Everybody is talking about ChatGPT; an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that has dominated the news for more than a year. This web-based application provides answers to questions, or prompts, in seconds. In many cases, ChatGPT’s responses are accurate and helpful.

However, ChatGPT must be scrutinized because its information can be incomplete, misleading, or incorrect. Like a know-it-all who corners you at a cocktail party, ChatGPT may provide an answer that sounds good but may not be factual.

We decided to put ChatGPT through its paces by asking some questions about a subject we know well – colocation. We asked the AI tool 3 questions. The responses came back immediately and were mostly helpful. We graded the responses using the following scale. The tool got an “A” for answers that were factually correct and helpful. A “B” grade was earned for answers that were probably true but not well supported while we gave ChatGPT a “C” for answers that were incorrect.

The History of Colocation

The first question we asked was “What is the history of colocation?” ChatGPT did a respectable job answering this question. It provided a synopsis of the computer industry starting with mainframes in the 1950s. It asserted that colocation came into being in the mid 1990s, after PCs and the Internet became ubiquitous. By that time companies were looking for cost-effective and scalable solutions to house their servers. Colocation reduced capital expenses and saved money. We gave ChatGPT an “A” for the quality of its answer to this question.

Next, we asked “What is the history of colocation in the state of Connecticut?” The answer to this question was not as helpful. ChatGPT produced some well-written paragraphs that stated it did not have much additional information about Connecticut’s colocation history. It did note Connecticut’s history of innovation and the high concentration of financial services companies as factors contributing to the growth of colocation in our state. This response earned a grade of “B.”

Finally, we asked “Can you provide the names of the first companies to offer data center colocation services in Connecticut?” Here is where the AI tool came up short. First it made an excuse that it did not have access to any real-time data because its database only includes information collected before January 2022. Then it offered the names of 3 prominent colocation service providers that we know were not among the first in Connecticut.

Chat GPT acknowledged its answer was weak and admitted that it did not have any specific information about the first colocation service providers in Connecticut. It suggested referring to historical records or industry publications. Though it was somewhat forthcoming about how little it knew, we still believe it provided false information. It thus earned a “C” for its answer.

Colocation Pioneers in Connecticut

So which companies were the first to offer colocation services in Connecticut? We researched the web sites of the colocation service providers in our state to determine the following. The first colocation companies in Connecticut began providing these IT hosting services in the middle to late nineties. These pioneers were all small or medium service providers. One started in 1995, another in 1997, and a third in 1999. All three companies are still in the colocation business in Connecticut.

We learned the early history of CAPS from “Barky” (not his real name), a retired CAPS employee who visits our data center from time to time. He started his career at CAPS in 2000. Barky told us CAPS first offered colocation services in the year 2000. The company was founded 5 years earlier to provide business continuity services. These services provided alternate workspaces where clients could operate their businesses if their primary data center was not functioning.

CAPS’ first colocation services were delivered to large financial organizations that were legally required to operate continuously. The penalties for lost transactions were severe so these companies asked if CAPS could provide a “hot recovery” service. This led to the development of the colocation services that today constitute CAPS’ primary business.