Up Close with Expedia at Phoenix Data Center Summit: “Pendulum of Technology Swinging Toward the Edge”

Nov 13, 2017
by Josh Anderson

PHOENIX, AZ — Christopher Neil is the Director of Data Center Services for Expedia, overseeing infrastructure support for all Expedia brands, including Travelocity, Truvago, Orbitz, Wotif, Ebookers, TravelDo, CheapTicket, and HotWire. He has been involved in data centers and mission critical facilities since he was an electronic technician in the U.S. navy 28 years ago. At our Southwest Data Center Summit in Phoenix November 2, Neil took part in an “Up-Close with Expedia” Q&A led by Luke Denmon of the Data Center Solutions team at CBRE. Below is the second part of that Q&A. Be sure to check out Part 1 of this Q&A, Up Close with Expedia: 5G right Around the Corner, Will be Exponential.

Christopher Neil, Director of Data Center Services – Expedia

Denmon: So with a company like Expedia or a peer company, as you’re seeing people move to the Edge, are you seeing a trend toward a hub and spoke model where you’ve got central nodes all coming back to some central point, or are you seeing more of a mesh data center network topology starting to develop with the folks that you’re looking at?

Neil: That’s a great question. I was sitting in the back of the room listening to other conversations earlier, and I really thought that hub and spoke really made a of sense. And that’ what it seems like, everybody talks about the pendulum of technology. And everyone in this room, we’ve seen many circles of centralized to distributed to centralized to distributed kinds of computing, well the edge is just another one of those pendulum swings.

When you look at it, you can say, all right, we got to a point where we needed everything in one location. And we consolidated all of our data center to make sure we were using our facilities to the best that we could. And then the industry grew to a point here I carry a better computer in my pocket than we had access to ten years ago. It’s an incredible piece of machinery that requires low latency. So there it goes, into the hub and spoke model, as we start to peel apart some of the applications and move them closer to the end user.

Mobile is probably one of the key drivers in that type of computing. And there is going to be different philosophies in how we accomplish that. AS an industry, if you look at what the different things are doing, you might have the centralized computing, a large amount of locations going through one location, and then leverage the cloud in various areas to show your application and try to be close to your customer.

Or you may go with a model that some have used, where you’re standing up pods in various locations as your business is looking at it, saying oh you know what we’re going to focus in APAC now or South America now. And they’re going to drop some amount of compute in there. Whether it’s in pod/trailer type situation, or 10,000 square feet and 5 megawatts in this location, so I can start servicing that region. It’s those kinds of things. It’s almost like we’re getting better at the buffet of data centers because you have so many options to actually choose from. We’re really lucky. It’s a transformative time in history.


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