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Data Center

How a Leading IXP Addressed Key Challenges with SLX 9850

by asardell on ‎04-06-2017 06:08 AM (8,343 Views)

We wrote recently about the convergence trends in interconnection for Internet and Cloud Exchange Points (IXP/CXP). There are a variety of challenges in reducing costs and increasing revenue opportunities:  


  • Cost/port is a key factor as customer connections and services migrate from 10Gbps to 100Gbps. Ultra-high density 10Gbps/100Gbps platforms are essential with the right mix of technologies (e.g., VPLS and EVPN, etc.)   
  • IXPs/CXPs are confronting the inefficiencies of manual tasks or one-off non-reusable and inflexible, partial automation. There are rising operational costs associated with handling increasingly complex infrastructure for growing numbers of customers who need cloud services (private and public).
  • Slow service delivery means longer time to revenue, poor customer experience (at an extremely impressionable time) and stalled access to auxiliary revenue streams. This also increases chances for human error and opens the potential for customers going to competitors. 
  • Further revenue loss can come from not offering a variety of connection services. For example, IXPs/CXPs could benefit from offering more tiered service options such as a fractional service (e.g., 20G off a 100G link).


What Do Enterprise Customers Expect of IXPs?


When enterprises select exchanges to meet their mission-critical business requirements and budgets, they are increasingly demanding lowered costs and more stringent SLAs. This makes it incumbent on the IXPs/CXPs to automate common tasks to free up their cycles, and offer new troubleshooting tools and value-added services.  

As part of delivering new services, IXPs and CXPs must increasingly offer value added services; examples include higher bandwidth, tiered bandwidth, higher SLA, improved visibility/reporting, flow optimization, and hybrid cloud services.


Cost of Maintaining Status Quo


IXPs and CXPs are in a price-sensitive business. A very high-density platform with future proofing (example: 1.5RU blades on SLX 9850 and very deep tunable buffers) helps IXPs continue to offer competitive advantages in dealing with the current explosion in traffic rates.  


Note: For a table showing quick feature comparisons on all SLX platforms, and their key positions in the modern data center, see Visibility Everywhere in the Data Center Network.


Without the required technology mix and automation, IXP/CXP OpEx can continue to be very high. Lack of a future-proofed platform and agility could lead to higher TCO, margin erosion, and suboptimal/rigid customer support tools.


How Are Leading IXPs/CXPs Addressing This? 


Executives in these intersecting industries are asking themselves how are they can address its challenges and opportunities:


  • Reduce solution costs, both initially and over time; this involves architectural choices (for service agility and variety) and the need for scalable platforms for future proofing – capacity, density, modularity, etc. are factors
  • Reduce time to revenue (identify and deliver new opportunities)
  • Drive up operational efficiency (resolve issues faster and more permanently)

In a recent blog, AMS-IX asserted that moving to SLX 9850 helped AMS-IX reduce complexity, increase scale, and save cost from fewer core sites, and in turn allows them to be more competitive in gaining new customers. 


Henk Steenman, their CTO, noted that, “This development is helping us prepare our infrastructure for the future. This not only supports ongoing growth, but also fulfils the need for more bandwidth. It will help us manage the increasing amount of traffic, deliver more 100G-ports and get things done in a more cost-efficient way. This, in turn, will allow us to reduce prices further.”


Leveraging Automation


By leveraging Brocade solutions, IXPs/CXPs have a pathway to reduce time to revenue (example: they can leverage automation to turn up and start billing for new services in minutes, hours or days instead of weeks or months). Use of Brocade Workflow Composer including the IXP Automation Suite can lead to higher margin services and free cycles to develop new service and application offerings.


Call to Action


To obtain the maximum CapEx and OpEx efficiency, IXPs/CxPs (and indeed all operators) must optimize:


  • Density: Achieve the lowest cost per bit of data that moves across the network using a highly efficient platform
  • Scalability: need a more continuous way of scaling their Infrastucture to meet short-medium term requirements
  • Visibility: Increase service uptime and tighten SLAs (without increased costs) to enable greater competitiveness and/or perceived value; also provide the collected data needed for intelligent automation
  • Automacity: Leverage intelligent automation to create margin opportunities for services delivered


For more information, see the links in this article and the following:  



Events: come talk to us about how you can prepare your infrastructure for the future at the 30th Euro-IX Forum in Barcelona April 9th ( and the 12th annual Global Peering Forum in New York City April 24th (