing the same equipment at each new location“, Jerome Evans concludes.



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    Project overview

    First Colo GmbH

    Datacentre, Hosting


    DCP-M, PAM4, QSFP28



    Constantly increasing bandwidth demand

    • permanently increasing number of customers and traffic
    • growing demands on security and data security



    • Upgrade of the data centres with high-performance switches and routers with 100G Interfaces from Juniper Networks
    • Data Centre Interconnection with Smartoptics‘ Open Optical Networking solution
    • Implementation of modern PAM4 transceivers with a sleek QSFP28 form factor directly in Juniper Networks switches



    • Backbone capacity of up to 4 TB/s
    • multiple, intelligent, flexible 100G DWDM connections
    • minimal foot-print and reduced power consumption
    • highest availability and security of services through full redundancy
    • Future-proof solution designed to also support upcoming 400ZR