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21 June 2022

DE-CIX Annual Report 2021: Global expansion and the “new normal” boosting growth in revenue and data traffic

Frankfurt am Main, 21 June 2022: DE-CIX, the world’s leading operator of Internet Exchanges (IXs), has today released their Annual Report for the last financial year 2021, confirming continued strong growth in global revenues and data exchange in the second year of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Global revenues of all company parts continued to grow, reaching 48.7 million Euro, an increase of 5.2 million (up 12%) compared to 2020. With more than 38 exabytes of data throughput globally, DE-CIX experienced around 20% increase in traffic, in line with the growth in connected networks, which ended the year at a total of close to 2,500 worldwide. Connected capacity across the global DE-CIX interconnection fabric increased by more than 30% to 96.2 Terabits (Tbits) in 2021, reflecting the strong demand for interconnection services and more bandwidth. Direct connectivity to the cloud via the DE-CIX Cloud Exchange tripled during 2021. Much of this was booked via DE-CIX’s self-service customer portal, which was implemented in 2021 as part of the company’s drive towards the automation of interconnection. On a geographical level, four new Internet Exchanges were taken into operation, these being two DE-CIX owned and operated IXs, DE-CIX Richmond and DE-CIX Barcelona, and two DE-CIX as a Service locations set up and operated for partners: “Ruhr-CIX powered by DE-CIX” in Germany and “Borneo-IX powered by DE-CIX” in Southeast Asia. Another seven locations were announced, including multiple DE-CIX IXs in the Nordics.

“Looking back on the second year of the pandemic, we see a year during which the world began to stabilize into the “new normal”. The meteoric growth in data traffic experienced during the last two years is characteristic of the transformation in working and living that we have experienced as we have moved progressively into the digital world. The insatiable demand for digital applications and data-driven services is the next stage in a continuum – a steady process of digitalization, of optimization of workflows, of the expansion of methods of communication and entertainment, and the increasingly fine-grained interconnection of the planet. At DE-CIX, we are striving for excellence in interconnection – to meet the demands and expectations of networks, enterprises, and end users, and to support the rollout of high-speed connectivity wherever on the planet it is needed,” comments CEO Harald A. Summa.

From North America to Europe – strong growth in digital hubs and at the edge

2021 was again a year of milestones for DE-CIX North America, the largest carrier and data center neutral interconnection ecosystem on the North American continent. DE-CIX New York, the leading neutral IX provider in the New York/New Jersey market, reached more than 260 connected networks during the year and exceeded 1 Tbps in peak traffic for the first time in December 2021, becoming only the second DE-CIX IX to cross the 1 Tbit mark. The IX experienced more than 50% growth in 100GE ports and over 35% in connected customer capacity, which climbed over 9 terabits by the end of 2021. Peak traffic at DE-CIX Dallas also jumped by over 50% to exceed the 300 Gbps mark and connected networks experienced growth of close to 25%, rising to 118 by the end of the year. DE-CIX Chicago, which celebrated one year in operation in late 2021, and DE-CIX Richmond, which went into operation in December 2021, together brought close to 50 further networks online in the North American ecosystem. Furthermore, a partnership was set up with DartPoints to establish DE-CIX as a Service (DaaS) locations in Columbia (South Carolina), Dublin (Ohio), and North Liberty (Iowa). By enabling local market interconnection, IX projects like these are set to level the playing field for underserved and hard-to-reach markets in the US.

For the DE-CIX Southern European region, accumulated connected capacity rose by close to 40% to 6.5 Tbits, and the number of connected networks by 17% to 450. DE-CIX Madrid, the heart of the largest neutral interconnection ecosystem in Southern Europe, celebrated its 5th birthday with growth of 23% in connected capacity and an increase to 225 connected networks. Another highlight of the year was DE-CIX Barcelona, which became ready for service in early October 2021, with three premium-enabled sites and 30+ networks already connected on day 1. Additionally, first steps were taken by DE-CIX in 2021 in collaboration with Ellalink, a subsea cable operator, to connect the Southern European ecosystem with other continents to pave a new data traffic highway across the Atlantic Ocean to South America. DE-CIX is also constantly engaged in disseminating interconnection knowledge through white papers and webinars. In 2021, the next step was taken by setting up the DE-CIX Global Interconnection Academy, in partnership with the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona. The online training program will commence in Q4 2022 and is aimed at both professionals and students. The creation of the DE-CIX Interconnection Academy seeks to provide a global standard certificate of excellence for interconnection experts.

In Germany, the historical home market of DE-CIX, connected networks at the DE-CIX flagship IX in Frankfurt amounted to close to 1100 at the end of the year, while connected capacity rose by 12% in 2021. This was partly driven by the growing demand for 100GE ports and the first connected and operating 400GE ports. To accommodate the demand for higher bandwidth, DE-CIX upgraded its edge routers in Frankfurt, leveraging the latest Nokia technologies and future-proofing the platform for the 800GE era. 

The digitalization of businesses and society is driving a growing demand for data to be exchanged and processed closer to the end user – and thus for interconnection to occur closer to the edge. The regional exchanges in Hamburg, Dusseldorf, and Munich benefitted from this trend and continued their success story in 2021. DE-CIX Hamburg increased its customer bandwidth by 40% and enjoyed a rise in peak traffic of 70%. DE-CIX Dusseldorf experienced growth in connected customer bandwidth of 162% and a 65% rise in peak traffic, with connected networks rising by 16%. DE-CIX Munich increased its peak traffic by 41%, with customer bandwidth growing by almost 130%. Apart from the growth in existing locations, DE-CIX also expanded domestically in Germany. In February 2021, “Ruhr-CIX powered by DE-CIX”, in the densely populated Ruhr region, became ready for service. In addition, DE-CIX and Stuttgart-IX announced a partnership enabling local Internet service providers and regionally based enterprise customers from the Stuttgart metropolitan region to access the DE-CIX Cloud Exchange.  

From Europe to Southeast Asia – massive demand for interconnection reflected in all DE-CIX regions

In November 2021, DE-CIX announced its expansion to the Nordics, with new DE-CIX platforms to be established in Norway, Denmark, and Finland. DE-CIX’s expansion to the Nordics will serve the regional connectivity needs, boosted by new transatlantic and intercontinental submarine cables bridging the Nordics with North America and Asia.

In its sixth year of operations, DE-CIX Istanbul has grown to be an important interconnection gateway between the Middle East and Europe. In 2021, demand for greater capacity was documented in the increase of close to 170% in 100GE ports and more than 90% in connected customer bandwidth, which grew to over 2 terabits. At the same time, at the UAE-IX powered by DE-CIX in Dubai (UAE), the leading carrier and data center neutral Internet Exchange in the GCC, the number of 100GE ports grew by 50%, resulting in accumulated connected customer capacity of close to 2 terabits, an increase of almost 40%.

DE-CIX India’s carrier and data center neutral IXs in the cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Chennai enjoyed accumulated growth in connected networks of over 60%, rising to 479 in total, with 100GE ports nearly tripling across locations. The overall connected customer capacity increased by almost 160% to almost 7 terabits. DE-CIX Mumbai, the largest Internet Exchange in the entire APAC region according to PeeringDB, experienced peak traffic on the verge of reaching the 1 Tbps mark at year’s end, while almost 40% growth in connected networks resulted in a total of 389.

The DE-CIX Asia platform, a first-of-its-kind distributed Internet Exchange in Southeast Asia, has a footprint covering Singapore, the Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur metropolitan markets, and the new DE-CIX as a Service location in Brunei, “Borneo-IX powered by DE-CIX”, which was established in 2021. Fifty-four networks from across the region were connected to the DE-CIX Asia platform in 2021.

The Internet of the future – dependent on globally distributed interconnected infrastructure

“Today, more than ever before, all areas of business and private life rely heavily on digital applications. There is no doubt that, in future, the demands being made of digital infrastructure will intensify. The Internet of the future – a metaverse enabled by AI, VR, AR, and all manner of innovations in the realm of sensory perception, remote control, and real-time virtual experience – promises a wealth of opportunities to do business, be entertained, be cared for and educated, and be connected. To achieve this vision, digital infrastructure providers need to build out densely and globally distributed interconnected infrastructure, while at the same time offering an increasing array of specialized and customized interconnection services to meet the demands of business across all sectors. At DE-CIX, we are already working on our contribution towards this vision of a global digital future,” explains Ivo Ivanov, CEO of DE-CIX International.