Everything You Need to Know About DC11: Q&A with Data Center Guru Jim Farmer

Phil Schwarzmann


The Washington, DC area plays an important role as a strategic hub for IP traffic exchange across the Eastern U.S. and as a communications gateway to Europe. To support growing network traffic in this area, Equinix has opened the latest addition to our IBX data centers, DC11.

This is our eighth facility in the Washington, DC area since Equinix first established a presence here in 1999. With DC11, we’ve expanded the largest Internet exchange in North America while extending the industry-leading capabilities of Platform Equinix where more than 4,000 companies choose to run and grow their businesses.

To find out more about DC11 and the Ashburn campus, I spoke with Equinix resident data center guru Jim Farmer, Director – Americas Marketing.

So give us the DC11 overview

The newest edition to our massive Ashburn campus, DC11, is basically an extension of the campus. We built our newest IBX to stay ahead of the current demand. Equinix purchased 40 acres very close by the campus for projected demand.

How is DC11 unique?

A couple factors: The high density of networks. Close to 200 networks are connected there on the campus. Which represents roughly 10,000 cross connects on the campus! That speaks highly for the desire for interconnectivity, but also speaks of the robustness of the ecosystems that lives there. Whether you need a local, regional, or international network provider, they’ll all be in our Ashburn campus.

There’s a large concentration of cloud service providers in the Equinix Ashburn campus. Which is very significant to the ever growing demand on outsourced business services. With the recent announce of NetApp for Amazon Direct Connect at Equinix, represents another chapter in our customers evolving economical business models that leverage the value of Equinix. More importantly, the continued success story of the Ashburn campus and DC11.

There are several Ad-IX exchanges that have ignited a whole new way of serving the advertising and media business community. Leveraging the high concentration of quality global networks at the Ashburn campus, new video exchanges, banner exchanges, and online advertising are growing and proliferating at an accelerated rate. Advertising Exchanges are the newest development of ecosystems that are flourishing at the Ashburn campus. Simply said, this is a one of the newest reasons why customers are using the Equinix Ashburn campus.

Lots of data going through the Equinix campus?

It’s the largest peering point in North America of IP traffic. Somewhere around 400 gigs of IP traffic, that’s globally significant. That’s another reason why Ashburn is considered the centralize hub of connectivity. A true testament of why we’re staying ahead of the demand curve- because it’s there! Our value proposition is exceptionally strong,” the Epicenter of Connectivity for North America”.

For all of our customers, the entire campus is a cross connect away to reach buyers, sellers and partners! All the campus buildings are interconnected together. We look at DC11 as an extension of the campus. If a network provider is in DC6 and a cloud provider is in DC11, they can easily cross connect to each other. Or if an enterprise wanted to use Amazon Web Services public cloud offering, once again… it’s only cross connect away on the whole campus. This is very powerful in terms of efficient compute power and storage and is a clear business reason why our customers choose Equinix! The is a dynamic combination of proximity and performance!

So it’s like an expansion on a house?

It’s more like a new wing on a mansion.

[Laughs] SE3 in Seattle was all about being your portal to Asia. DC11 is all about the fact that EVERYONE is here, and you should be too.

That’s right. The Seattle and DC markets are different. Seattle has a high concentration of cloud and content providers and networks. There you have trans-Pacific cables, where you can reach the Asia-Pacific market. While the Equinix campus is known as the IP hub of the mid-Atlantic seaboard, it is the largest IP traffic hub in North America and the gateway to Europe.

What’s new about the DC11 building itself?

We always employ the newest infrastructure technology that makes the data center run more efficiently. DC11 very green. For example, we have open air ventilators that optimize the cool, ambient air from outside when the condition are right! This translates to reduced operating costs and being environmentally friendly corporate citizen.

We also use cold aisle containment, it’s very effective for two ways – we’re not cooling warm air, and we’re not re-cooling cool air. So our data centers are highly efficient. These type of technologies are becoming more standardized as we build our data centers.

Is there stricter security since we’re just outside the nation’s capital?

Yes. We’ve increased our security standards by installing a large security fence all around the perimeter. We’ve beefed it up with security personal onsite and more external monitoring. Let’s just say it’s very secure. [laughs]

What’s the history of the Ashburn campus?

It started with one building. DC1 in about 1999. It was one of Equinix’s first data centers ever. We provided colocation services, peering and access to lots of networks. And that model still exists today. The core value proposition has really not changed over time. What has changed is the way customers buy, and what they buy. Ashburn campus went from networks connecting to networks, to enterprises connecting to networks, to enterprises connecting to cloud, financial, and the list continues on and on….

Final thoughts, Jim?

Equinix…The Epicenter of Connectivity!!!!!