BIG INTERVIEW: Clint Heiden, CCO, EdgeConneX
02 July 2015 |
EdgeConneX has built a name for itself in the US data centre market by localising content in Tier 2 markets. The company’s CCO Clint Heiden reveals how it plans to bring its unique distribution model to Europe.
A South Korean music video serves as one of the most radical examples of how content viewing habits have transformed over the last three years. Released in 2012, Psy’s Gangnam Style prompted YouTube to upgrade its counter at the end of 2014 so that the maximum view limit is more than nine quintillion. It had once never envisioned a world where a single video could be viewed over two billion times. Let alone one produced by a South Korean pop star of questionable talent.
The concept of EDC is simple but effective. It aims to bring bandwidth-intensive content and latency-sensitive applications closer to the end user, in an attempt to lower network transport costs and improve customer experience.
To promote its localised data centre model, the company has recently commissioned ACG Research to conduct a study into how backbone transport costs with and without localised content compare for a fixed broadband service provider.
The presence of an edge data centre in the market claims to eliminate the requirement of backbone transport capacity to just a single video of 2Mb.
“The findings related to our edge data centres show a 10-fold improvement in latency and a nine-fold improvement in download times. Furthermore, the Mean Opinion Score (MOS), which determines the quality of the video experience for the end-user, went up 30%. Perhaps the most significant study finding is the marriage between higher quality and lower total cost of ownership for all parties.”
Besides reducing transport costs, Heiden claims the ‘edge’ brings additional benefits to consumers and businesses.
“My kids demand an instantaneous experience. If you introduce delay, buffering or a lag on a video – they’re off. They’re loyal to performance, unlike my generation which grew up loyal to brands,” he says. “Better site performance equates to better revenues.”
A high conversion rate
In 2015, EdgeConneX plans to add at least another 10 facilities to its US footprint, bringing its total to over 30 facilities deployed in little over three years. Such a rapid roll-out is unheard of in the data centre market space, and herein lies the other side to EdgeConneX’s alternate business model. “We typically take a class C office space in a decent building. Buy it. Gut it. Then turn it into a Tier 3 data centre,” says Heiden. “We can do that process in four and a half months. Nobody else can even move a customer into an existing data centre in four and a half months.”
“I believe that we are in a phase of growth that, once played out, we will not see the likes of for another 20 years. I believe growth will be exponential in size and scope of change for the next five years and then the internet will settle into its new existence for a sustained amount of time,” says Heiden. “We are truly seeing a complete change in the structure of the internet just as we did in the mid ‘90s with the creation of a few peering markets per continent. In just one year, EdgeConneX added more peering destinations in the US then previously existed worldwide.”
“For this reason, we have entered a new era where content is brought closer to the user versus the user being brought to the content,” he says.
Finding an edge in Europe
EdgeConneX has spent the last six months studying the European market to determine whether there could be a need for its edge data centre model.
Heiden exclusively confirmed to Capacity that it plans to launch edge data centres in 12 European locations in the next 18 months. “It will be the likes of Berlin and Edinburgh – the underserved internet markets, where it is costly to transport the content,” he adds.
The company again plans to act with speed, having already secured an anchor customer in Europe in the form of Liberty Global. One of the world’s largest cable companies, Liberty Global has also invested in EdgeConneX, with representatives joining its board of directors last February.
“Our lead investor Liberty Global will help us identify potential markets. At the same time, the content companies are coming to us and saying we have a problem – as they are constantly monitoring how their data is getting there and at what rate. They are measuring abandonment rates and what happens when a millisecond of latency hits a website,” he says.
EdgeConneX has also already begun assembling its European team, appointing Dick Theunissen as its MD and president of EMEA. Theunissen brings extensive experience of the European data centre market, having previously served as CMO for EMEA at Equinix and CMO at Interxion. Heiden claims EdgeConneX is helping to educate the industry in how to adopt a strategy geared towards localisation of content, applications, gaming, cloud, media and CDN.
Moving forward, Heiden sees IoT also driving demand for localising content. “If the infrastructure is not in place to handle latency-sensitive and bandwidth-intensive ‘things’, then the internet simply won’t work. EdgeConneX is creating the internet everywhere so that it will work for everything,” he says.