Google, Cloudflare and Fastly Continue Adding PoPs and Network Capacity


Google, Cloudflare and Fastly each started the New Year with announcements about overseas expansions of their points of presence (PoP) and a growth in network capacity and infrastructure.

Google Adds Five New Regions and Three New Subsea Cables

In 2018, Google, which started as a research project nicknamed “BackRub” by its founders, then Stanford PhD students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, has spent $30 billion improving its infrastructure over the last three years. It is already the world’s largest network, delivering around 25% of worldwide Internet traffic.

Yesterday, Google announced it is continuing to invest in expanding its global presence and improve its network, by adding three new submarine cables, and five new regions in Europe, North America and Asia.

Across 2018, the multinational tech company will open regions in the Netherlands, Montreal, Los Angeles, Finland and Hong Kong. In 2019, it is commissioning three subsea cables: Curie, a private cable that will connect Chile to Los Angeles; Havfrue, a consortium cable connecting the U.S. to Denmark and Ireland; and the Hong Kong-Guam Cable system (HK-G), a consortium cable which will interconnect major subsea communication hubs in Asia.

Google has direct investment in 11 cables, including those planned or currently being built. It also leases capacity on various other submarine cables.

The Curie cable (named after Nobel-prize winning scientist Marie Curie) will make Google the first major non-telecom company to build a private intercontinental cable. Owning the cable allows the world network giant to exactly define its technical specifications and streamline deployment in order to offer a faster service to its users. Once the cable is in use, Google will control the routing decisions for maximum optimization for latency and availability. As Chile’s largest single data pipe, Curie will serve Google users and customers across Latin America.

The Havfrue cable is being built as part of a consortium with Facebook, Aqua Comms and Bulk Infrastructure. Google’s investment in the direct submarine cable system, which will link the U.S. with Denmark and Ireland, is specifically focused on increasing its capacity and resiliency in North American systems. The cable is named after the Danish word for mermaid, and is expected to be in service by late 2019.

Finally, the HK-G cable, is being built in the Pacific along with RTI-C and NEC. For Google, the goal is to add to existing subsea systems to create “multiple scalable, diverse paths to Australia”, in order to increase its presence in the Pacific region. Users and customers in Asia and Australia will see improved capacity and latency as a result, and its new Hong Kong region will see its network capacity increased.

Google already has over 100 PoP and over 7,500 edge caching nodes. The latest round of investments will allow Google to keep its global edge in the network infrastructure that powers its own services, and deliver the speed, capacity and reliability that its growing list of customers demands. Its post ends with a boast, “The Google network offers better reliability, speed and security performance as compared with the nondeterministic performance of the public internet, or other cloud networks”.

Cloudflare Announces its 120th Data Center in Salt Lake City and “a Massive Expansion” to Come in 2018

In 2015 Cloudflare announced it had become a Google Cloud Platform Technology partner allowing it to take advantage of the flexibility and scalability of Google’s infrastructure, while offering “the power and protection” of the CloudFlare community.

Last week, Cloudflare revealed its own latest expansion with its newest data center opening in Salt Lake City, Utah. This marks its 120th data center worldwide. Cloudflare describe Salt Lake as “just the beginning for 2018”. It forecasts facilities in 200 cities and 100 countries worldwide by the end of 2018, meaning that 95% of the world’s population will live in a country that hosts a Cloudflare data center.

The company that describes itself as a “next generation CDN” and “a caching reverse proxy” is front-loading the expansion into the first quarter of this year.

The blog post says, “We currently have equipment on the ground in 30 new cities. Our SRE team is working to get them all turned up over the course of the next three months. To give you some sense of the pace, that’s almost twice as many cities as we turned up in all of 2017.”

The map listed at the bottom of the post detailing live data centers, those in progress and those in which a data center is planned to open in 2018 already has bloggers excitedly talking about it. Indian website builder, Preshit Deorukhkar, the same day published a post spotting and discussing the potential data centers for India.

New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai each already have a Cloudflare data center presence, and Deorukhkar anticipates more.

“The fourth dot, seen in orange, looks like a new data center in progress in or around Nagpur in central India. Similarly, the fifth dot, seen in teal here looks like a new data center in or close to Bengaluru planned for sometime in 2018. It also looks like Cloudflare will be launching a new data center in Nepal.” He added, “As someone who lives in Mumbai and builds websites for clients — the majority of whom are located in the Indian subcontinent, I’m incredibly excited about all this.”

Fastly Announces 46 PoPs and 20 Tbps of Connected Edge Capacity

 Fastly also rang in the New Year by announcing its plans for the year ahead and celebrating its remarkable growth across 2017.

Looking ahead at the year, Fastly writes “our Q1 2018 plan calls for 10+ deployment activities (new POPs or upgrades) around the globe! Our teams completed physical upgrades in three existing metro markets which we’ll bring live in January.” They also promise the announcement of a new PoP “in a long-awaited location”, which is currently being tested, which will bring their total count of points of presence to 47.

Looking back over 2017, Fastly employees Ryan Landry and Tom Daly note some of the company’s major milestones last year.

Since Daly’s last update in August 2017, Fastly has deployed three additional PoP in the U.S., upgrading its services in Atlanta, Georgia; Houston, Texas; and Palo Alto, California to double its ability to serve traffic within these critical Internet hubs. These major hubs received Fastly’s latest 25/100GE PoP architecture, which not only strengthen their service in existing areas, but also provide them with “geographic diversity to existing deployments”.

In December 2017, Fastly added three new locations globally: Tokyo, Japan saw a new 100GE-enabled PoP; Cape Town, South Africa was activated (providing resiliency to its recently deployed Johannesburg PoP); as was “a long-awaited deployment in Columbus, Ohio”. Fastly says, its internal traffic management systems “allow us to move, balance, and redirect traffic to these locations on a performance and demand basis”.

Only ten months ago, Fastly was at 10 Tbps of connected edge capacity, and now it’s doubled that to 20 Tbps.

The post also goes into detail about the technological advances that have enabled this rapid growth.

“A large number of our North America and Europe IP transit links are delivered from our providers over 100GE ports. When we connect to new internet exchange points (IXPs), such as Coresite Any2 Los Angeles, we now simply drop in 2x100GE ports. When we needed to scale up capacity to the Equinix Chicago Exchange, we re-used some existing cross connects to upgrade from 60Gbps of capacity to 200Gbps of capacity overnight.”

Furthermore, its new global PoP were deployed with its 25/100GE technology. This also applies to upgrades – in Q4 2017, they updated PoP in Dallas, Texas; London, England; and Osaka, Japan. Each deployment can now run 100GE ports out to Internet exchanges, IP transit providers, and partner networks. In addition, Fastly connected to more IXPs and upgraded its connectivity to the Equinix Singapore Exchange and the Equinix Chicago Exchange.

Landry and Daly note that, “Our increased interconnect density makes it easier for other networks to reach Fastly, further improving customer experiences.”

Fastly continues to be one of the top ten fastest growing B2B tech companies within the last thirty years, and 2018 looks as if it will continue to race ahead full steam. Last year, the CDN was listed as one of Deloitte’s Fast 500 winners, and one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. overall. Its hitting 20 Tbps of connected global capacity is necessary given its transformation from a CDN to a cloud platform that serves over 10% of all Internet requests.

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