Jaguar Network, a provider of hosting services with a data center in France, has become the first company to get an Open-IX certification outside of the US.
Open-IX is a non-profit that certifies internet exchanges and data centers based on a set of standards it has devised. Founded by Google, Netflix, and Akamai, among others, the organization is tasked with providing a neutral mechanism through which to evaluate the robustness of an internet exchange facility.
Open-IX has gained some traction in the US since it was founded, primarily with wholesale data center providers looking to boost interconnection value of their facilities, and with European internet exchange operators looking to expand to US markets. How well the standard will do outside of the US remains to be seen.
One of the main reasons Open-IX was started was to create robust alternatives to the handful of data center providers in the US that control nearly all major internet exchanges and have become the default go-to exchange operators. Another reason was to create distributed exchanges in the US that span multiple data centers, which is a popular model in Europe.
Certifying a data center in France indicates that Open-IX has global ambitions. In its press release, Jaguar referred to the certification as a “global standard” – a kind of language Open-IX have steered clear of in the past.
Gabe Cole, board liaison and chair of the Open-IX Data Center Standards Committee, said Jaguar was first in what will soon be a series of certifications of international data center operators.
Via a private network, its data center in Marseille is connected to over 30 interconnected data centers, serving customers in France, Africa, and the Middle East.
“There are now 24 to 25 data centers that have been OIX-2 certified in North America,” Cole said. “One of the reasons that we started this process in the first place is because we noticed that internet performance was a little better in Europe than in the US.”
Based on a self-assessment made by the data center operator, OIX-2 certifications are bestowed after a committee reviews those documents. Once approved, that data center provider is then listed in a directory of OIX-2 providers Open-IX makes available to IT organizations evaluating internet exchanges.
Next up, the organization plans to put a complaint process in place, through which a data center operator might actually lose their certification if enough complaints are substantiated, Cole said.
Naturally, anything involving certifications engenders a lot of heated debate among data center operators, providers of the certifications, and the IT organizations that make use of data center facilities. Self-assessments can only be relied on to a point.
But sending people that are qualified enough to independently verify those assessments is cost prohibitive. In the absence of those hands-on assessments, there comes a point where selecting an internet exchange provider still comes down to trust and reputation.