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Console eases direct connection from data center to cloud

Interconnect vendor IIX said its new Console business simplifies the process of making a direct connection between data centers and cloud providers.

Interconnect vendor IIX Inc. has launched a cloud-based, Internet bypass service that the company claims dramatically simplifies the process of connecting an enterprise data center with a cloud service provider.

The direct connection business, called Console, is hoping to attract the attention of the many enterprises mired in the process of connecting data centers to application workloads moved to cloud providers, such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform. All three are Console partners.

"If the service really does have the one-click simplicity that Console claims, then this is a very different customer experience," said Melanie Posey, analyst at IDC, based in Framingham, Mass.

Many carriers and colocation companies, which lease space for servers and other computing hardware in a data center, provide one-to-one direct connections to a specific cloud provider. Console is providing on-demand, multi-cloud access that has similarities to services offered by AT&T, Verizon Communications Inc., Level 3 Communications LLC and Equinix Inc., Posey said.

Such services provide a data plane that enables data transfers to and from the data center and cloud provider. They also have a service orchestration piece that manages the interconnection.

Console delivers its Layer 3 service by having the customer connect its data center network to a dedicated virtual router in the Console cloud, which is connected to any company that has partnered with the vendor. Besides cloud providers, Console has direct connection partnerships with network service providers, such as SD-WAN vendor VeloCloud Networks.

A Console subscriber uses the company's online tool to configure the router to connect to one or multiple service providers. Additional routers can be added, if needed. Console's technology is based on the work of an open source project, called CloudRouter. IIX is a main contributor and sponsor of the project.

Orchestration piece cloudy

What is unclear about Console is the depth of the service orchestration piece that manages the connection, Posey said. "This is deep API integration that's much more complex than the data plane interface that establishes the direct connection link."

In describing the orchestration layer, IIX CEO Al Burgio said it establishes a "private highway before the CloudRouter source steps in to provide that Layer 3 pathway."

Companies are increasingly moving workloads out of their data centers to lower costs. By 2017, 60% of data center-based IT assets will be in colocation or hosting centers, or with a cloud provider, according to IDC.

Enterprises use services like Console's when traffic flowing to and from the cloud provider is too sensitive to move across the public Internet. A direct connection is more secure and offers higher performance.

Console is a global service because of IIX's April acquisition of interconnection provider IX Reach. The acquisition raised the number of IIX points of presence (POPs) worldwide to 150. A POP, which has a unique Internet protocol address, is an access point from one place to the rest of the Internet.

Console's launch last week was as much about partners as technology. Besides the major cloud providers and VeloCloud, Console has partnerships with network service providers Metro Optic Inc. and iTel. Technology partners include BTI Systems Inc.

Console provides an online portal that enterprises can use to shop for services provided by its partners.

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