Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tier 2 Cities Get Much Needed Edge Data Centers®

By Lisa Huff

The Internet edge network is primarily located in Tier 1 cities. These municipalities are defined as Tier 1 because they contain Internet Exchanges (IXs). IXs or peering points are physical points in the network where carriers and some content providers interconnect their networks. Originally, there were only a handful of these Tier 1 exchanges in the US. Now, Discerning Analytics (DA) would consider the following metropolitan areas Tier 1 markets:  Atlanta, Boston, New York City, Washington DC/Ashburn, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Palo Alto/San Jose and Seattle. In addition, Phoenix, Houston and Las Vegas may soon be considered Tier 1. Just a review of the following table will show you why. It lists what DA currently considers Tier 2 markets. Some, like Phoenix, Houston and Las Vegas, already have sizeable IXs, while others do not. Those that have smaller or no IX would benefit from an interconnection service as well as an Edge Data Center®.

A Cross-section of Tier 2 Cities with Local Content Data Centers and Internet Exchanges
Size (sq-ft)
Data Center/IX Providers
Current Communications Service Providers
Known Content Providers

AT&T, CenturyLink, Cogent, Cox, ICFN, Integra, Level 3, XRP, Windstream, XO, Zayo
Akamai, Cox Communications, Google
IO Phoenix
Hibernia Networks, IO Data Centers, Layer42 Networks, TSIC, Login
Limelight Networks, Mozilla, TripAdvisor
Phoenix IX, Telx Phoenix, Carpathia, CyrusOne IX, Swiftway
Over 20 network providers
Akamai, CloudFlare, Limelight Networks, Microsoft, TripAdvisor, Highwinds, Symantec
CenturyLink, Comcast, Integra, Point to Point Communications, Sprint, XO, Zayo
San Diego
CenturyLink, Cogent, Cox, Level 3, Sprint, TelePacific, Verizon, XO, Zayo
Cox Communications, Google, Level 3
AT&T, CenturyLink, Cogent, Comcast, Integra, Level 3, Windstream, XO, Zayo
Comcast, Level 3, Netflix

AT&T, CenturyLink, Comcast, DFS Fiber, FPL FiberNet, Level 3, Rail America, Verizon, XO, Zayo 
Comcast, Level 3
Over 30 network providers
Amazon, Level 3
Jacksonville Internet Exchange (JXIX), GoRack Datacenter
Avesta Networks, GoRACK, FPL Fibernet, Joytel Wireless, Nodes Direct, Packet Clearing House, twtelecom, Volume Drive
Akamai, Google, Level 3, Comcast
Level 3
Level 3, Cogent
Level 3
CenturyLink, Comcast, Level 3, Windstream, Zayo

365 Data Centers
AT&T, Bright House, CenturyLink, Cogent, FiberLight, FPL FiberNet, Level 3, TSIC, Verizon, XO, Zayo
Akamai, Netflix, Level 3, Earthlink, Time Warner Cable, Verizon
WOW!business, Tampa IX (TPAIX)
WOW!, FPL FiberNet, 
Level 3
Level 3, Cogent
Level 3
DR Fortress Exchange
Over 10 network providers
Akamai, Microsoft
Detroit Internet Exchange (DET-IX), 123Net
123Net,, Active Solutions Group, Clear Rate Communications, LightSpeed Communications, ManagedWay Company,, Riverfront Communications, US Signal
A2 Hosting, MohoHost,, Easy Online Solutions, LightSpeed Communications
AT&T, CenturyLink, CenturyTel, Cogent, Comcast, ComLink, Level 3, TelNet, US Signal, Windstream, XO, Zayo
Comcast, Level 3
Midwest Internet Cooperative Exchange (MICE), Cologix
Over 30 network providers
Akamai, Google, Netflix
Kansas City
Kansas City Internet Exchange
1&1 Internet, Google Fiber, Hibernia Networks, Hop Off a Cloud Networks, Hurricane Electric, KanREN, MOREnet, Northern Lights GigaPOP, TSIC, Wholesale Internet
Google Fiber
St. Louis
365 Data Centers
Over 10 network providers
OmahaIX, Nebraska Colocation Centers (NCC)
Over 40 network providers
Akamai, University of Nebraska at Omaha
High Desert Internet Services, Packet Clearing House, Roller Network, Tahoe Internet Exchange, Verisign
Akamai (pending)
Las Vegas
Cogent, Cox, Integra, Sprint TelePacific, XO, Zayo
Akamai, Cox Communications, Google
SuperNAP (Nevada NAP)
Over 50 network providers, Box, FusionStorm, Limelight Networks, Microsoft, Mozy
Buffalo Niagara International Internet Exchange, Data Centers Canada, ixColo
ClubMessage B.V., Fiber Networx, TeraGo Networks, WIN
Google, Yahoo!
Equinix, Sungard, zColo
ATX Communications, Coretel America, DBSi, GTT, Hibernia Networks, Hotwire Communications, Inerail, Internap, Sting Communications, Xand
Netflix, EdgeCast Networks (now Verizon)
Cogent, Comcast, Integra, Zayo
The Pittock Internet Exchange, Northwest Access Exchange, ViaWest, EasyStreet, LightPoint
More than 60
Akamai, Google, Netflix
CenturyLink, Cogent, Comcast, DQE, Fibertech, Level 3, Sunesys, Windstream, XO
Comcast, Level 3
Comcast, Windstream, XO, Zayo
Comcast, Cogent, Level 3, NESnet, Windstream, Zayo
Comcast, Level 3
CyrusOne IX Austin
CyrusOne, Google Fiber, Inerail, InfoWest, Internet FX, Syringa Networks, Tonaquint Data Center, Veracity Networks
Google Fiber, Mozy, WebNX
Alpheus, AT&T, Cogent, Level 3, Zayo
Akamai, Comcast, Level 3
CyrusOne IX Houston
Comcast, CyrusOne, Southeast Texas GigaPOP/Rice University Wolfe
Comcast, Microsoft, Netflix
Salt Lake City
AT&T, CenturyLink, Comcast, Integra, Level 3, Utopia, Verizon, Windstream, XO, Zayo
Comcast, Level 3
Google Fiber, Inerall, Level 3
Google Fiber
Cogent, Cox, Level 3, Lumos Networks, Windstream, XO
Cox Communications
Comcast, FiberLight, Level 3, Lumos Networks, Summit IG, Windstream, Zayo
Comcast, Level 3
RVA-IX, Pixel Factory Data Center
Cogent, Comcast, Level 3, Pixel Factory Data Center, VA SkyWire, Global Web Solutions, Windstream, Zayo
Akamai, Comcast

This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but to demonstrate a few co-location data center companies that are addressing the content delivery issue in smaller municipalities. EdgeConneX leads the way. In fact, Edge Data Centers is EdgeConneX’s registered trademark. However, others like Cologix and 365 Data Centers are beginning to realize the business potential of providing content delivery nearer to the end users – or as some in the industry would say “closer to the eyeballs.” In addition to those that we mentioned above, some of these other cities, including Jacksonville, Austin, Buffalo/Niagara, Portland, Tampa, Detroit, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Richmond and even Omaha and Reno have actually formed new formal Internet Exchanges to help facilitate improved interconnection and content delivery. But, that really is not enough. While local peering points will facilitate local traffic, only edge data centers will alleviate overburdened content delivery network connections to Tier 1 points – where the content for many applications reside.

It is important to distinguish the difference between a Tier 2 edge data center and a co-location data center in a Tier 2 market. The main difference is that the Tier 2 edge data center truly moves the edge of the network closer to the end user – so the content is housed within this data center as opposed to being delivered from the “nearest” Tier 1 city. For example, EdgeConneX has an edge data center in Salt Lake City because its clients/tenants are delivering content directly from it to the consumers in the area. So far Comcast and Level 3 are the only content providers, but we expect to see many more based on relationships they have in other cities – like having Google in their Phoenix data center. In contrast, ViaWest has several co-location facilities in Salt Lake City, but no product for interconnection of content providers outside the greater Salt Lake City Area.  That content comes from Denver, Chicago or Minneapolis where ViaWest connects to an Internet Exchange or content delivery network (CDN). There is an obvious advantage to having the content closer to you – in this instance; any of your video-on-demand programs from Comcast would load faster with less distortion because there is a much shorter distance that the signal has to travel.

CyrusOne is tackling the content delivery issues a little differently. They have launched a product known as National IX. Its marketing material claims its National IX “can be more resilient and deliver a better connection to your clients when connected to CyrusOne’s top-tier, highly redundant facilities using National IX.” This service really just connects all of CyrusOne’s data centers, which means if Netflix is one of its tenants, other tenants could connect to them. It still does not deliver data from the immediate area – it is not an edge data center. While Cologix and 365 Data Centers have content providers in their data centers, they do not have a concerted effort (at least that we can tell) to do this in all of their data centers. 

It would be nice to be able to watch a Netflix movie without it freezing up or quitting all together because it has to travel on a shared network for more than 300 miles to get to the television. For many end users today, on-demand viewing can be very frustrating. All Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets would benefit from having true edge data centers. Hopefully, we will be seeing more co-location data center suppliers rising to the challenge of delivering them as well as more content providers taking space in them.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

More Weather Excuses Coming?

Friday's disappointing jobs report has many analysts asserting that weather contributed to the low numbers.  However, if this were really the case, wouldn't that have been factored into more forecasts?  

Either way, cloud and data center providers really have little reason to bring this up, though mother nature often finds a way of reaching the oddest corners of the economy during earning calls.

It will be interesting to see the breakouts when the state and metro data is released.   Through January, seven states - Arizona, Florida, Nevada, California, Texas, North Carolina, and Washington - had accounted for over half of the country's 3 million new jobs over the previous 12 months.   There were no weather reasons for hiring to slow down in these locations during March.   Moreover, the Northeast Corridor, from Virginia to Maine, had only contributed 13% to national job growth over the year through January 2015.   So how could bad weather have accounted for total job gains that missed expectations by more than 50%?

-David Gross

Friday, April 3, 2015

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Data Center Optics - TIA Data Center Workshop and 7x24 Exchange Delaware Valley Chapter Meeting

 By Lisa Huff

I just finished a quick trip to Arlington, VA and Philadelphia, PA to participate in two events:
TIA Data Center Workshop and 7x24 Exchange Delaware Valley Chapter Meeting. Both had excellent discussions about the role of optics in the data center.

The panel I moderated at the TIA Workshop had representatives from Microsoft, Google, Dell and Sumitomo. The discussion brought home to me the fact that there is a large gap between the needs of the small, medium and even large enterprise data center and the needs of Internet Data Centers. The chart below, that was provided by Dell, tries to summarize the point.

Here in 2014, we still have many enterprise data centers that run 1G servers with uplinks of 10G. At the same time, Microsoft is moving from a combination of 10G and 40G servers with uplinks of 40G and 100G, to pushing for 25G servers to connect to one 100G top-of-rack (ToR) switch-port (a breakout cable). And, Microsoft is also currently working on 400G and above for the rest of its data center network. Clearly a vast difference in Ethernet application.

The diversity of data center needs will continue to broaden over the next five to ten years so the IEEE is trying to address this in its Ethernet standards development. Data rates like 2.5G, 5G, 25G and 400G are now being considered in order to address both ends of the market "spectrum." Pun intended.

At the 7x24 Exchange Delaware Valley meeting, I discussed this trend and more from our recent study on data center optics. Here is a link to a copy of the presentation.

More to come later on trends in data center optics.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Review of Data Centre World London 2013

By Lisa Huff

I haven’t attended an AFCOM Data Center World Conference in almost five years because when I did, my impression was that the exhibits were not well attended by would-be clients of the company I was working for at the time. In fact, that year, we saw only two potential customers in our booth. People that have attended it recently have told me much of the same. They received less than a handful of good prospects to target.

Fast forward to 2013 when I’m temporarily living in the UK and have an opportunity to attend Data Centre World in London. I was pleasantly surprised to find, in my opinion, a much better event – and it was free for qualified attendees! Perhaps that was the difference. I found the conference program to be comparable to AFCOM’s and the exhibit floor to  be much more crowded. The other refreshing thing was that while software defined networks (SDN) were mentioned, they were not the overwhelming theme. The program stuck to its intended subject matter, the data center market, its networks, facilities, clouds and hardware.

Some of my observations from attended presentations and visits to some of the booths:

  • Data center space demand throughout the world is expected to level off within the next five years due to server virtualization. SSE Telecoms showed this chart to illustrate this:

               It was reiterated by CBRE in its presentation – a snapshot is below.

    • More than 75% of network traffic stays within the data center. Thus the trend to higher data rates and flattening of the data center network.
    • The vertical market customer drives data center needs. In other words, if you’re a healthcare organization, your data center may look much different from a state/local government data center.
    •  “Shadow IT” is driving change in local area networks (LAN) and data centers. Bring your own device (BYOD) forces company networks to be more open to the employees using them, but poses possible security issues for the IT department.
    • Co-location is slowly becoming the norm for even smaller businesses due to the expenses associated with maintaining ownership of the data center.
    • Many connectivity vendors were there and they seemed to be getting healthy traffic in their booths. Some that I visited were 3MBrand-RexCommScope,CorningDraka/Prysmium GroupFujikuraHellermannTytonLynx Data Cabling,MethodeOrtronics and Telegรคrtner. All were showing either copper and fiber solutions (or both) for the data center.

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    Colocation Data Centers Structured Cabling Trends

    As companies look to embrace cloud computing or backup their existing data centers, many are evaluating colocation as an option.  With this increased demand, colocation data centers are popping up all over the world and becoming a larger part of the overall data center market.  In 2013, the colocation sector is expected to account for about 25-percent of the structured-cabling data center market. During the work to develop the structured cabling forecast for the soon to be released Bishop & Associates report, "Structured Cabling Technology and Market Assessment," we had the chance to talk to project managers that are responsible for implementing 10,000 - 20,000 sqft build-outs in colocation facilities. It was clear to us that a few key trends have emerged:
    • Whenever possible contractors recommend the use of pre-terminated copper and fiber cabling.  The benefits of utilizing these components include cost reduction, on-time delivery and the project is easier to manage.
    • Although they are installing MPO cassettes on some jobs the cost premium often scares customers away.
    • More OM3 fiber is being installed than OM4.  The up-sell to OM4 is difficult since OM3 covers the distances that are typically seen in these facilities (300m at 10G).
    • A majority of the copper cabling is being installed is Category 6. 

    A typical colocation lease averages about eight years.  Since the clients don't know what their requirements will be in this timeframe, they are less likely to make decisions that "future-proof" the installation for reuse with upgraded active equipment.  Tight budgets further preclude the addition of higher performing cabling products.  They would prefer to re-cable in the future than to pay for it now.  Since many of these installations are based on Top-of-Rack (ToR) architecture, re-cabling is viewed as a much simpler thing to do than to install new equipment when the cabinets are stuffed full of cabling. In view of this, we project that Category 6A and Category 7 cabling will only see very slow growth and that OM3 will be the mainstay over the next few years.