Ethernet equipment

Are 'Carrier' Ethernet Exchanges Dead?

3:30 PM -- NEW YORK -- Ethernet Expo Americas 2011 -- Two of the leading Carrier Ethernet Exchanges say it's time to do a business plan reset -- and to drop the "Carrier" part of their titles.

I was sharing a podium with Jim Poole, general manager of global networks for Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX), and Glenn Calafati, vice president of interconnection services for Telx Group Inc. , in an Ethernet Expo session where they agreed that their companies should be considered just-Ethernet Exchanges -- points of interconnection for data centers and cloud services, and not places where carriers will interconnect their Ethernet networks to reach more customers.

For enterprises, exchanges can be central points to create the connections for cloud services, since users of those services can be literally anywhere. For service providers, exchanges could help deliver on-demand bandwidth to support their cloud offerings -- both Poole and Calafati said those tools exist today.

With more data migrating to the data center, as part of cloud offerings, there will be additional network capacity needed, and exchanges are one way of getting quick access to the necessary bandwidth, Poole argued.

So, Calafati said the one thing he would like to see is more public awareness of just-Ethernet exchanges, minus the "carrier," because he believes that new perception is more in line with reality.

Is this a case of trying to explain away the lack of widespread success of Ethernet exchanges among Tier 1 carriers, and to jump on the cloud bandwagon? Maybe. But there is also a track record for both Telx and Equinix in meeting enterprise demand for connectivity, and as those connections are increasingly made to data centers, the shift in stated strategy makes sense.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:49:28 PM
re: Are 'Carrier' Ethernet Exchanges Dead?

We have dual homed bandwidth in our 2 data centers and an Ethernet over SONET link to one of them (we have a Layer 3 wireless broadband backup for that).  Our internet POP for the office is actually out of one of our data centers.

One other thing to note here, we actually have a VPN connection to every "appliance" we put in customer premises via OpenVPN (which runs on top of Layer 3).

For all of this Layer 3 has huge advantages, in particular it is insensitive (cost wise) to distance and has universal access.  In other words, I have "appliances" that I talk to in Ho Chi Min City over OpenVPN.  That is very tough over Carrier Ethernet.  If I am working on NFL cities, maybe but beyond that it is very hard.

Now, I love my layer 2 connection to my one data center.  Level 3 had a burp yesterday (and they are one of our layer 3 providers) and we had no issues (as we are dual homed).  But we have seen bigger Internet flaps which we could tell apart from our own issues because of our Layer 2 connectivity to the one data center.

As we expand geographically, we have to evaluate what is the best way to dual home.  One of the cheapest ways I have found is to use our colo provider's bandwidth exchange.  As we are involved in mail processing, we can support lots of users on a lot less bandwidth than you might imagine.  So, I plan to use the Ethernet Exchange concept in the data center as a way to access bandwidth brokering at Layer 3.

Hope that all made sense.



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