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As data centers evolved from more than just compute storage warehouses to major interconnection and aggregation points enabling all kinds of connectivity solutions, that’s why The INCOMPAS Show 2020 brought together data center operators from leading companies to discuss how they are enabling software-defined interconnection solutions.

The discussion, organized by the Independent Data Center Alliance, hosted individuals from companies such as DataGryd, Bluebird Network and Bluebird Underground Data Center, NYI and DartPoints explored how platform makers can enable improved network performance, provide greater control, reduce costs and enhanced flexibility with fortified access to networks of all kinds – through a single connection.

As one could imagine, the conversation immediately centered around the drastic changes seen due to the pandemic response. Hugh Carspecken of DartPoints made the analogy as follows:

“What we’ve seen with the pandemic is a compelling event colliding with a paradigm shift, where the data, which has traditionally  found its way through the tier one market, is now trying to find its way into these smaller markets – such as schools. So, all of our networking customers are all in a flurry of making sure that they can provide ample bandwidth and applications to their students, which is usually on that very last mile. Which brings up the point that many network’s have shifted from the commercial networks, to the residential real estate networks, which has been a compelling event that has had people identifying a need to place resources closer to what their end users are using, not necessarily where the data generators are located. This has been very difficult. This is the equivalent of trying to sell fire extinguishers while the house is already burning down.”

Tom Brown of DataGryd also had similar insights:

“What we’ve seen during this pandemic is opportunities come into our funnel that otherwise we would now. We are also seeing our existing customers really fortifying what they have, and taking a look at what they really need. For example, from our wholesale side of the cyber business, we’re seeing folks doubling up their space, for instance, this very Zoom call, right? We saw an explosion in need [for Zoom-type conferencing]. So, we’re seeing a lot of that demand when it came to Zoom, and nearly overnight we had to pivot.”

The conversation also pivoted to data center needs in rural markets. Michael Morey of Bluebird Network and Bluebird Underground Data Center went on to discuss the importance of data centers in rural areas:

“I think Bluebird network is kind of uniquely placed to comment because we do have a 10,000 mile fiber network in the Midwest, Missouri, Illinois and nine surrounding states. … And what we saw back in March, was a huge jump in utilization of the network as a whole about 30% jump and just went boom, straight up. And it has continued to go up since March, but a much more reduced rate. We’re fortunate in that, as a data fiber provider throughout the Midwest, we’ve built to a point where there were no real capacity problems. As Hugh mentioned earlier, when you start pushing from the commercial facilities out to residential facilities, you may start to see some problems with the capacity getting out to the residence facilities, but at least at the interconnection point, because Bluebird is as a fiber network provider to many of those residential service providers.”

To further discuss the issues of outages, Phil Koblence of NYI opined:

“I don’t know that we’ve seen more outages, I just think they’re more acute and obvious, because everyone is working remotely. I think, you know, the reason why level three and CenturyLink are trending all over social media is because basically, the entire internet went down this weekend. I mean, it’s a really large network, obviously, but it touched really every part of the planet, because of the kind of nature of that outage and the size of that network. But inherently I think as an industry, and we all probably can speak to this, you only get remembered for your downtime you never get nobody ever calls you and says thank you for being up 99.999% of the time. I’m still waiting for that bottle of wine from customers for the point 00.1% of downtime that they’ve seen. But you know, it’s just more acute, and it’s more obvious. And it’s why you know, you get more coverage of bad Yelp reviews for restaurants than you do have good Yelp reviews for restaurants. Because bad news sells.”

For a full look at the 2020 INCOMPAS conversation organized by the Independent Data Center Alliance, visit: