Digital Realty Launching Open Internet Exchange Initiative

Data center developer Digital Realty Trust is seeking to create a global open-interconnect environment that it says will provide more cost-effective exchange options.

Jason Verge

August 22, 2013

3 Min Read
Digital Realty Launching Open Internet Exchange Initiative
One of the Digital Realty Trust data centers in Ashburn, Virginia. (Photo: Rich Miller)



A Digital Realty Trust data center in Ashburn, Virginia, which will be one of the sites for its new open Internet exchange initiative. (Photo: Rich Miller)

Data center developer Digital Realty Trust is seeking to create a global open-interconnect environment that it says will provide more cost-effective exchange options. The Digital Open Internet Exchange will be an open-interconnect and peering environment, borrowing from an open model of neutral and member-governed Internet exchanges that’s proven successful in Europe.

The company will operate as an endorsed data center partner with the governing bodies and endorsed IXPs (Internet exchange providers) in each of the major exchange locations in North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region. The initial rollout for Digital Open Internet Exchange will take place in the New York metro area and Northern Virginia, followed by deployment in several other U.S. markets.

“Digital Open Internet Exchange is a game-changer for the entire IP and networking community, and for our customers,” said Michael Foust, Chief Executive Officer at Digital Realty. “By creating a truly open Internet exchange environment, we are supporting the community’s desire for neutral exchanges that are more efficient and cost-effective than those available today. The end result for our customers will be immediate access to enhanced interconnectivity and Internet peering capabilities across the 33 markets in our global portfolio.”

The Digital Realty ecosystem provides customers with a neutral, connectivity-rich environment to connect with carriers, business partners and service providers. It also provides infrastructure for carriers and service providers to deliver products and services to customers in any Digital Realty data center, without capital-intensive deployment costs.

Sees Opportunity in European Model

"This is great for the entire industry – from the large CDNs, content providers and the end users,” said John Sarkis, Vice President of Connectivity and Carrier Operations at Digital Realty. “The current state of affairs, as an end user, is that service isn’t that great. In Europe, things run more efficiently and effectively. Here in North America the exchanges are very expensive to participate in. The community wants to produce a better product. The Internet community here in North America wants to adopt the open structure. As a data center provider, we have endorsed this."

Digital Realty Trust is the world's largest operator of data centers and Internet gateways, with 122 properties spanning 22.7 million square feet of space in 32 markets throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

That scale could offer opportunities in an open exchange ecosystem. Major European carrier-neutral Internet exchanges like AMS-IX in Amsterdam and DE-CIX in Frankfurt operate in a distributed model, with points of presence spread across multiple data centers. In the U.S., interconnection activity tends to be more centralized in particular buildings or facilities.

“We understand that the costs and limitations associated with connecting to the existing Internet exchanges in the U.S., as well as peer-to-peer interconnecting, are simply too high.” said Sarkis. “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.

"By empowering the community to take control of the way it operates the exchanges, we will enable organizations within business ecosystems - like-minded and vertical industries - to connect with each other in and across all of Digital Realty’s 120-plus global locations,” he added.

The open exchange idea has gathered a lot of momentum in the last 12 months.The criteria has been set, and with this move, Digital Realty purposely lined this up with ongoing initiatives in the market.

“We at Digital Realty are focusing on providing what we do best – the environment," said Sarkis. "The exchanges will be in data centers that help them grow. That's our role."

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