DE-CIX provides premium interconnection services and operates several neutral Internet Exchanges in Europe, India, Asia, the Middle East and North America. We’ve made an interview with Bulent Sen, DE-CIX, Regional Director for Turkey about the company history, future plans and the industry.
Could you please tell us a brief history of the DE-CIX? What services does DE-CIX provide?
DE-CIX is the world’s leading Internet Exchange (IX) operator, provides premium interconnection services and runs more than 20 carriers and data center-neutral IXs globally. Founded in 1995, DE-CIX serves 1800+ carriers, ISPs and content networks from 100+ countries, including all leading international players in various metro markets in Europe, the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia and North America. With 8.3 Terabits per second of peak traffic, DE-CIX Frankfurt is the world’s leading Internet Exchange.
Since the company was founded in 1995, you have been through much as the technology advanced and the industry grew. What were the milestones in your story?
Until 1995, data streams between different providers had to cross the Atlantic twice – even when the sender and receiver were only a few kilometers apart. Whether in 1995 or 2020: The basic systematics of peering has not changed until today. Internet service providers, network operators, content delivery networks, carriers, and companies exchange their data traffic in this cost-neutral way.
They use our Internet Exchanges to transport data from one network to another and finally to the recipient via the fastest route. However, the technical infrastructure has changed massively. Transfer speed is one example of change: 25 years ago, the standard connection at DE-CIX was a 10 Mbit/s line via Ethernet. Today, this has increased ten thousand times to 100 Gbit/s. If desired, even up to 400 Gbit/s are possible.
From 2000 onwards, the growth of DE-CIX continued. In 2003, a third site was opened in Frankfurt, another one three years later. In the following years, further Internet Exchanges followed in Hamburg, Munich, and Dusseldorf. This development has not lost momentum until today. In 2018, we reached another milestone with our new site at the Kleyerstrasse campus in Frankfurt. It was a major relocation of over 450 customers during live operations – similar to an open-heart surgery.
More than 15 kilometers of fiber optic cable was laid during the migration. Patchy McPatchbot, a special helper, turned out to be of great assistance: The world’s first patch robot used by an Internet Exchange automatically finds the right ports and has been of great service since then. It has proven to be so successful that two more patch robots have started working at DE-CIX up until today. But even with the most modern technology: Without the performance of the employees, mammoth tasks like these could not be accomplished.
DE-CIX DirectROUTES service offers direct access to Comcast. What are the advantages of this access for customers?
Utilizing direct, Layer 2 access to Comcast’s network, an opportunity only available through DE-CIX DirectROUTES, allows businesses to improve their network quality by lowering latency, augmenting control, eliminating packet loss and throughput issues due to congestion and optimizing their routing table. This service is especially beneficial for small or medium businesses that are not normally able to gain access to larger high-quality networks due to small bandwidth requirements.
Customers connected to DE-CIX’s New York and Dallas exchanges, as well as remote customers from the company’s Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Dusseldorf, Marseille, Madrid, Lisbon, Dubai, and Istanbul locations, can leverage fast and simple setup. Businesses that are not yet connected to the DE-CIX platform can have the service up and running in a matter of days. The DirectROUTES service is delivered under the standard DE-CIX terms and conditions and thus eliminates the need for further contracts.
As stated by Dan Spataro, director of infrastructure operations at Linode:
“Having a direct connection to a network the size of Comcast’s gives us a distinct advantage over other cloud providers. DirectROUTES allows us to skip over the middleman — something unique to Linode — instantly reducing latency and improving throughput for our customers who get their Internet connectivity through Comcast. We pride ourselves on providing the best price to performance cloud in the market, and DirectROUTES plays a significant role in making this possible.”
DE-CIX has announced its further expansion in South East Asia with a new Internet Exchange in Singapore. Could you give more detail about this expansion?
For 25 years, DE-CIX is renowned for creating interconnection hubs around the world wherever customers need us, hubs that are secure and easy to access. DE-CIX Singapore, as the heart of the ASEAN region, is just the next logical step we are taking in our international expansion. Whilst Singapore has been a major content hub for the region over the last decade, the key content and cloud-computing players have started to extend their footprint throughout ASEAN. This will pave the way in our further expansion in the region for creating a robust and secure interconnection ecosystem, with more to come in the next year or two.
There are millions of users around the ASEAN markets who both local and international operators want to have access to. The demand for low latency and the huge traffic volumes driven by video, payment, gaming, and other applications – like on-demand and live streaming of sports – is huge. We are looking in getting DE-CIX Singapore launched in the second half of 2020.
This year is special for DE-CIX, as the company is celebrating its 25 years jubilee. What is your celebration message?
One of the most important factors that have driven the development of DE-CIX over the last 25 years: The interconnection ecosystem that is emerging and growing around the Internet Exchange. In 1999, the number of connected networks at DE-CIX had already grown so rapidly that the Cisco switch used at that time had to be moved to the Interxion data center on Hanauer Landstrasse, Frankfurt. Only two years later, a second switch with redundant fiber and electricity connection was installed there.
At that time, Interxion was not a data center in the classic sense. But we got along well with each other right away and were able to get six carriers into the building within half a year. What has already become apparent here has determined our entire company history ever since: Without You – our partners, customers, employees, and other visionaries – we would not be where we are today. This is the way we celebrate our 25 years. The main hub is a designated jubilee website where we celebrate 25 years of excellence in interconnection together with our partners such as Angola Cables, Interxion, Nokia and Axians.
What is required for infrastructures to cope with the ever-growing demand for data volume and speed?
Due to the ongoing transformation in digital enterprises, the shift of data and computing processes to the cloud, streaming in increasing resolutions, and new fields of technology such as 5G, artificial intelligence or the Internet of Things, data traffic is currently increasing at an exorbitant rate. Andrew Sturm says:
“Without outstanding interconnection, technologies like the Internet of Things or autonomous driving cannot be realized. Our infrastructure enables us to distribute loads at peaks, minimize the risk of downtimes, reduce latencies, and help our customers scaling their business models.”
Minimal latencies are particularly important for future technologies. “It’s less about volume than about quality. The closer you are to the client physically, the shorter the data packet runtimes.” That is why DE-CIX is increasingly present in Germany and beyond – be it through its own facilities or partnerships, e.g. in Berlin and Moscow. At the same time, the reach of the individual Internet Exchanges is expanding – not only in Germany but also on a global level.
DE-CIX has joined CoreSite’s Open Cloud Exchange. What does this collaboration mean for DE-CIX and CoreSite?
Through the CoreSite SDN-based Open Cloud Exchange, which provides a single port into a layer 2 Ethernet switching platform, customers can now reach DE-CIX New York to access over 220 networks through a single interconnection. CoreSite customers in Boston and Northern Virginia can now provision connections to DE-CIX to reach networkwithouts not available in each local market. Through CoreSite’s Open Cloud Exchange, customers gain easy access to global and specialized networks through a single interconnection. Through a connection to DE-CIX New York, CoreSite customers gain more than just access to hundreds of domestic and international networks.
A connection also enables the ability to use DE-CIX’s GlobePEER Remote service, which extends low latency connectivity and reach to DE-CIX Frankfurt and other exchanges with access to over 1,200 networks throughout the world seamlessly, effectively and more cost-efficiently. CoreSite customers can utilize an existing port on the Open Cloud Exchange or provision a new port to access DE-CIX New York, among other leading cloud and IT service providers. Access to DE-CIX New York can be ordered in bandwidth increments from 1G to 10G.
Comcast is the first network-available via DE-CIX DirectROUTES. What are your future plans for DE-CIX DirectROUTES?
At the moment we are talking to several other large networks – more to follow in due course.
Do you have any additional suggestions, comments for the industry?
As a result of the continuing digital transformation of companies, the migration of data and processing workloads to the cloud, streaming content in higher and higher resolution, and new technology areas like 5G, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things, data traffic is currently growing massively. What is especially important for future-oriented technologies is the lowest possible latency, and having the data close to the customer. Here, it is more about quality than volume. The more local the set-up, the shorter the data packet transit times are. Our goal is to further improve the Internet ecosystem, and to simplify access to it.
DE-CIX is working on the development of solutions based on the consideration of the three key factors 5G, AI and IoT. Software-defined Internet Exchanges may well be a solution not only to fulfill these requirements efficiently and rapidly but also to enable fast and inexpensive expansion of the interconnection sector with less dependency on hardware. Software-defined infrastructures will also bring more growth and encourage greater productivity. The DE-CIX success story will continue.
And lastly, you are DE-CIX’s Turkey Regional Director. Could you please provide information about DE-CIX’s position in the Turkish market?
We are celebrating DE-CIX’s 25th year but also our 5th year in Turkey. We’ve entered the market in 2015 with the support of the Information and Communication Technologies Authority and established Turkey’s one and only Internet Exchange under DE-CIX Istanbul, connecting the two continents -Europe and Asia. It has been a very successful 5 year in Turkey. Today, all major Turkish operators are connected to our platform.
We have reached peak traffic of 200G, a first in the market, and have connected our first 100G customer last year. We also offer DirectCLOUD service which enables our customers to use their existing access to DE-CIX to connect to several cloud service provides, just via an additional VLAN to the DE-CIX Cloud Exchange. We are happy to see the high interest of our customers in Turkey and proud to be the first team to sell the DirectCLOUD service within the DE-CIX Group.