A history of transformation Part I: Unleashing connectivity

For nearly 20 years, Interxion has been at the forefront of the technology trends reshaping the world. In the first half of this two-part blog series, Andrew Fray, Managing Director - Interxion UK, looks back at the history of Interxion’s London data centre campus – from the reality of the internet, to today’s internet-driven reality – and how this crucial location in the heart of the capital has helped customers connect, exchange and transform.

By: Andrew Fray

As Interxion approaches its twentieth anniversary, what better time to look back at the origin, growth and evolution of our London data centre campus?

Founded in 1998, Interxion’s ‘carrier hotel’ mission-statement immediately differentiated it from other non-neutral data centres run by major incumbents like BT or Fujitsu. For the major organisations running their own costly purpose-built facilities, Interxion brought new choice and flexibility. As part of its pan-European footprint, Interxion’s London campus eliminated vendor lock-in from the outset, offering a carrier-neutral home for both voice and data.

As retail colocation prospered, some commentators predicted that data centres would soon become commoditised, with price becoming the only significant differentiator between companies that were essentially just there to provide power, space and cooling. However, Interxion knew a “race-to-zero” on cost was unlikely; connectivity was becoming ever more important.

Strategically positioned between the Square Mile and the growing technology start-up cluster that would become Tech City, our London campus immediately enabled customers to reach local and international markets in whatever way best suited their business. As a result, we steadily attracted a thriving community of organisations, spanning every sector.

From the off, Interxion invested heavily in bringing connectivity into the London campus, offering customers the broadest possible spectrum of carriers, content delivery networks (CDNs) and internet service providers (ISPs). When the dotcom bubble burst, taking 17 of the 27 pan-European data centre players with it, those colocation providers that had invested in exceptional connectivity were the ones to stay afloat.

Going lean and green

During the 2000s, the need for greater cost-effectiveness joined forces with rising environmental awareness, creating an urgent push for more efficient power consumption. With data centres generating carbon emissions on a par with airlines, ‘going green’ became increasingly important to businesses and brands.

As a result, some data centre operators turned to colder climes. Locating facilities in areas like Scandinavia offered both the potential for passive cooling, as well as an abundance of eco-friendly geothermal or hydroelectric power. However, Interxion clearly couldn’t abandon its central London location: as a global hub for telecoms companies, cloud providers and international fibre optic links, the capital offered low latency connectivity for increasingly critical business applications and services. Ultimately, the rise of virtualisation enabled us to reduce data centre power, space and cooling requirements by around four-fifths, while still allowing customers to profit from the capital’s dense and diverse connectivity.

Peering ahead

In 2008, Interxion’s commitment to connectivity led the London Internet Exchange (LINX) to establish a Point of Presence (PoP) in the London campus - driving greater choice, flexibility and value for its members, as well as diversifying its infrastructure across the capital to enhance availability and resilience. In 2010, the London Access Point (LONAP) followed suit, bringing more options to Interxion customers and amplifying our “connectivity gravity”, which has continued to draw in even more organisations.

Today, our greatly expanded London campus hosts over 90 connectivity providers and eight major CDNs. With these companies just a cross-connect away, customers can make informed investments to maximise performance, reach and cost-efficiency - giving them an edge over competitors when it comes to both growth and innovation.

In the next blog, we’ll see how the emergence of the cloud gave birth to a data-driven world where security and resilience are top priorities. In the meantime, why not explore how Interxion’s expanding London data centre campus can help your business exchange data, solve problems and seek competitive advantage with unrivalled connectivity in the heart of the capital?