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Equinix CTO offers tips for improving Internet performance

Jun 02, 20043 mins
Internet Service ProvidersNetworking

* What's the best way to improve your company's 'Net services?

What’s the best way to improve the performance of your company’s Internet services? It may be avoiding the Internet altogether, says Jay Adelson, CTO and founder of Equinix, which is a leading provider of Internet exchange services and data centers.

Adelson’s opinion on Internet performance is worth noting because of where Equinix sits at the Internet’s core. Equinix provides private peering points in the U.S. and Asia to ISPs such as BellSouth, MCI and XO. Popular Web sites that use Equinix’ 14 collocation centers include, Ticketmaster, Google and Yahoo.

“We’ve built the core of the Internet, and for various performance, economic and other reasons, many companies need to be at the core,” Adelson says. “That’s the attraction of our collocation facilities. They’re more sophisticated around the switching systems and cross connections and offer higher security.”

Equinix provides its 775 ISP and enterprise customers with the opportunity to connect directly with up to 190 different networks at the IP and transport levels. These customers use multiple network service provides to guarantee the highest-possible performance and availability.

Given his experience serving the Internet’s most demanding customers, Adelson recommends that corporate network managers analyze their most important applications and determine where the majority of the traffic is going. He says the best way to improve network performance metrics – such as availability, latency, packet loss or jitter- is to connect traffic directly to its destination.

“Even the biggest network in the world sees the majority of its traffic leaving the network,” Adelson says. “You really have to be sensitive to that to maximize network performance.”

Adelson says network managers should look at their key applications – such as Oracle databases or spam filtering or disaster recovery – and see where their traffic is headed when it leaves their networks. They need to analyze how much traffic goes to which providers at what cost. Analyzing the final destination of the company’s data should help the network manager choose the right mix of service providers.

“As enterprises move towards geographically diverse infrastructures and 100% availability metrics, they become more performance sensitive,” Adelson says. With a service like Equinix offers, an enterprise can choose how many networks it wants to use to ensure direct connections with the right destination networks, he adds.

The ultimate performance may come from avoiding the Internet altogether, Adelson says.

“Take a company that uses a spam filtering service, where 100% of their e-mail traffic passes through the spam filtering service. Most of those spam-filtering providers are our customers. They’re connected to our switching fabric. If the enterprise uses our service, that traffic never traverses the Internet. No Internet backbone is involved,” Adelson explains. “Performance is always better with direct connections to end users and applications.”