Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Telx and Carrier Ethernet Exchanges

By Lisa Huff

Telx defines itself as “The Interconnection Company,” so it’s no surprise that it is the leader in the emerging Carrier Ethernet Exchange market. What is most interesting to me is how simple Telx has made their Ethernet Exchange connection. I recently saw this first-hand at its 111 8th Ave NYC data center.

But first, what exactly is a Carrier Ethernet Exchange? It occurred to me that this question needed to be answered when I was on a panel on this subject at OFC/NFOEC. While many of the attendees should be interested in what they are and how they are progressing, they didn’t seem to be. The Metro Ethernet Forum’s formal definition of an Ethernet Exchange is “an interconnect point among service providers where Carrier Ethernet Services are exchanged.” This really just means that if you’re an end user, you want this service so you can have a direct Ethernet connection. Today, most enterprises are still encapsulating their native Ethernet data into TDM/SONET/SDH then de-encapsulating it at the other end. However, more and more, end users are seeing the benefits of Ethernet Services and perhaps eventually, the entire public network may be running native Ethernet.

While Telx is best known as one of the premier wholesale co-location providers, it was also at the forefront of Ethernet exchanges.  Telx is a carrier-neutral data center co-location provider and has several facilities around the New York metro area which enables it to supply seamless Ethernet connection not only between carriers, but between any of its co-location enterprise customers as well. Its Ethernet Exchange services have a range of options depending on customer’s needs. It charges by the port and can connect customers at 100 Mbps, Gigabit or 10G data rates through its Cisco ASR 9000 equipment. Telx expects to incorporate 40G as needed – probably not until 2012/2013 timeframe, though. No equipment is oversubscribed and low latency options are available for premiums.

Telx considers Equinix and CENX its main competitors in the Ethernet exchange market. While it is rather difficult to quantify this market, Ethernet exchanges services are expected to have around a 20-percent CAGR over the next five years starting at 100’s of millions of dollars in 2011. Plenty of revenue to support the few entrants that have decided to focus on it so far.