Data Center POST interview with Joe Zhu, Founder and CEO, Zenlayer

By Contributing Editor Michael Egan

Joe Zhu is Founder and CEO of Zenlayer, an edge cloud services provider headquartered in Los Angeles and Shanghai. Businesses utilize Zenlayer’s software-defined platform to instantly enable worldwide connectivity and deliver a superior user experience. Prior to founding the company, Joe was the SVP of Global Business at ChinaCache. In this role, he built the global business unit of China’s largest CDN (content delivery network) provider from scratch. He has also served as Director of Network Operations at China Telecom (USA), where he oversaw China Telecom’s North American network operations and led the development of China Telecom’s global peering policy.

In advance of ITW 2019, Joe sat down to chat with Data Center POST about Zenlayer’s milestones and services and discuss what the company hopes to achieve at this year’s event.

Data Center POST, Michael Egan (DCP-ME) Question: What does Zenlayer do and what problems are you solving?

Zenlayer, Joe Zhu (Z-JZ) Answer: Zenlayer provides edge cloud services that help businesses improve global user experience by lowering latency and improving network reliability.

The first step in lowering latency is to be physically closer to the user. We offer over 100  edge Points of Presence (PoPs) that not only cover developed regions, but also saturate emerging markets such as China, India, Indonesia, Russia and beyond. The other component of our solution is to interconnect our PoPs to form a global private network that ensures resilience and avoids public Internet congestion.

Today’s businesses often face fast-changing demands from consumers. By offering IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) products that are instant-provisioning and pay-as-you-go, we give businesses the flexibility to meet demand surges without having to pay for resources they don’t use regularly.

DCP-ME Q: What do you attribute to Zenlayer’s success?Z-JZ A: I believe that our relentless focus on meeting the needs of customers and our team’s can-do attitude are the keys to our success. Even if we aren’t the smartest, we certainly are the most hardworking.

DCP-ME Q: What milestones did you achieve in the past year and how will these developments help Zenlayer keep up with the demands of the quickly growing and ever-changing telecommunications industry?

Z-JZ A: According to Gartner, software-defined wide area networking (WAN) is disrupting the enterprise-managed network services space. We launched our SD-WAN service in the past year to help enterprises simplify their increasingly complex wide area networks. We combine our private global backbone with various last-mile connections to deliver a secure, reliable and low-latency WAN to businesses. This deployment was a natural extension of our core focus on improving the user experience.

As 5G becomes mature and enables technologies that demand massive bandwidth to thrive, the need for edge computing will surge as well. We have built a team to develop applications that optimize computing and networking services at the edge.

DCP-ME Q: Sounds like Zenlayer is doing a fantastic job preparing for the arrival and proliferation of new technologies. What are you most looking forward to accomplishing over the next year? The next 3-5 years?

Z-JZ A: Over the next year, we plan to begin using big data to help inform business decisions for customers, such as predicting how much demand there will be for certain apps as well as where that demand will come from.

In the next 3-5 years, we hope to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into our network planning, operations and optimization. By using AI to monitor network data in real time, predict events that require intervention and provide a solution automatically, we can dramatically lower operational costs and achieve better results.

DCP-ME Q: What would you like to accomplish at ITW 2019?

Z-JZ A: We would love to meet with partners, including carriers, managed service providers, value-added resellers and beyond. We hope to enable partners to diversify their portfolio and reach new customers.

DCP-ME Q: Thanks so much for the great insights into Zenlayer’s success and services, Joe. Joe and the Zenlayer team will be attending ITW 2019 in Atlanta from June 23-26, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency and Marriott Marquis hotels. For more information about Zenlayer, please visit