Long the exclusive domain of Equinix, Virginia will be on the receiving end of another major IX provider. Colocation provider EvoSwitch announced that it will partner with the London Internet Exchange (LINX) to deploy an Internet Exchange point of presence at its Virginia data center.
The agreement makes EvoSwitch’s WDC1 data center the first of a projected three data centers to develop LINX USA, the company’s U.S. footprint and its initial foray into a position as a multi-site Internet Exchange provider (IXP). LINX currently operates an Exchange in London, which is one of the largest Internet exchanges in the world. EvoSwitch CEO Eric Boonstra said that the development of a carrier-neutral Internet Exchange is an important component of a more interconnected North American data center and colocation system. The Internet Peering system in the U.S. lacks the sort of neutral, public infrastructure that has come to be a dominant, progressive force in many European markets.
“Before we launched into the north Virginia market, we already knew we wanted a strong, neutral Internet Exchange partner to provide our customers with best-in-class peering services,” Boonstra said. “Over time, it will provide our network and content provider customers with real choice on where to colocate, because their peering needs can be met from anywhere in any given metro market.”
Open-IX Fueled by Industry Support
LINX CEO John Souter described his company’s agreement with EvoSwitch as a promising directive stemming from conversations that began in November 2012. Talks between the two companies preceded the formation of Open-IX, a community-driven effort to enhance Internet and peering environments in the U.S., with the idea that more interconnected data center design methods will foster business opportunities beyond the data center real estate market. Data centers and IXPs are well-positioned for collaboration in this area.
“There is a strong demand for a change in the way networks interconnect across the United States. Neutral, multi-site IXPs where peers are members with a clear say in running the Exchange as stakeholders, provide real choice,” Souter commented. “They add resilience in the network, reduce latency and ultimately lower the cost of exchanging Internet traffic, which in the end stimulates growth which benefits all.”
Since its inception in early 2013, Open-IX has focused on the reformation of Internet interconnectivity in the U.S. Citing the lack of neutral Internet exchange points and unfulfilled potential for data center operators to increase competition while reducing complexity, the self-regulatory Open-IX group proposes investment in and standardization of Internet Exchange environments. A survey they conducted in April of this year found that demand is high for such environments in many of the country’s top data center locales.
It appears that EvoSwitch and LINX were correct in their decision to target Northern Virginia, as 73 percent of respondents indicated a high or moderate need for Open-IX peering in this market. Demonstrable need is also high in Los Angeles (79.4 percent indicated a high or moderate need); Chicago (78.7 percent); New York/New Jersey (73.5 percent); Silicon Valley (72.7 percent); and Miami (69.7 percent).
Service Providers Investing in Internet Exchanges
The Amsterdam-based EvoSwitch isn’t the only company upping its profile under the Open-IX initiative. Digital Realty Trust, a data center services provider headquartered in San Francisco, recently unveiled the Digital Open Internet Exchange, which like LINX aims to create a neutral, interconnected peering environment that offers a wider swath of options to the thriving Internet business community. The company plans to offer data center infrastructure and services in conjunction with endorsed IXPs in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. They will initially be targeting Northern Virginia data centers as well as facilities in the New York metro area.
“This initiative establishes the optimal exchange environment, making it possible for Internet service providers (ISPs), content delivery networks (CDNs) and content producers to interconnect with their peers as well as to other exchanges from our data centers at a significantly lower cost than they pay today, while also improving the quality of service they can provide to customers,” stated John Sarkis, Digital Realty vice president of connectivity and carrier options.