eBay speeds buying and selling for users across the globe

Case study

Since it was founded in the US in 1995, eBay has grown into a multibilliondollar business used by individuals and companies in 180 countries. Whether they’re browsing, buying or selling, users expect a fast and seamless experience on an eBay website. To meet those expectations, eBay establishes regional connectivity nodes at strategic locations around the world.

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Challenge

For eBay users in Germany and Eastern Europe, the node which helps to optimise connectivity for them has been housed at Interxion’s Frankfurt data centre campus since 2012. “Once we set up the node and connected to a range of local carriers, users in the region enjoyed a much better experience of our websites,” says Joel Wride, eBay’s Director of Global Network Services.

The node has other important jobs to do as well. In the past, eBay managed the network connections between its European offices from its campuses in Berlin and Dublin. Transatlantic connections to eBay sites in the US for data transfer and application access were managed in the same way. Now, all those connections are handled via the Frankfurt node and further nodes in other European locations.

“Setting up and managing those connections was a complex and fragmented process,” recalls Wride. “Today everything’s much simpler and more cost effective, and it’s easier to add new sites to our  corporate network.” Support for expansion.

eBay’s focus on improving the user experience didn’t stop with the creation of connectivity nodes. In common with many e-commerce providers and other interactive platforms, eBay uses content delivery networks (CDNs) to cache content closer to users for faster access. Now the company has taken another stride forward by building its own CDN capability.

“Running our own CDN programme gives us better control over the markets that matter most to us, ensuring we serve those users to the very best of our ability,” explains Wride. “Just like any other CDN, we want to be in the best connected colocation facilities. The density of carriers at Interxion Frankfurt makes it key to our CDN strategy.”

Interxion Frankfurt is the gold standard for operations against which I evaluate other colocation facilities.

Solution

eBay’s connectivity node originally took up just two cabinets in a shared area at the Frankfurt campus. Today, the company’s infrastructure fills 24 cabinets in a private suite. Even more rapid growth is forecast over the next couple of years as the company expands its CDN programme in the region. “Right from the start, we needed to be sure our colocation provider could accommodate our anticipated growth. Interxion has done that perfectly,” says Wride.

Choosing a colocation partner is about more than connectivity and scalability, however: it’s also about customer service and the way in which the facility is managed and operated. “There’s a strong team at Interxion Frankfurt, whose ethos informs the way it’s run,” says Wride. “Communication is open and honest, and I can rely on people to deliver what they promise. That makes for an excellent and transparent working relationship.”

Wride also notes that feedback — whether positive or negative — is always taken on board and used constructively. He cites the example of a cross connect installation process that was focused on accuracy, but at the expense of speed: bringing up new carriers was taking too long. “Interxion listened to what I had to say and adapted the process, cutting the timescale to less than 48 hours,” he says. “What’s more, they consistently meet that SLA, and usually beat it by a wide margin.”

Wride is now planning to extend eBay’s CDN programme into other major metro regions. Based on his experience in Frankfurt, Interxion is on his list of potential providers. “When we’re looking at new data centres, the question my team and I always ask ourselves is: how does this compare with Interxion Frankfurt?” says Wride. “It’s the gold standard for operations against which I evaluate other colocation facilities.”

ABOUT EBAY

eBay is where the world goes to shop, sell and give. Its mission is to be the world’s favourite destination for discovering great value and unique selection. eBay gives sellers the platform, solutions and support they need to grow their businesses and thrive. It measures its success by its customers’ success. For more information please visit www.ebay.com