1. Recently, you wrote the blog post “What’s Peering?” can you talk about your background and what’s your role at Verizon Terremark?
I’ve been involved with peering in one way, shape or form for over 10 years, starting at Global Crossing in a more operational role and eventually becoming the peering lead focusing on Europe and Latin America. I then joined Limelight as the global peering manager, a position I occupied for them for seven years. In those capacities, I’ve been on both sides of the table in just about every possible scenario and have made many great friends and even some enemies.
At Verizon Terremark, while I am still responsible for the peering efforts for Verizon Terremark’s network, my role has shifted again to become more of a facilitator of peering between Verizon Terremark’s customers in its datacenters and across the Internet exchanges that Verizon Terremark operates. One of my first goals is to increase the transparency of the exchanges and to make it easier for companies to be able to exchange traffic with each other via a number of tools that are slated to be instituted before the end of the year.
2. So, you are now leading Verizon Terremark’s peering efforts. Where do you see the opportunity for Verizon Terremark to grow in the peering space?
I’d like to see Verizon Terremark take the lead in some of the markets in which we operate where the peering ecosystem is not as developed as the major interconnectivity markets such as Los Angeles or London. We have a wonderful opportunity to do so because of the data center footprint that not only Terremark brought to the table, but Verizon had as well. We will be evaluating whether to lead the charge ourselves, or whether to team with existing Internet exchange operators and/or data center operators to do so.
3. How do you think enterprises can benefit from the peering fabric and relationships Verizon Terremark has?
While there are some large enterprises where it makes sense for them to devote architectural, engineering, and operational staffs to their interconnectivity needs, the average enterprise probably wouldn’t get enough benefit out of that to outweigh the enormous and mostly unaccounted for costs associated with that. We at Verizon Terremark make it easy for the average enterprise to reap the benefits of the diversity and richness of connectivity we have in place in our largest facilities by simply connecting to our peering fabrics connecting to dozens and even hundreds of other like-minded companies with a single cable.
Also, aggregating a large number of competitors in the same building and having them vie for an enterprise’s business helps increase that enterprise’s bargaining advantage. Dense, carrier rich facilities create their own gravity and attract even more companies that need to interconnect.
4. Most tech trade publications like NetworkWorld and InformationWeek are filled with articles covering cloud and big data, why do you think peering doesn’t usually top the headlines?
For the most part, peering really isn’t that interesting because of the safety net that upstream transit providers supply. The companies that have open peering polices (no requirements) mostly peer with everyone else that have open peering policies and when they qualify for peering with companies that have selective (or reasonably attainable) requirements, they peer with them as well and then use their transit to reach everyone else. Companies with selective policies mostly peer with other companies with selective policies (since peering policies mostly mirror each other), some of the open peers that meet their requirements, and some of the restrictive peers (very difficult to meet requirements) if they meet their requirements.
The only time that peering makes the news is when companies with restrictive policies (essentially so difficult to attain that they don’t turn up new peers) clash with each other, or when a selective peer makes their peering requirements harder to attain and then disconnects companies that don’t meet the new requirements.
5. How has peering changed over the last five years? How do you think it will continue to evolve in the next five?
Even five years ago, an overwhelming majority of companies had open peering policies, so peering was mostly administered by a company’s engineering or operations departments. In the past, I made the argument that there was more benefit to having a selective peering policy than an open one. I’ve noticed that over the course of the last couple of years, more and more companies have started adopting more selective policies as well. I believe that the majority of companies are still open, but it’s nowhere near as many as before. But that’s OK, each company needs to make interconnectivity decisions that make the most sense for them, just as they do with every other facet of their business.