Interxion provides colocation data centre services in 11 countries across Europe. It offers carrier-neutral colocation services, including the provision of space, power and creation of a secure environment in which to house customers’ computing, network, storage and IT infrastructure.
Interxion also offers a Cloud Connect service, which provides its customers with a gateway into public cloud services via private connectivity instead of the Internet, creating a secure platform for the exchange of services and software between the major cloud service providers. Cloud Connect is operated through a software portal that gives Interxion’s customers full control over their service. Larger enterprises also use Cloud Connect, often acting as a managed service provider to provide cross-departmental services and billing for the cloud services that their users consume.
“Our company strategy is all about enabling enterprise digital transformation through what we like to call Colocated Hybrid Clouds,” explained Mitesh Chauhan, Senior Product Manager for Cloud Services at Interxion. “We recognised that not everything can be in the cloud, there has to be a reliable and secure physical infrastructure to underpin cloud services and that’s what Interxion provides.”
Interxion had already successfully launched its Cloud Connect service, providing customers in eight regions with connectivity into public cloud offerings such as AWS and Azure. Interxion was ready to expand, but the switches the Cloud Connect service ran over had reached end-of-life.
Interxion’s Cloud Connect platform was fully-automated, integrating every function, from provisioning to billing and included a customer self-service portal. Its legacy switches had been designed into this automated system. Interxion’s challenge was to replace legacy switches in its eight regions without affecting its customers, expand its footprint to 13 regions and most importantly, retain the functionality of its automated systems.
Every region also required a high-availability platform with resilient routers in its data centres, to ensure business continuity for its customers.
After an evaluation of new technologies, Interxion decided to replace its legacy switches with a Juniper Networks solution. “Juniper offered us an unprecedented pedigree and reliability in the routing space, backed up by a strong roadmap that would enable us to develop future services,” explained Chauhan. “More importantly, Junos Space Connectivity Services Director gave us a robust and open management platform that could seamlessly integrate with our systems to enable full automation for our customers.”
Interxion upgraded its network to Juniper Networks MX480 3D Universal Edge Router and MX960 3D Universal Edge Router. The MX480 and MX960 platforms are SDN-ready routers that deliver high performance, reliability and scalability for service provider and cloud applications. The MX480 offers 5.76 Tbps of system capacity and the MX960 routers are designed to deliver over 10 Tbps of system capacity. They both support a wide range of Layer 2 (L2) and Layer 3 (L3) VPN services; fully-integrated routing, switching and security services; and investment protecting scale and density to accommodate future growth.
The network is orchestrated by Junos Space Connectivity Services Director, which enables Interxion to quickly and reliably design, provision and deliver new services across its network. Connectivity Services Director also performs automated service discovery, resource management, service design, error-free provisioning, troubleshooting and monitoring. It runs on the Juniper Networks Junos Space Management Platform and uses all of the features and functions that are available through Junos Space, including schema-based configuration management, clustering and geo-redundancy.
“Junos Space Connectivity Services Director is part of our cloud orchestration platform,” added Chauhan, “We use its APIs to communicate directly with the Juniper systems, giving us an abstraction layer between our customer-facing systems and the network hardware. This gives us the flexibility to make changes to either system independently.”
The first phase of the deployment offers L2 connectivity and a second phase is now being rolled out, offering full L3 connectivity. Interxion used Xantaro, Juniper’s Elite partner, to project manage the rollout and install the network. The Juniper Networks Professional Services team helped with the design and re-engineering of Interxion’s business processes.
Xantaro’s professional services team worked closely with Juniper and Interxion to ensure that the complete solution met the requirements for both service design and automation goals. Xantaro also made sure that the transition to operation and ongoing support was efficient by completing an extensive knowledge transfer process at Xantaro’s Technical Assistance Centre (XTAC) for the end-to-end solution.
“All the individuals we worked with were really credible and really knew their subject,” said Chauhan. “They were each expert in their area, whether that was the hardware, the operating system, or the orchestration platform. They allowed us to fully-leverage the platform we’d bought, plugging any holes in our own knowledge.”
Interxion successfully deployed its new network platform, migrating its existing customers across multiple data centres and providing access to AWS, Microsoft Azure and other major cloud service providers. The entire project only took three months to prepare and three months to execute, including bringing the new regions online and adding more reporting capabilities.
This included the time taken for Interxion to educate its teams on the new networking hardware and software and to re-code its own software stack in order to integrate the Juniper system.
Advanced features on the MX Series routers have simplified operations and accelerated service turn-up. Interxion can now segregate customer data using L2 VPNs instead of the basic VLANs its legacy switches supported. This allows it to segment its clients’ data into more granular VPNs that can be automatically created across its network, regardless of the number of hops, rather than manually provisioning segmentation on each hop and having to manually provision and map VLANs from one hop to the next. Now it only takes Interxion a few minutes to provision a new service.
In addition to automation, the introduction of Junos Space Connectivity Services Director has also increased service uptime and reduced risk.
“Our new network means that we can bring on more and more cloud service providers, enriching our platform and increasing value to our customers,” said Chauhan. “And the added capacity means we have plenty of room for growth. Now we can scale up as well as scale out, so we can add capacity on-demand,
wherever we need it.”
Next, Interxion plans to introduce L3 connectivity services for their customers, which wasn’t possible on its previous switched network infrastructure. “This will be another massive benefit of the new network,” concluded Chauhan. “Without it, we’d have been limited to cloud service providers who only operate at L2, but now we can serve customers looking for L3 services as well, such as SaaS providers. The industry has focused a lot on the software and the cloud, but it all needs robust connectivity.
We’ve built a service to address that, a fully-automated service in the marketplace.”