According to Data Center Knowledge, wholesale colocation data center center company DuPont Fabros is dipping its toes into the retail market, with cabinet level leases available in New Jersey and northern Virginia.
DFT joins Digital Realty Trust in exploring this market - Digital began offering smaller space increments, now under the moniker of Turn Key Flex, some time ago. Digital offers modular units that are a megawatt or more of IT power capacity, not rack scale units.
DuPont's focus on New Jersey makes obvious sense to me, with reports of something of a tech boom in the New York City metro region, and of course the always hopping financial services sector. Lots of small tech (and probably financial) firms opt for cabinet level colo, so they should have success there.
Northern Virginia lives off of the government and defense sectors in Washington DC, and it was my impression that customers were therefore much larger, requiring the wholesale space that is the bread and butter for both DFT and Digital.
Colos have been a difficult market for utility energy efficiency programs, and none more so than the retail sector. Most of the EE measures for data centers require the cooperation of whoever runs the rack, from selection of equipment and technologies, virtualization, and on to airflow management. When the cabinet manager is renting from the facility owner, the split incentives tend to stymie cooperation on efficiency.
But if these market moves mean new construction, utilities can still play a big role promoting economization and premium efficiency equipment (for cooling and power distribution).
As far as economic development, retail colo gets built near potential customers - they aren't built where is land is cheap and power almost free. So, good news for utilities in established colo markets, but not opportunity for those trying to attract data center development in non-traditional areas.