Craig Sharp, Digital Realty, on the new Service Exchange platform
Data centre and colocation provider Digital Realty launched into the interconnection space on September 22. Its CTO, Craig Sharp, explains to Jason Mcgee-abe how its Service Exchange platform has been received and how it differs from what else is on the market
Having launched into the interconnection space over a month ago, how has the market responded?
It’s been really well received. One of the reasons is because our customers guided us and helped shape the direction of the platform. Today, one of the top destinations on the internet is cloud service. More and more customers are trying to get the benefit of the public cloud but they’re really concerned about the consumption models that are forwarded to them. Some of our larger customers have been wanting a very simplistic way to consume these cloud services and working with our partner Megaport we’ve brought Service Exchange to market.
The ability to support large cloud compute nodes differentiates us from other providers” Craig Sharp, CTO, Digital Realty
You joined Digital Realty from Equinix, what has been your main focus in developing the platform and what are its metrics?
The Service Exchange offering is about simplicity and the main metrics evolve around high throughput and low-latency access into this multi-cloud environment.
With the Telx acquisition [which completed in October 2015 for $1.86 billion and doubled Digital Realty’s size] we attained the Marketplaceportal platform, which really simplifies the customer experience from just ordering traditional interconnection and colocation services.
Taking the framework of that portal and marrying it to Megaport’s elastic software- defined network (SDN) platform has been a core focal point of our initial work.
I joined from Equinix [August 2013 – August 2015] where I ran their cloud business unit and focused on securing onramps and bringing their cloud exchange to market. There are lots of lessons learned about the benefits of new elastic SDN capabilities, which will translate nicely as you see our roadmap of services coming to market, expressly around Layer 3.
How is customer demand for hybrid multi-cloud shaping the service?
In a colocation environment, being able to support larger multi-mw interconnected products has been a breath of fresh air for our customers as they do not have to cut up their infrastructure up and create a multi-tier architecture within a metro. We can support it in one environment which alleviates having to replicate network gear. They can have a private cloud and still get the benefit of interconnected products since they can access the public cloud.
There’s a lot of pressure for customers to marry their private networking infrastructure to these public cloud services. For the majority of our customers they want a hybrid multi-cloud, they want a little bit of Amazon, Microsoft or Google, but they also want the ability to directly attach to their larger infrastructure.
Equinix was a customer, but you’re now competing. How does Service Exchange differentiate itself from Equinix’s Cloud Exchange?
We view Equinix as a great customer but our broader set of digital customers needed to have a full suite of products to make their architecture more viable. There’s huge demand for interconnected scale or interconnected wholesale and our product is flexible to support customers grow their business and larger footprint requirements. The cloud providers also like the fact that we can aggregate and hand them traffic in an efficient model, taking out many complexities from Layer 3. Customers can leave their private traffic consumption with us and they can focus on their services.
Over the last two years, Digital Realty has also appointed a new CEO, CFO and CIO, so what’s the executive wholesale strategy?
Interconnected scale is critical and the percentage of cloud customers we have is phenomenal (cloud represented 21% of Digital Realty’s total annualised based rent as of June 30 and digital economy/cloud made up 68% of leasing activity in the year up to July 31).
The ability to support large cloud compute nodes differentiates us from other providers, as we have the digital wholesale expertise, and with the Telx acquisition we have the capability to support colocation with a broader suite of interconnection products.
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Sharp: Our colocation customers are excited with our multi-mw interconnect