Data Center POST interview with Ivo Ivanov, CEO, DE-CIX International

By Contributing Editor Michael Egan

Ivo Ivanov is Chief Executive Officer of DE-CIX International, the world’s leading Internet Exchange (IX) operator with the fastest-growing IX in the New York metro. DE-CIX is on a mission to change the way people and businesses view exchanges. Instead of following the original data center-based business model of relying on colocation, which necessitates remote equipment and cross-connect charges, DE-CIX builds neutral interconnection platforms to simplify the process. In his role, Ivo is responsible for the company’s global business activities. Ivo leverages over 15 years of experience in the regulatory, legal and commercial internet sphere and joined the DE-CIX team in 2007. Since then, he has been deeply involved in the establishment of several DE-CIX sites in Istanbul, Madrid, Marseille, New York, Dubai, Dallas and more.

In preparation for ITW 2019, taking place June 23-26, 2019 in Atlanta, Data Center POST sat down with Ivo to chat about DE-CIX products and services and explore what the company is hoping to accomplish at this year’s event.

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

DE-CIX, Ivo Ivanov (DC-II) Answer: Ever since its inception, DE-CIX has been motivated by the ambition to both improve the quality of the internet through better digital infrastructure around the globe and to grow new markets. This ambition remains just as valid today as we pave the way for the 2020’s and 2030’s. In the digital world of today and tomorrow, access to global data flows is as essential for business as the provision of electricity was for the industrial world. DE-CIX, and its customer base that interconnects over DE-CIX’s ever-growing global family of Internet Exchanges, brings connectivity to the world, and will continue to provide access to information and digital services to an increasing number of developed and developing markets in all corners of the world.

DCP-ME Q: What are you and the rest of the DE-CIX team most looking forward to accomplishing over the next year? The next 3-5 years?

DC-II A: To date, we have created and are growing eighteen Internet Exchanges on four continents, including Europe, North America, the Middle East, and India. Our goal for the coming years is to enable new and existing ecosystems in all major telecommunications markets across the globe. The geographic coverage of DE-CIX, paired with the variety of our interconnection services, will allow connected networks, whether they are acting regionally or globally, to get DE-CIX interconnection services customized to their needs from a geographical perspective and in terms of their respective business models.

DCP-ME Q: What do you think is the greatest challenge in the industry and how is DE-CIX working to overcome it?

DC-II A: We are on the cusp of a completely new age in global economics, with organizations redefining their activities and their sectors on the basis of digitization. As they become more digital, organizations will need a new interconnection service regime for their new services. New and transformative technologies, like the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and 5G are accelerating the pace of change in markets around the globe.

Long and well-established digital companies are changing their business models and going into new sectors. The classic network operator as the historical core customer of DE-CIX is no longer just a network operator: tech companies are entering different sectors and the variety of different products is increasing. We no longer have the clear delineation of network operators that we had even five years ago.

However, it’s not only the digital companies that are transforming. Old industry is redefining itself and its products in the digital era. Organizations are leveraging their digital strength to reshape their own business models, in turn transforming how business is done within and across entire sectors, including the automotive/mobility, healthcare, finance, and media sectors.

Classic network operators as we know them today are historically the core for DE-CIX, and remain key to DE-CIX’s activities. However, we see a need for new interconnection services for enterprises, paired with cloud connectivity and with global capacity interconnection needs.

Digital markets demand high-performance, flexible, and customized interconnection. For this reason, the DE-CIX platforms and ecosystems need to be able to cater to and deliver a variety of different services. The interconnection regime in the future will require flexibility in terms of different interconnection models and will need to cater to different types of capacity needs, such as peering, cloud connectivity, security services, and many more.

To satisfy modern enterprises’ requirements for reliable, high bandwidth, and secure connectivity within their exclusive supply chain networks, DE-CIX is preparing the ground for the “Enterprise-IX”. Enterprise-IX will tailor the benefits of the cutting-edge DE-CIX Apollon connectivity platform to the requirements of digital enterprises, with specialized security services, SLAs, and easy-to-manage connectivity to distributed production facilities and corporate partners. The goal of Enterprise IX will be to generate greater value for verticals through world-class connectivity, allowing them the freedom and flexibility to optimally profit from the digital revolution.

DCP-ME Q: That definitely sounds exciting. What other new developments are on the horizon for DE-CIX?

DC-II A: DE-CIX is an established Cloud Exchange with 50+ certified CSP (cloud service provider) partners, including not only the big hyperscalers, but also the smaller regional and local cloud service providers. Together with our partners, we want to push cloud connectivity into the spotlight and be an active player in the cloud community.

Our DirectCLOUD service provides the customer with private access to CSPs with just one connection, bypassing the Internet to remain fast and flexible. To underpin our  claim of “Easy interconnection. Anywhere.” you can go to our website, select whichever services, features, or certifications you need and get a list of CSPs and services that are available via DirectCLOUD, depending on the location where you have access to DE-CIX.

The number of our CSP partners is constantly growing and this growth will benefit our customers too.

In December 2018, we launched a new product called DirectROUTES. With DirectROUTES, a customer can get direct access to high-quality networks with a restrictive peering policy. Even with small bandwidth requirements, we can offer a direct access to those networks, just via an additional VLAN. No additional contract negotiations are required, and both bandwidth and cancellation terms are flexible according to customers’ needs.

The first network available via DE-CIX DirectROUTES is Comcast, America’s largest Cable TV and Internet service provider, which serves more residential broadband subscribers than any other U.S. provider. Comcast don’t peer at Internet Exchanges, making this an ideal opportunity to get direct access into Comcast’s AS7922 eyeball network.

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

DC-II A: ITW is a great opportunity to meet partners, friends, customers and industry fellows. In 2019, we want to highlight the whole universe of interconnection services DE-CIX offers. No matter what your needs are – from peering via cloud to enterprise solutions – we make interconnection easy. We also want to highlight our 25 years of experience in the business and say “thank you” to our 1,800 connected ASNs from 100 countries.

ITW is also a great opportunity to support our North American IXs in New York and in Dallas. We want to strengthen New York’s position as a gateway – both to the North American markets, but also as a gateway to Europe. In addition, New York is important for the traffic coming from South America. More South American networks peer at DE-CIX New York than at any other exchange in the region. Due to the interconnection with Seaborn (the Seabras-1 low latency cable, the first direct route between São Paulo and New York) and our reseller partners, the number of South American networks will continue to grow.

DE-CIX Dallas is THE neutral interconnection for the Southwest. We currently have 50+ connected ASNs there, which makes DE-CIX Dallas one of the top 20 IXs in the U.S. The region has technology in its DNA and our global presence is a perfect match in supporting this. Dallas will also become an important gateway for Mexican carriers, so we see a lot of potential there.

DCP-ME Q: Thanks so much for these great insights into the inner workings and accomplishments of DE-CIX, Ivo. Ivo and the DE-CIX team will be attending ITW 2019 in Atlanta from June 23-26, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency and Marriott Marquis hotels. To learn more about DE-CIX, please visit