Big Interview

Q&A with Ivo A. Ivanov, COO of DE-CIX

Ivo Ivanov - DE-CIX_2.jpg

As announced during Capacity Europe, DE-CIX is launching a new service, FlexPOP, which is set to revolutionize how carriers can expand their on-net presence cost effectively. Capacity talked to DE-CIX’s Chief Operating Officer Ivo Ivanov about DE-CIX’s internationalization strategy, and offering added value for connected carriers with a first-of-its-kind Infrastructure-as-a-Service offer.

1. Ivo, in the last few years, there have been new DE-CIX Internet Exchanges appearing all around the world – what’s the strategic thinking behind your expansion?

Well, in the first place, we’ve been working at building IXs geographically placed where our customers need us to be. So far, we have created and are growing eighteen Internet Exchanges on four continents, including Europe, North America, the Middle East, and India. Our goal for the coming years is to enable new and existing ecosystems in all major telecommunication markets across the globe. The geographical coverage of DE-CIX, paired with the variety of our interconnection services, will allow connected networks, whether they are acting regionally or globally, to get DE-CIX interconnection services customized to their needs. Overall, I am very proud of our success in growing vibrant interconnection ecosystems, for example our flagship IX in Frankfurt – but also DE-CIX New York and the southern European family of IXs. In total, our global infrastructure supports the more than 1700 networks.

2. Tell me a little bit more about these ecosystems you mentioned.

Sure – we’ve been growing our geographical presence at two levels: one is the wide-scale global presence, and the other is within each of these locations, at the local level. This means that we can bring our connected networks closer to the edge – right into regional data centers and as close as possible to the end users and enterprises. One great advantage here – both for us and for our partners – is our data center and carrier neutrality. This means we are able to interact with a multitude of players in the marketplace, bring their customers together, and help them to exchange data in the most cost-effective and low latency way possible. This allows us to offer added value to our connected customers, so that they can concentrate on doing business. Ultimately, the direct, cost-efficient, and resource-efficient use of interconnection is at the heart of the DE-CIX strategy.

3. Can you give me an example of how you provide added value for connected networks?

Gladly – let’s take the new DE-CIX service FlexPOP as an example. It’s an Infrastructure-as-a-Service offer for carriers to establish virtual PoPs as needed at a large number of DE-CIX access points. FlexPOP is designed specifically to provide added value for connected carriers, giving them a significant competitive advantage when it comes to monetizing their connection to DE-CIX.

Just think about a classic pain point for carriers: Within a metro region, networks often only have two or three PoPs, sometimes only one. But what do you do if you have a request for IP transit from someone who is not where you are? If you are not present at this PoP (where the network needs a transit provider), you lose this business to competitors who are present there.

In a nutshell, to service end-customers as close as possible to the edge, carriers need to maximize their geographical coverage and on-net presence. To compete for business, the more PoPs the better. But the more PoPs that are established, the more CAPEX & OPEX required. Carriers also have no guarantee of enough traffic to create an ROI.

And this is where FlexPOP comes to their aid: it leverages DE-CIX’s geographical presence to offer carriers virtual PoPs – allowing carriers to increase their on-net coverage without needing to invest in infrastructure. Carriers can virtually and flexibly use these PoPs to compete for business even in locations where they are not physically present. Added to that, FlexPOP also solves the problem of unused pre-paid capacity to locations, and the service can be fully integrated into the carrier’s infrastructure, available for use by all business units. It’s a win-win situation for business development and financial planning for connected carriers.

4. Wow, I’ve never heard of a service like it before.

That’s because it’s unique: It is the first service of its kind to be offered by an Internet Exchange anywhere in the world. And it wouldn’t have been possible without the work we’ve put into our global and local expansion strategy in the past few years. The service was initiated by and designed together with members of the main target group, carriers connected to the DE-CIX platform, and fulfills a clear and expressed need in the industry. We’re starting it off in selected markets – and we’re really pleased to be able to offer a new service that solves a major challenge for our customers in the market.

5. Thanks for your time, Ivo – and I look forward to hearing more about FlexPOP in the future.

Ivo A. Ivanov is Chief Operating Officer of the DE-CIX Group AG and is also – as Chief Executive Officer of DE-CIX International – responsible for the global business activities of the Internet Exchange Operator. Ivo has more than 15 years of experience in the regulatory, legal, and commercial Internet environment.

Ivo joined DE-CIX in January 2007. In recent years, Ivo has been deeply involved in the establishment of DE-CIX sites in Istanbul, Palermo, Madrid, Marseille, New York, Dallas, Dubai (UAE-IX powered by DE-CIX), as well as Mumbai (Mumbai IX powered by DE-CIX), and several DE-CIX consultancy projects in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Ivo has an educational background focused on law and business. Fluent in German, English, Russian, and Bulgarian, he graduated from a German business school in 1995 and holds two law degrees, from the Universities of Sofia (Bulgaria) and Bonn (Germany). After graduation, he worked as a lawyer, with a focus on e-commerce law, IP law, telecommunications law, and data protection law.