Data Center Opts for Dumb Pipe
Instead of buying more services from telecom players, ViaWest is choosing to operate its own infrastructure and accommodate growth through dark fiber. Last week, the company announced plans to buy packet optical transport gear and Network Operations Center services from Cyan Inc. (See ViaWest Deploys Cyan.)
The Cyan gear will be used on both carrier circuits and dark fiber, says Barry Dykes, chief strategy officer and vice president of engineering for ViaWest. Operating his own gear enables Dykes to accommodate the rapidly growing traffic among ViaWest's data centers more economically. He can buy a single 10Gbit/s pipe and use the Cyan gear to segment it into usable chunks rather than buy 10 individual GigE segments from a carrier, and he can buy dark fiber to accommodate multiple 10Gbit/s circuits.
But the real issue, Dykes admits, is one of trust. ViaWest offers a 100 percent service level agreement and is finding it's better to build its own internal expertise than to count on telecom service providers.
"I was finding that sometimes carriers didn't live up to our expectations," Dykes says. "Experience has told us a lot of times the carriers don't necessarily know where their own pieces are, circuits and such. We are really big about digging through all the details because the details matter -- that is where you get hurt."
With multiple carriers coming into each data center, Dykes finds it's better to have a dedicated group of employees who keep track of what the company is buying and from whom, and protect against overlap or vulnerabilities. The additional money spent on staff and expertise is offset by reduced spending on carrier services.
The data center/collocation business is booming, in part because a weakened economy has dampened the interest of many businesses in building their own facilities, when they can buy facilities as needed, according to Dykes.
Frank Wiener, vice president of business marketing at Cyan, sees ViaWest as indicative of a trend. As more large businesses look to data centers and cloud services, they are lighting up more transport traffic and looking for less expensive ways of doing it. More of them are considering doing it themselves.
"They can lease dark fibers from different providers to get route diversity," Wiener says. "And they already have staff on site 24/7 at the data centers that can handle problems. They don't have to wait 20 to 30 minutes for a service provider to respond."
Cyan is facilitating that trend by offering NOC services, which ViaWest is buying. Although also designed to help smaller telcos, the Cyan support can enable enterprises to do their own transport thing as well. (See Cyan Aiming High With Management Play.) — Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading