Welcome CDN Mini-PoP Architecture, Courtesy of EdgeConnex


Confession: I totally underestimated EdgeConneX. They aren’t a Cool Startup as I recently wrote, they are a game changer to CDN Network Footprint Architecture. And who are CDNs? Pure-plays, Netflix, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, Mobile Operators, Cable Operators and Network Operators. EdgeConneX is being secretive on purpose though, as they don’t want to give out too much of their secret sauce on what they’re doing. Media giant Comcast is an investor and customer, along with Akamai, which makes it even more intriguing. Akamai clearly saw the importance of the EdgeConneX go-to market strategy and invested. EdgeConneX is likely to impact CDN PoP Network Footprint Architecture in the same way SSD drives impacted CDN architectures.

CDN SuperPoP Network Architecture

All CDNs compete against Akamai’s large network footprint with the “SuperPoP Architecture”. The SuperPoP is a PoP located at a strategic peering exchange, such as One Wilshire, 60 Hudson, or NAP of the Americas, where CDNs co-locate dozens of high performance servers in multiple racks, which are connected to multiple Tier 1 providers. With a network footprint of 25 to 30 SuperPoPs, CDNs are within milliseconds of 95% of the worlds eyeball population. EdgeConneX flips the notion of the SuperPoP on its head.

EdgeConneX strategy is to build power dense edge data centers in localized regions like Memphis, Nashville, Portland, Salt Lake City and San Diego, which are closer to the eyeball networks. The strategy is genius, because instead of content delivery companies caching their content in LA like One Wilshire, they can now cache content in San Diego, eliminating the need for content to travel across the LA to San Diego distance. And there are hundreds of San Deigo like situations across the country and world. In the coming months, we’ll discuss the impact to the industry in a series of post. For now, here are some highlights:

  • EdgeConneX is the Traders Joes of the Data Center world, building compact power dense data centers of 15,000 to 40,000 in size
  • EdgeConnex racks support 30kW per rack and 600 watts per square foot
  • EdgeConnex is all about localized data centers that are much closer to the eyeball networks than their more popular counterparts
  • EdgeConneX builds data centers in areas that are sitting on/near fiber rich areas
  • EdgeConneX is a must for CDNs, as milliseconds in performance improvement counts
  • CDNs building PoPs in EdgeConneX facilities are mini-PoPs, because less hardware is required to serve smaller eyeball networks, as compared to SuperPoPs
  • CDNs may now cache their content in the last mile in some regions just like Comcast
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