IEEE Santa Clara Valley (SCV) Lecture and Tour of CoreSite Multi-Tenant Data Center

By Alan J Weissberger - IEEE Technology Blog Content Manager and Author, USA

On May 23, 2019, over 30 IEEE ComSocSCV and IEEE Power Electronics members were treated to a superb talk and tour of the CoreSite Multi-Tenant Data Center (MTDC) in Santa Clara, CA. Key fi ndings and take aways are summarized in this article.

CoreSite is a data center owner/provider (structured as a REIT) that competes with Equinix, Digital Realty, CyrusOne, QTS, and others. Our lecture and tour were conducted by CoreSite technical specialists Jameson Agraz and Gerry Fassig who both did a superb job!


CoreSite MTDC colocation customers have their own spaces, varying from partial cabinets, private cages up to private suites. The customer provides their own compute, network and storage infrastructure, while CoreSite provides fi ber optic based network access, power distribution and backup, physical security, and Remote Hands (via on site staff ) if requested.

The following types of Network Access are available to CoreSite MTDC customers:

  • Direct Access to Tier-1 Networks from telcos and cloud service providers
  • Access to a broad range of network services (Transit/Transport/ Dark Fiber/Lit Fiber)
  • Direct Access to Public Clouds (Amazon, Microsoft, Google, etc.)
  • Direct Access to Optical Ethernet Fabrics

CoreSite has many data centers in Santa Clara, CA because of the relatively low electricity rates charged by Silicon Valley Power. (Note: this author has lived in Santa Clara for 49+ years, but not because of low electricity rates.)

CoreSite provides power distribution and backup on power failures, which includes:

  • Standby Generators
  • Large Scale UPS
  • Resilient Design
  • Power Quality
  • A/B Power Delivery
  • Six 9s Uptime

CoreSite also provides physical security, including:

  • 24/7 On-Site Security Personnel
  • Dual-Authentication Access
  • IP DVR for All Facility Areas
  • Perimeter Security
  • Equipment Check-In/Out Process
  • Access-Control Policies (Badge Deactivation, etc.)

CoreSite’s MTDC Network Access and Topology

There are 28 network service providers and cloud on ramp providers, including eleven unique fi ber providers, which maintain a presence in the CoreSite Santa Clara MTDC campus. The purpose of that is to enable customers to share fi ber network/ cloud access at a much higher speed and lower cost than would otherwise be realized via premises-based network/cloud access.

While the names of the all the network and cloud service providers could not be disclosed, some of the network operators included: Verizon, AT&T, Century Link, and Zayo. In addition, AWS Direct Connect, Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute, Alibaba Cloud, Google Cloud interconnection and other unnamed cloud providers were said to have provided direct fi ber to cloud connectivity for CoreSite’s Santa Clara MTDC customers.

Here is how connectivity is provided within and outside the CoreSite MTDC:

The SMF (Single Mode Fiber) or MMF (Multi Mode Fiber) from each customer’s colocation cage is physically routed (under raised fl oor) to a fi ber wiring cross-connect/patch panel box maintained by CoreSite. The output fi bers from that box are then routed to a private room where the network/cloud providers maintain their own fiber optic gear (fiber optic multiplexers/switches, DWDM transponders and other fi ber optic transmission equipment) which connects to the outside plant fi ber optic cable(s) for each of the respective network/cloud service providers.

That arrangement facilitates very quick and easy access to a diff erent network operator/cloud service provider if the customer wants to switch providers.

The outside plant fiber fault detection and restoration are done by each network/cloud provider- usually via a mesh topology fi ber optic network or 1:1 protection switching or N:1 hot standby. CoreSite’s responsibility ends when it delivers the fi ber to the network/cloud service provider colocation cages. They do, however, have network engineers that are responsible for maintenance and troubleshooting all of the wiring/connections within the CoreSite MTDC when necessary.

Enterprise Network Access via the CoreSite Interconnect Gateway

For remote access, CoreSite offers an Interconnect Gateway- SM which provides their enterprise customers a dedicated, high-performance interconnection solution to reach their cloud and network service providers. This CoreSite’s Interconnect Gateway directly integrates enterprises’ WAN architecture into CoreSite’s native cloud and carrier ecosystem using high-speed fi ber and virtual interconnections. This is shown in the illustration below courtesy of CoreSite.

The CoreSite Interconnect Gateway includes:

  • Private network connectivity from the Enterprise to the CoreSite data center
  • Dedicated cabinets and network hardware for routing, switching, and security
  • Direct fi ber and virtual interconnections to cloud and network providers
  • Technical integration, 24/7/365 monitoring and management from a certified CoreSite Solution Partner
  • Industry-leading SLA (Service Level Agreement)


After the talk and tour, I received many compliments and thank you notes from IEEE ComSocSCV and Power Electronics members. Indeed, network connectivity, power savings and up time are certainly the two biggest features delivered by MTDC providers. Below is one such comment from a longtime colleague.

Comment from Craig Matsumoto, Data Center Networking Analyst at 451 Research:

“Alan, thanks for arranging the CoreSite MTDC tour. It’s always good to get a view of where the bits actually flow. So much thought has to go into the physical, practical things, like supplying power … it was interesting to hear that power substations built specifically for data center usage have become a trend (they were saying Silicon Valley Power (SVP) was able to do something like that because of that corridor of data centers running along Central Expressway in Santa Clara, CA.) Great stuff – many thanks!”


Slides of the IEEE/CoreSite Presentation and Tour: Multi-Tenant Data Centers can be downloaded for free from: