How Interxion is growing its data centre operations with DCI networks

How Interxion is growing its data centre operations with DCI networks

Interxion wanted to expand its data centre operations in Marseille, but with no suitable real estate and power source available next to its original location, find out how Interxion made easy work of a complex challenge.

When Interxion decided to expand its operations in Marseille, real-estate and power constraints led the company to build a second data centre four kilometres from the original site, and connect the two facilities with a super-fast Data Centre Interconnect (DCI) network.

This allowed Interxion to create a single virtualised data centre campus, giving its clients light-speed access to subsea cables, platforms, connectivity providers and other partners at both sites.

Marseille is a hugely important communications centre, connecting North Africa, Middle East, and Asia to the whole of Europe thanks to terrestrial connections to Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, and Paris (FLAP).

With 14 subsea cables landing there, the city has transformed from a transit hub to a lively content hub where cloud and digital media content are created, stored, and distributed to 43 countries across EMEA and APAC.

In addition, the rapidly growing local market for data centre services presents major revenue opportunities.For these reasons, Interxion made Marseille a strategic focus for its business.

Mike Hollands, Interxion’s director of market development and strategy said, “We acquired a 6,200 m2 data centre in the centre of Marseille in 2014, which is called MRS1.

“With 48 million euros of investment, we built out the facility and increased the number of tenants from around 50 back then, to nearly 200 today.

“Our clients exchange services with one another, including high-speed metro and long-haul connectivity across Europe. Interconnections with Google, Amazon AWS, and Microsoft Azure are also available within the data centre.”

With MRS1 attracting major content companies, cloud providers, and subsea cable providers, the facility quickly reached its capacity limits, both in terms of available space and energy resources. Customers needed additional space and power, but there were no suitable sites next to  the existing facility. 

“There was no way we could grow our operations next to MRS1, so we decided to look for suitable sites in other parts of the city. A key challenge was how to connect the new data centre to MRS1 to provide a seamless experience for customers.”

The solution

After considering all the options, Interxion found a suitable 4,350 m2 site for a new data centre on land belonging to the Marseille Port Authority, approximately four kilometres away from MRS1.  

“We knew the only way to maximise success in MRS2 was to give clients seamless access to all the subsea cables, Internet exchanges, and cloud interconnect services already available in MRS1,” said Hollands. “We also had to reassure subsea cable providers that any new connections at MRS2 would also be able to serve existing clients at MSR1.”

To provide seamless connectivity between the two data centres, Interxion decided to deploy a next-generation DCI solution from Ciena.

“When we evaluated all available DCI options, we found that the Ciena solution was able to deliver the fast, scalable connectivity we needed between MRS1 and MRS2,” added Hollands.

The benefits

By connecting its data centres in Marseille using Ciena technology, Interxion can provide a seamless experience for clients — whether they are hosted in MRS1 or MRS2.

With high speed, scalable, reliable interconnections between data centres, the company can also expand its network of data centres, even if no sites are available next to their existing locations.

With the ability to quickly turn up high-speed interconnections between data centres, Interxion now has greater flexibility in where it may choose to locate future data centres.

“Our DCI solution allows us to expand our network of data centres, even if no real estate is available next to our existing facilities,” said Hollands.

“In the near future, we plan to open our third Marseille data centre — MRS3 — next to the MRS2 building in an old World War II submarine base.

“However, if we choose to expand elsewhere in the city, we will be able to connect our data centres to create a single ‘logical’ data centre that gives clients access to the subsea cables, platforms, connectivity providers, and other partners they need.”

Scalability to support a rapidly growing community of clients

Working with Ciena, Interxion has been able to efficiently use its fibres that connect the facilities.

“Ciena’s DCI solution allows us to scale many wavelengths on a single fibre pair,” explained Hollands. “That means we can stay ahead of clients’ interconnection needs for years to come and manage our fibre capacity efficiently.”

“Marseille was basically our test case for a much wider deployment strategy for this kind of interconnect solution. We now plan to deploy Ciena networks in cities where our data centres are more than two kilometres apart, which is the case in Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, and Paris,” he added.

“We are currently working with Ciena to see how they can help us expand our operations in all of these cities, where the best available sites are not next to our existing data centres.

“At Interxion, our main focus is to create connected communities of customers across our footprint, and the solution provided by Ciena fully support this vision.”