Data center company EdgeConneX recently held its first networking event in the Netherlands. Guest author Edwin Feldmann provides an update on the company’s opportunity, positioning and strategy.
By: Edwin Feldmann
For the first time, data center company EdgeConneX recently held a meeting for customers and partners in the Benelux. Phill Lawson-Shanks, Chief Innovation Officer at EdgeConneX, says the company benefits from the ‘content tsunami’ that is coming towards us.
EdgeConneX is a wholesale partner for service and content providers. It provides connectivity and networking between data centers. The idea behind this is that the closer the content or services are to the consumer, the better the user experience because the latency is lower. It is all about latency, proximity and the speed of delivery.
EdgeConneX controls the data traffic at the ‘edge of networks’. The edge is a term that the company has come up with, said Lawson-Shanks during his presentation. “The edge is everywhere and it is moving. It can be in a data center, but it can also be mobile hotspots, cell towers, routers and even Wi-Fi devices.” It provides services that function as blood vessels so that ‘bones’ (the networks to end users) function better.
Below the radar
The EdgeConneX event was its first event in the Netherlands. “We have operated below the radar for a long time, but that has changed when our own datacenter was opened at the end of 2016”, Lawson-Shanks acknowledges. In the Netherlands EdgeConneX has one datacenter in Schiphol-Rijk. The most important thing at data centers is the distance to networks and availability, he says. The power supply is important as well as the availability. EdgeConneX in the Netherlands also paid attention to this. “Next year around this time we will have 130 megawatts (MW) of power available in our datacenter at Schiphol,” says Lawson-Shanks.
The availability of sufficient power is important now and especially in the coming years because the need for power in datacenters is growing fast. Just like the power consumption, the consumption of data also rises quickly. To demonstrate that, Lawson-Shanks shows a slide showing that in 2017 70,000 hours of video were watched every minute via Netflix. This year this has already risen to 266,000 hours per minute.
“In the end, everything started with content. Content is an enabler for our locations”, says Lawson-Shanks. Then various forms of the cloud developed. EdgeConneX calls it the ‘digital content tsunami’ that is coming at us. This content explosion will be fed when 5G is once there. “5G is so promising because it brings connectivity to many people and devices,” he says. According to him, the 5G standard will be ratified in the next 12 to 18 months and then it will completely change the landscape again.
“The demand for 5G will really explode as soon as Google or Apple launches a 5G device. This requires antennas and infrastructure. And the benefit will not just be for the traditional carriers. If you look at who has purchased 5G licenses, these are mainly companies like Google, Comcast and Liberty Global. They will become an important driver for 5G”, he predicts. “Those companies want their own networks. They want the content as close as possible to the consumers and we help them with that.”