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Optical/IP

Dropbox Wants a Fiber Network of Its Own

Dropbox is launching a private fiber network to speed service reach internationally, according to a report by Fortune earlier this week.

By purchasing dark fiber in metro areas and leasing long-haul fiber for extension over the Atlantic and Pacific, Dropbox aims to improve international users' ability to quickly access files housed primarily in Dropbox's US-based data centers. As 70% of Dropbox's users reside outside the US and most of the company's data is housed in North America, Dropbox's goal is to improve user experience by utilizing its own fiber network.

Dropbox, which has half a billion users and stores more than 500 petabytes of its customers' data, shifted away from storing customer data on the public cloud last year in favor of utilizing its own data centers. In March 2016, Dropbox moved against the grain -- at a time when many enterprises are moving away from the use of private to public data centers -- by transferring 90% of its users' data from Amazon Web Services (AWS) over to its own infrastructure.

Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU), on the other hand, last year announced plans to transition from its own network of data centers to AWS, and Evernote Corp. announced a move of 200 million users to the Google Cloud Platform. Dropbox does still partner with Amazon in some cases, for example in countries like Germany that "require user data to stay in the country of origin," according to the report by Fortune. (See Why the Evernote Elephant Packed Its Trunk for Google Cloud and Intuit's Not Scared of Cloud Vendor Lock-In.)


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As the company implements its own optical network, Dropbox is removing third-party load balancers and installing its own software on standard Linux hardware. In the third quarter 2017, Dropbox will have new points-of-presence in Sydney, Miami and Paris and in the fourth quarter will add Madrid and Milan, for a total of 22 facilities across 10 countries, according to the Fortune report.

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— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Editor, Upskill U

danielcawrey 6/26/2017 | 7:50:22 PM
Re: Fiber Helpful I believe that as any company begins to seriously scale they need to build technology in-house. Every major tech company has done this with the exception of Snapchat, which arguably may be too consumer/media to justify its own stack. But this Dropbox example is simply what one would expect these days. 
Phil_Britt 6/23/2017 | 7:37:31 PM
Fiber Helpful As an Dropbox user, anything it does to improve speed would be a help. Probably not any better or worse than its competitors, but the pipes need to grow with the demand.