By Sarah Chamberlain, contributing editor for Data Center POST
For many, accessing the Internet is as natural, and arguably as crucial, as taking a breath. The world at large thrives on the “network of networks,” which has grown as a means of communication, a place for acquiring information, a source of entertainment, a workplace and beyond. The Internet’s foundational methods of interconnection and traffic management, transit and peering, and the exchanges that provide them have also gone through changes as the web has grown and morphed. Historically in the U.S., exchanges have been data center-based, leading to a tendency to require costly colocation over less expensive peering or transport methods. However, as the neutral exchange platform has grown in popularity, the perception of exchanges is changing.
DE-CIX, the world’s leading internet exchange (IX) operator with the largest and fastest-growing IX in New York, 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.
DE-CIX is rooted in a web of networks that connect clients from across the regions into their exchanges in areas such as Frankfurt, New York, Dallas, Madrid, Dubai and more. In Dallas, one of the largest and most active data center markets in the U.S., DE-CIX is catering to a range of data centers both within the Dallas metro and beyond where originally there was simply one IX operator serving one data center. The company is spreading the ability to peer in the region as well creating opportunities to come in through transport, ultimately creating access to more networks, more cost-effectively opening markets to be more accessible and competitive.
Instead of a traditional transit approach, which utilizes multiple network hops to reach content networks, peering networks enable layer 2 connectivity more directly and cost effectively. For instance, a smaller wireless internet service provider (WISP) has the ability to connect to DE-CIX over transport from outside regions into key markets and peer with all the same content owners, but on layer 2, SLA-backed connectivity. This method allows for low-latency, one-hop, competitive routes that can provide connectivity as good or better than transit networks or tier 1 networks can offer. Unless tier 1s sell transit to smaller networks, their performance may be diminished due to multiple network hops. With this, the DE-CIX platform is effectively expanding opportunities for networks in critical markets across the globe, particularly smaller networks that need better or more equal access to cost-effective, reliable network connectivity.
Making solutions like these more accessible, which were previously obscured by data center companies focused on selling colocation or space and power, is key to unlocking the potential of enabling and expanding network reach throughout metropolitan markets. Neutral peering and transport options, like the solutions from DE-CIX, are improving networks across the board—even ones that aren’t necessarily local to major metro markets. With smarter interconnection solutions, companies decrease the cost of connectivity while improving the quality, ability and accessibility to other networks. DE-CIX’s successful operation of the largest IX in the world (Frankfurt) and achievement of the second largest IX on the American East Coast (in just four and a half years) is a testament to neutral exchanges’ status as the best option for enabling the networks of the future.