Cloud Services

IIX Launches 'Console' Platform for Enterprise-Cloud Interconnect

IIX has launched Console, a network platform to make it easy for enterprises to set up direct connections to cloud providers. IIX, which is already in the networking interconnection business, is entering into a crowded market featuring some big competitors, but is emphasizing ease of use as its differentiator.

Direct interconnections between enterprise and cloud networks require establishing difficult Layer 1-3 connections, with Layer 3 connections being particularly tricky, Al Burgio, CEO of both Console and its parent company, Console Inc. , tells Light Reading. Enterprises are overwhelmed by the problem, leaving service providers to establish crude static connections. "It's not dynamic, it's not simple, and it doesn't abstract all the complexity to make it as easy as clicking a button," Burgio says.

The Console platform is designed to cut through that complexity, comparable, for cloud interconnects, to the simplicity provided by cloud services for file and document sharing. "Thanks to companies like Dropbox and Box, you no longer have to know how to spell 'FTP,'" Burgio says. Cloud document sharing services such as Dropbox and Box let users just drag and drop files to share them, rather than having to set up FTP servers. Console looks to provide similar levels of simplicity for cloud interconnect.

Direct interconnect between enterprise and cloud service providers takes traffic off the public Internet for improved reliability and security, Burgio says.

Direct cloud interconnects also require professional connections between network operators and engineers. Previously done at professional conferences, Console will provide a social network for those engineers to connect -- like LinkedIn for cloud interconnect, Burgio says.

As part of the Connect launch, Connect is announcing a line-up of partners. The big name of the bunch is Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s Azure cloud service. BTI Systems Inc. is also a partner, as well as data center providers Netelligent, Online Tech, Rack59, ScaleMatrix, T5 and 910, and network providers Hurricane Electric , iTel, Metro Optic, One Source Networks , SummitIG, VeloCloud Networks Inc. and Zayo Group Inc. (NYSE: ZAYO)

This year, Connect parent IIX has been making headlines, playing a part in helping secure OpenDaylight after an embarrassing security glitch; acquiring IX Reach to triple the size of its network, to 150 points of presence; and leading development of the open source CloudRouter. (See OpenDaylight Looks to Get Ahead on Security, Open Source Router Makes Production Debut and Open Source Router Makes Production Debut.)

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IIX has specialized in network interconnection since its founding in 2011. Previously, IIX focused on Layer 1 and Layer 2 connections for cloud content providers, SaaS companies, Internet service providers and carriers. With the launch of Connect, IIX is climbing the stack to Layer 3 and enterprise customers.

And it is also joining a competitive market. With Amazon Web Services Inc. dominating the cloud market, service providers have had to carve out their own niches, and interconnecting enterprises with Amazon, Microsoft, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and other cloud providers has proven popular. These providers -- including Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) -- provide cloud interconnect sometimes as part of a package of solutions, cloud and otherwise, targeted at the enterprise. (See Verizon Says Focused Cloud Strategy Working, AT&T Cloud Strategy Now Focuses on Network, Equinix Unveils SDN Engine for Cloud and Cisco, Microsoft Come Together in the Cloud.)

These cloud interconnects are just one example of the kind of agility required by the New IP, changing network configurations quickly to provide new services to customers as demand rises in a fast-changing market.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

Mitch Wagner 9/9/2015 | 3:20:36 PM
Turning the pointer

Connect is partnering with data center providers and network providers to serve enterprise as customers. They could have turned that dial in other directions -- targeted network providers as customers rather than partners. I asked Burgio about that, and why they made the decision the way they did; he just chuckled and declined to comment. 

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