Data Center POST recently sat down with Franck Simon, President of France-IX. Franck shared the company’s plans to continue growing its network and customer base, leveraging its unique services marketplace. He also explained how France-IX’s Marketplace, which offers a range of services for operators, CDNs, ISPs and enterprises, relates to the traditional business model of internet exchanges.
A neutral and independent organisation, France-IX is based on the non-profit association model which enables all members to vote on strategic decisions, ensuring the neutrality and longevity of the internet exchange point (IXP). Founded in 2009, France-IX aims to ease the exchanges of data, communications and transactions on the internet, providing both French and international operators and service providers with transit through Paris and Marseille.
Data Center POST, Kathy Xu (DCP-KX) Question: We understand France-IX has 19 remote peering partners, extending the footprint across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Do you have plans to continue expanding and if so, how and where?
France-IX, Franck Simon (FI-FS) Answer: Absolutely! Eleven new partners have joined us in less than a year, which brings the total to 19 active resellers. These partners develop ‘remote peering,’ which gives users the ability to peer without a physical presence in one of our PoPs. This is very important for us because we cannot deploy our infrastructure in all the data centres in France, Europe or other regions alone. These partners leverage their networks to bring new peers directly to our platforms in Paris and Marseille. Some of them are here at Capacity Europe 2017, so we take this opportunity to salute their trust and efforts: AFR-IX, Angola Cables, BICS, Enter, GTT, ielo-liazo, Interoute, RASCOM, RETN, Telecom Italia Sparkle and Zayo.
Basically, our network of resellers gives us a virtual presence in 41 PoPs across France (France-IX has a total of 11 PoPs in France) and in 244 PoPs internationally. This means that France-IX is now reachable in 285 PoPs worldwide. For our prospective members, remote peering enables a fast deployment in a new market and can answer different network transition strategies. In general, this is the perfect solution for companies looking to reduce their network costs and avoid immediate capital costs.
As the peering market keeps growing, we plan to continue welcoming many more new resellers next year. Some of them come naturally to us because of short-term customer demand, and some of them are identified by us because our prospective members tell us which partner they would like to work with, so it is a two-way process. Our interests are in France, of course, in regions and cities that are underserved today, as well as in Europe, where demand is already high, and in the Middle East and Africa, where demand is growing rapidly.
DCP-KX Q: How does France-IX’s Marketplace disrupt the classic IXP business model?
FI-FS A: The classic IXP business model is currently based on charging recurring fees for peering ports. The France-IX Marketplace disrupts this model by allowing peering members to additionally buy any type of IP services, including IP transit, anti-DDoS, Cloud Direct, paid peering to access exclusive networks, VPN services, SaaS, remote peering and network traffic intelligence solutions.
Specific pricing is proposed for the partners connected via the platform in order to sell their services. Meanwhile, peering members can use the IXP’s private VLAN service to request their interconnection with the sellers of interest, and buy services from them.
France-IX not only attracts operators, CDNs and ISPs, which are the natural players for an IXP, but also corporate companies wanting to buy premium cloud services, IP transit connectivity, anti-DDoS and security services all in one place. For such enterprise networks, an IXP with a marketplace, such the France-IX Marketplace, is used as a facility to optimize costs and Internet connections. Tier 1 operators such as Orange, TIS Sparkle, and Zayo, which are not usually connected on IXPs because of very closed peering policies, have now joined France-IX to gain access to and provide these services through its Marketplace.
DCP-KX Q: What new developments are on the horizon for France-IX?
FI-FS A: Anticipating Internet traffic growth and maximising the performance of our network is always first on our priority list. Right now, we are finalising the deployment of our network infrastructure, which will allow us to meet our members’ expectations in looking for reliable and always more affordable Internet exchange services. So yes, we are planning to reduce our prices again in January 2018, which we have done for the last three years, and we intend to keep our service availability as high as possible, at 99.99 percent, as in 2017.
We plan to continue developing new services on the Marketplace to always meet market demand and keep the program as innovative as possible. We also have numerous high-priority automation projects. To be able to grow our ecosystem by 50 new members per year and keep a lean and agile organisation requires a high-level of automation throughout our processes, from pre-sales to provisioning. Finally, to support our strong growth, we are looking for new talent in 2018 for business development, marketing, network engineering, network operations and DevOps, so spread the word!
DCP-KX Q: What would you like to accomplish at Capacity Europe?
FI-IS A: Capacity Europe has become an important milestone for us over the past few years because it allows us to meet with our current European and international members, resellers or marketplace partners at C-level in the carrier/service provider world, not to mention find new opportunities. We are pleased to see more and more OTT/CDN/content professionals joining the event as well.
DCP-KX: Thank you for taking the time to discuss the industry and what the future holds for France-IX with us, Franck.
Our conversation with Franck shows the importance of nurturing business and service partnerships, not just to satisfy the needs of current customers with more and better IP services, but to reach a broader global market. By providing those services through a marketplace platform, companies like France-IX are upending the traditional IXP business model and delivering enhanced value to their customers and partners alike.
For more information about France-IX, visit www.franceix.net.