A couple of weeks ago, during part of my European business travel to visit our customers, I had the privilege of being invited to speak at a seminar focused on next-generation data center needs & trends at Interxion in Vienna, Austria. While the outside temperature was almost zero, the seminar was one of the best (read: fun) I’ve ever attended.
But first, who’s Interxion? Interxion is a leading pan-European provider of hosting and colocation services – which means that their end-customers own and manage their servers/network equipment while Interxion takes care of the data center space, electricity, cooling and connectivity. They have huge, impressive operation operating 28 data centers in 11 countries and serving 12,000 customers (carriers, enterprises, content providers, mobile service providers and more).
Afar from the seminar’s great content, questions and atmosphere (which I’ll tell you all about shortly), let me start from the fun part: this seminar was special and a great experience for me, the team and the audience. Right after my lecture and before dinner was served, Interxion’s CEO invited the participating customers for a “tour” in their Vienna hosting facility. And trust me, it was a remarkable event – and here’s why…
Like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, it all started when we went through no less than three security checks: sealed revolving doors at the reception zone, then biometrical check, and finally security card lock – not to mention a 4th security check for large customers who have their personal “IT cages”. After we made it in one piece, we wandered through their “highways and streets” that are named in cool names, such as “Data Highway”, “IT Boulevard” and more, if I recall correctly.
Once you “exit” a highway, you find yourself inside these huge halls containing different functions of the data center. To mention a few, we saw the huge electric generators (each one in the size of an 18-wheeler truck), UPS (specific rooms were allocated just for that), central cooling systems and of course – the inconceivable amount of IT equipment – servers, routers, switches, traffic optimizers, WAN accelerators – you name it. These were deployed in two manners: either in separate, locked cages for the large customers; or in shared areas where each customer has his/her own rack. Now, the best part was that everything was very modern, but in fact, resided in an old factory that they renovated – so we were essentially in a “building inside a building.” Apparently, I learned that this is one of our host’s strategy; to take unused facilities used for old industrial plants and convert them into state-of-the-art hosting/collocation data centers.
Who attended and what was the seminar content?
More than 70 customers attended with key, major customers/SIs including: TeleSonera, Tele2, Sprint, Telefonica, Telekom Austria, COLT, Technische Universitat Wien, SyncroTEC, Atos, Bacher, Arrow and many more. In addition, this seminar was special and nontraditional in another aspect: the audience was not sitting but rather standing around nice bar tables covered with maps in Radware’s 3-colors, drinking spirits – so they were highly focused in what the speaker had to say :-). Content-wise, Interxion’s CEO opened with greetings, then our local team gave a short intro and then I gave a 30-minute lecture about Radware’s vision and solutions for the next-generation data centers, focusing on our ADC fabric, ADC virtualization, advanced management capabilities, the business benefits to customers and more.
At the end there were several interesting questions. Some of them included, “How do I see virtualization today compared to where it all started 40 years ago!” (Already back in 1964, IBM developed the CP-40, the first virtual machine/virtual memory time-sharing OS). Good question, which made me think about how our industry has dramatically evolved… So I invite our customers to raise more questions and share their experiences. I’m definitely looking forward to more events of this type!
Until next time,