Data centers have become the backbone of the Digital Revolution in the face of a data boom fueled by an increase in online activity and the adoption of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things, and Big Data. In this context, Willinn stands out as a crucial strategic partner, backed by 30 years of experience in adapting to the changing demands of the market. In this interview with Federico Touriz, Head of Mission Critical, we talked about how the company has consolidated as an innovative leader committed to corporate growth through innovation and constant evolution.

 

“With the Surge of Artificial Intelligence, the Demand for Available Computing Capacity Is Becoming Increasingly Relevant”

 

 

In a scene where the long-reaching arms of technology affect all business sectors, guaranteeing operational continuity, mitigating risks, and optimizing resources become paramount for corporate progress. Which are the solutions offered by Willinn to face these challenges?

 

Our objective is to assist companies in their digital transformation process or when taking the plunge into today’s digital information world. We acknowledge the critical importance for companies to maintain operational continuity, which is why we have adopted an advisory stance, side by side with our clients. With over 30 years of experience, we are aware of the challenges involved in transitioning to digital and we focus on understanding the needs of each client to help them adopt process-optimizing technologies.

 

Which are the advantages of being located at a business park like Zonamerica?

 

Being at a technology park translates into plenty of benefits for our data center service. For instance, our specific location offers additional security levels, with up to four or five security rings, as the case may be. Also, being part of Zonamerica reflects our commitment to protect the environment, which forms an integral part of our corporate philosophy and is evidenced in all aspects, including the design of our data centers, where we apply strict environment-friendly criteria.

 

Another differentiating factor is our energy infrastructure. Our location at the park allows for our data centers to be powered from our own substations, managed by our infrastructure team.

 

Willinn’s certified data centers are powered from different substations to guarantee stand-alone power supply, which ensures redundancy and operational continuity. This setting allows us to perform scheduled maintenance tasks without service interruption, maintaining operating capacity even during unforeseen events. This is a specifically relevant approach in the region, where energy stability is crucial.

 

What was the motivation behind your decision to adhere to the Uptime Institute certification standards?

 

In addition to already complying—in our opinion—with many security requirements, including environmental commitments, which are inherent to Zonamerica, we decided to be Uptime Institute-certified on account of their strict security standards. Uptime Institute certifications are also highly regarded by clients in the global market, and we knew that following this path would help us gain significant competitive edge.

 

To give further context, we check sources, such as Data Center Map, that offer information about data centers worldwide, and then cross these data with the list of Uptime Institute-certified data centers. The Uptime Institute offers different levels of certification, including design, construction, and operations. As to construction, we are the only fully-certified TIER III data center in Uruguay, which sets us apart from other options. In other Latin American countries, as Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Brazil, the number of data centers with tier certification of constructed facility is significantly lower compared to the total of constructed data centers, which attests to our outstanding position in the region in terms of quality and security in data center infrastructure.

 

How do the data centers you mentioned above work, considering that they are located in Uruguay, Colombia, and the United States?

 

Although we currently have four data centers in Uruguay, one of them is for exclusive use of a specific client, so we will exclude it from our broader analysis. We have presence at a Tier IV data center in Colombia, and also at the NAP (Network Access Point) of the Americas, located at the Equinix Data Center in Miami. The NAP of the Americas is a key exchange and interconnection point of international networks that connects Latin America with North America and Europe.

 

We have connected all of our locations in Uruguay, Colombia, and the NAP of the Americas. This allows us to access Colombia from both the Pacific and the Atlantic through the NAP and vice versa. An additional advantage of having presence at the NAP is that we are able to connect not only with other international network access providers, but directly with several public cloud providers. In addition to offering colocation and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) services, we are also providers of our own public cloud. Our data centers have a two-fold function: on the one side, we offer colocation and IaaS services, and, on the other hand, we back up our cloud services.

 

To give you an idea of our size in Uruguay, we currently have +156 racks and +600 square meters built.

 

Are all Willinn data centers certified?

 

In Uruguay, in addition to having TIER-certified data centers, Willinn also has other data centers designed and constructed with the highest redundancy levels, which, despite not being certified, ensure service availability. This occurs since some companies require to be hosted at certified data centers, while others prefer options that do not necessarily have this certification.

 

Some companies choose to put their production environments at certified data centers, while having their test environments at data centers not required to be certified. This strategy creates a balance between price and quality, which optimizes clients’ investments.

 

Which are the differences between TIER III and TIER IV certifications in terms of design and redundancy for data centers?

 

At TIER III certification level—the one adopted in Uruguay—, minimum guaranteed availability stands at 99.987%, which equals to a maximum of 1.6 hours of data center downtime per year. On the other hand, in TIER IV certification, which we implemented in Colombia, minimum guaranteed availability is 99.995%, allowing for no more than 26.3 minutes of annual data center downtime. Although both levels require redundancy of critical components, a slightly higher level of redundancy is necessary under TIER IV certification.

 

Also, TIER IV certification implies that the facilities and infrastructure have been designed to withstand natural disasters and adverse events. Given that Uruguay does face significant threats, such as earthquakes or tsunamis, the need for a TIER IV certification is not relevant in this context.

 

Uruguay offers favorable geographical, strategic, political, and weather conditions, which led us to choose a TIER III-certified data center as an appropriate solution for the region. On the contrary, in Colombia, where conditions are different, we have installed racks at a TIER IV-certified data center to ensure even higher levels of availability and redundancy.

 

What value does Willinn add compared to the competition?

 

We stand out for being a multicarrier data center, which means that we work with different providers that give us access to internet independently, in addition to our direct connection to the NAP of the Americas. Today, we have a specific selection of carriers that can be adjusted based on the needs of each client. As technology advances and demanded services evolve, we adapt our carrier network accordingly.

 

How is it possible for Zonamerica and Willinn to be a neuralgic center for the industry?

 

Zonamerica and Willinn complement each other to offer a wide range of services. For instance, in terms of connectivity, in addition to being multicarrier, we have direct access to the NAP of the Americas. This not only reduces latency, but also improves user experience, in particular for software companies that aim at the North American market. This direct connectivity with the United States is crucial and spare companies from incurring in the high costs associated to the installation of data centers in that country or the hiring of US cloud services.

 

Willinn also offers different connection options, including technologies as MPLS and SD-WAN. In addition, we provide cyber security solutions, offering protection against denial-of-service attacks and allowing traffic analysis. Our services go beyond simple colocation or IaaS since we offer comprehensive solutions that strengthen our clients. Many companies want to protect their information, but lack the infrastructure necessary to face cyber security incidents, and that is when we come on the scene. We have our own cloud infrastructure, which allows us offering services adapted to the needs of each client. Not all start-ups, fintech, and knowledge-base businesses have the resources to invest in their own data center equipment or infrastructure.

 

For those clients looking for more comprehensive solutions, we offer IaaS services and, also, cloud options to specifically focus on software development. In Uruguay, we have three data centers: Data Center I, Data Center II, and Data Center Jacksonville, and we also have capacity to offer services in Colombia. Also, through the NAP of the Americas we have access to the main public cloud providers, such as AWS, Google, and Azure.

 

What technical solutions are necessary to face the exponential growth of AI?

 

With the surge of Artificial Intelligence, the demand for available computing capacity is becoming increasingly relevant. Beyond the popularity of tools such as ChatGPT, it is worth noting that behind this AI there is a significant need for computing and storage capacity. As time goes by, free-to-use artificial intelligence solutions raise concerns for companies that while intending to make the best use of these advances still want to protect the confidentiality of their information.

 

Consequently, companies are investing in technology to implement large language models (LLM) in private infrastructures with high security levels, which gives them certainty that their confidential information will remain in their own infrastructure. This approach requires a robust infrastructure capable of providing storage and processing capacity sufficient to ensure service availability. At Willinn, we are planning and designing upcoming data centers with capacity to meet this emerging demand. All the above attests to our commitment to innovation and technological progress, reflecting the distinctive DNA of Willinn and the Zonamerica Group.

 

 

 

 

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