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”We make interconnection easy” – An interview with DE-CIX’s Andreas Sturm

The smaller regional exchanges in Germany, namely Hamburg, Munich, and Dusseldorf, have grown exponentially in 2018 in numbers of peering networks. A big part of this growth can be traced back to DE-CIX’s GlobePEER Remote service. DE-CIX’s Chief Business Development Officer, Andreas Sturm, answers some questions about the service and how it influences the traditional view of Internet Exchanges as interconnection islands. 

Andreas, in retrospect: Did you expect the numbers of peering networks rise as high as they did when we introduced the GlobePEER Remote service in Germany?

Honestly: No, not to this extent. At least not so fast. We hoped that the peering community would adapt to the idea of seeing DE-CIX not only as the operator of distinct Internet Exchanges, but as a provider of an interconnection ecosystem where interconnected exchanges play a vital role. We can say that the service was well received by our peers. 

When we introduced the Globepeer Remote service, we first connected Frankfurt to New York, Dusseldorf, and Istanbul. Meanwhile, we have added Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, and Marseille, and with access in one of these locations, you can peer remotely at every other of these locations. Do the other exchanges benefit from the service in the same way as the German regional exchanges?

Yes, they do. We have laid the groundwork for continuous strong growth in ASNs and traffic at these locations. Reaching the other DE-CIX exchanges is easier now, from both the process and the commercial perspectives. The milestone of 200 connected networks at DE-CIX New York is a good example of the effectiveness of the GlobePEER Remote service and the interconnected DE-CIX exchanges.

What was the initial idea behind introducing the service?

The initial idea was to make it easier and more affordable to peer in further peering metros like Munich, New York, or Marseille. With our almost 25 years’ experience in the Internet Exchange business, and with our well-established interconnection platforms, we wanted our customers to make more of their investment. By giving them the opportunity to reach more networks in different local markets by using their existing DE-CIX access, we offered them the opportunity to peer with more networks than ever and to save costs the same time.

The GlobePEER Remote service wasn’t the only service emerging from this idea, was it?

No, it wasn’t. The DirectCLOUD service is a second example. Our goal is to make interconnection easy, anywhere. The focus lies on developing interconnection solutions that make use of the existing interconnection ecosystem at DE-CIX. With the new services, we broaden our service portfolio, and networks have more options to monetize their connection to our platform. 

Do these new services fit the traditional Internet Exchange model we’ve been promoting for the last 25 years?

The traditional Internet Exchange model brought great advancements to the Internet landscape throughout Europe, improving network quality, keeping traffic local, and enabling networks to exchange data. We have exported this model successfully in the last few years to other markets, supporting the development of Internet infrastructure and interconnection ecosystems. But the interconnection needs of our customers have increased. Locality and inter-regional connectivity, to build elastic and high-performance networks, determine the interconnection needs of today and the future. We needed to broaden the traditional model of Internet Exchange islands by introducing new interconnection services and interconnecting our Internet Exchanges.

Networks and data centers already offer access to cloud service providers, and there are networks that offer remote peering. What is the difference to the services of DE-CIX?

DE-CIX is the key. The world’s leading cloud service providers are connected to DE-CIX with 1+ Tbps capacity. This makes it the most significant deployment in Europe and among all other exchanges and data center operators. At DE-CIX, around 750 million end-users are reachable through 1000 networks connected to the DE-CIX platforms. That’s unique. Besides the numbers, DE-CIX is a very dedicated team, focusing on making interconnection easy. This drives us, and we are happy that our customers trust us and join us on the journey.

Andreas, many thanks for the interview!