CAPRE’s Carolinas Data Center Summit Roundtable: How Do You Win the Cloud Connect Story?

CHARLOTTE, NC – There are some technologies that you just can’t ignore when you talk about Cloud computing, and Cloud on-ramps are one of them. That’s why CAPRE’s Carolinas Data Center Summit featured a roundtable of leaders from the regional data center industry that honed right in on that topic. “Cloud On-Ramps: Finding Data Centers with Connectivity to Major Cloud Providers” was moderated by CAPRE’s CEO and Founder Brian Klebash, who asked all three of his panelists to expound on a simple – but important – question: How do you win the Cloud connect story?

First to respond was Eric Bezek, Regional Director for North Carolina at Equinix. “The world is moving toward 59 major metros around the world. We’re in 52 of those markets, driving our end-user customers, to provide them low-latency access to their applications, and to allow them to run their business more efficiently,” he responded. “And it results in truly better architecture once they put that in place – from SD-WAN deployments to multi-Cloud. So being at the center, where all of that action is at, all of the carriers need to connect to pass of traffic in those global peering points. And that’s why we exist.”

“We went up bought up most of the property around the world that would provide you with a low-latency connection,” Bezek shared. “Google, Azure and AWS have more or less standardized their on-ramps in many ways. So if you’re getting into the Cloud, typically you’ll traverse through an Equinix data center or if you’re getting network, then typically all of the major carriers put their network points of presence in our buildings.”

Next up, Jack Funchion, Director for the Northeast at Digital Realty Trust offered his two cents.“Unlike what my colleague just mentioned, we actually own quite a few of the buildings in markets around the world that aren’t the primary Cloud connect locations!” laughed Funchion. “Some of which we lease to our friends at Equinix. But we also serve the hyperscale market for their data center needs as well. For example, Oracle and IBM both publicly announced that the vast majority of their Cloud compute facilities are in Digital Realty campuses.”

“One of the unique things that Digital Realty offers is the ability to connect directly to a Cloud provider, avoiding an on-ramp, and avoiding the need to acquire telecommunications services to another location, by providing a direct cross-connect style connection to some Cloud providers,” Funchion explained. “In addition to that, we have the primary interconnect buildings in a number of cities, and we have the Cloud on-ramps, like Equinix does, in those locations. On top of that, we have a product called Service Exchange, where we can connect through what’s basically a Software-Defined network, through any of our data center campuses, to any Cloud provider and any Cloud availability zone throughout the world. And that’s been a fairly effective way for us to provide that service to our customers.”

Finally, Tony Pompliano, CEO at ANEXIO chimed in. “We get the benefit of being a tenant of the large providers, like Equinix and the Digital Realtys. We get the benefit of all of the infrastructure, and the direct connects to the hyperscale cloud guys,” he began. “So all of our facilities are heavily networked relative to not only getting to the hyperscale clouds – Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, SoftLayer, and Google – but also the large telecom hotels, and the Cloud that you may not think of, but would be associated with economic exchanges, like the European Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ, as an example. As well as the undersea cables, which is probably a whole other story.”

Tony Pompiliano, CEO, ANEXIO

“So like on the previous panel, when people talk about the importance of data center locations and tax incentives and power cost and all of that, one of the biggest contributors to data center locations is networking,” continued Pompliano. “Northern Virginia has a lot of attributes for it, but without MAE East, which is the backbone of the internet, that probably would not exist today. So that trend is going to continue, and the public cloud will become more ambiguous, in terms of whether it’s dependency on Public Cloud alone, or the hyperscale.”

According to Pompliano, what ANEXIO is trying to fill is the niche for enterprises that have all of the capabilities to do the work themselves – CIOs, CTOs, CSOs, for example – but that need assistance to do it in terms of architecture and the attributes of a well-networked solution of high availability, low latency, and secure reliability. “We work hard to have an intimate relationship with those partners, and provide white glove services to help them benefit from all of that,” he confirmed.

Banner Photo (L-R): Eric Bezek, Regional Director for North Carolina, Equinix; Jack Funchion, Director for the Northeast, Digital Realty Trust; Tony Pompliano, CEO,  ANEXIO