In a previous Interconnections article, “The UK Internet: How Its Evolution is Driving Higher Performing, Scalable and Reliable Interconnection,” I took the reader back in time, tracing the evolution of the UK internet, from its earliest beginnings, to its position today as one of the world’s major digital hubs. We looked at new drivers for geographic resilience, highlighting the shift in internet services from best efforts, to services that place high availability and high performance at their core, and these trends continue.
The geographic resilience we discussed in our first article was the first step in the evolution. Step two involves a familiar approach for the telecom and network industry, which is the use of dual vendors/suppliers. This approach is well understood. However, up until very recently, it hasn’t been adopted within the field of internet peering. That is starting to change, and in a number of markets we see the trend towards a multi-internet exchange (“multi-IX”) strategy gathering speed.
A multi-IX platform/vendor strategy can help network and content providers achieve resilient peering in the following ways:
- Platform resilience protects against software bugs or other operational issues that may affect a single IX provider, but not the alternate provider
- Administrative resilience, using two internet exchange providers in a given country or metro market, insulates network and content providers against any sudden changes in provider status
- A healthy competitive environment, where services can be consumed on a pair of internet exchanges, ensures that pricing is robust, driving IX providers to innovate in their home markets
- Extended internet service reach, using of a pair of internet exchanges, can help a provider expand its services into new ecosystems of consumers and potentially improve quality of experience by reducing the physical distance between the service and the consumer over proximate, low-latency Interconnection
In other words, a multi-IX strategy is a clear direction with clear benefits for customers.
Take The Priceline Group (Nasdaq: PCLN) for example. As a leader in global online hotel reservations, with over 235,000 participating hotels worldwide, Priceline needed to expand its existing IT infrastructure. It wanted a Tier 3 or better rating, carrier neutrality colocation with access to the top telecommunication players and the ability to develop internet peering relationships. Priceline deployed in the Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) facility in the Washington, D.C. metro area to access the communications and ISP providers it needed to expand its reach. According to Ken Jones, Senior Vice President of Technology Operations, The Priceline Group, “Thanks to peering, our response times, particularly to the West Coast, have improved significantly. And by utilizing a virtualized architecture in the Ashburn facility, we have reduced our server count by 40 percent and our power consumption by 50 percent.”
Taking internet Interconnection to the edge
Today’s internet services not only need to be delivered by a wide choice of internet service providers (ISPs), but they also require the support of the most robust of multitenant and Interconnection platform partners that enable ISPs to come together out to the digital edge, where commerce, population centers and digital ecosystems meet. Choice, Interconnection solutions, a competitive marketplace and open, vendor-neutral ecosystems are foundational elements for the development of digital economies. This is especially true within the field of internet peering, as the digital edge takes shape for any business.
As the industry adopts new digital architectures, what might be the next evolution in peering? A number of converging trends point toward a strengthening in regional peering. Consider the myriad of services that may appear within the next five years: the Internet of Things (IoT), connected city, connected car, tactile internet, and others that will come on the back of technology and bandwidth enablers like 5G and g.Fast digital subscriber lines. The performance requirements for these new services may simply not allow a centralized peering architecture around a single metro area.
A multi-IX model that has proximity, low-latency and a high quality of experience in mind will need to be established, such as regional peering. Regional peering satisfies proximity demands between ISPs and their customers. It also creates even greater resilience in service delivery.
The global digital economy is transforming at an unceasing rate on the back of converging trends in internet, cloud, mobility and IoT. Internet peering and internet exchange services sit at the heart of this revolution as key foundational elements. Diverse service platforms and regional peering are the latest architectural shifts that Equinix is helping to support.
Learn more about the Equinix Internet Exchange ecosystem.