Globalization and Hosting: The World Wide Web is Flat

July 26, 2011

Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, on August 3, 1492, with the goal of reaching the East Indies by traveling West. He fortuitously failed by stumbling across the New World and the discovery that the world was round – a globe. In The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman calls this discovery "Globalization 1.0," or an era of "countries globalizing." As transportation and technology grew and evolved in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, "Globalization 2.0" brought an era of "companies globalizing," and around the year 2000, we moved into "Globalization 3.0":

The dynamic force in Globalization 3.0 – the force that gives it its unique character – is the newfound power for individuals to collaborate and compete globally. And the phenomenon that is enabling, empowering, and enjoining individuals and small groups to go global so easily and so seamlessly is what I call the flat-world platform.

Columbus discovered the world wasn't flat, we learned how to traverse that round world, and we keep making that world more and more accessible. He found out that the world was a lot bigger than everyone thought, and since his discovery, the smartest people on the planet have worked to make that huge world smaller and smaller.

The most traditional measure of globalization is how far "out" political, economical and technological changes extend. Look at the ARPANET network infrastructure in 1971 and a map of the Internet as it is today.

With every step Columbus took away from the Old World, he was one step closer to the New World. If you look at the growth of the Internet through that lens, you see that every additional node and connection added to the Internet brings connectivity closer to end-users who haven't had it before. Those users gain access to the rest of the Internet, and the rest of the Internet gains access to the information and innovation those users will provide.

Globalization in Hosting

As technology and high speed connectivity become more available to users around the world, the hosting industry has new markets to reach and serve. As Lance explained in a keynote session, "50% of the people in the world are not on the Internet today. They will be on the Internet in the next 5-10 years."

Understanding this global shift, SoftLayer can choose from a few different courses of action. Today, 40+% of our customers reside outside the United States of America, and we reach those customers via 2,000+ Gbps of network connectivity from transit and peering relationships with other networks around the world, and we've been successful. If the Internet is flattening the world, a USA-centric infrastructure may be limiting, though.

Before we go any further, let's take a step back and look at a map of the United States with a few important overlays:

US Latency

The three orange circles show the rough equivalents of the areas around our data centers in Seattle, Dallas and Washington, D.C., that have less than 40 milliseconds of latency directly to that facility. The blue circle on the left shows the same 40ms ring around our new San Jose facility (in blue to help avoid a little confusion). If a customer can access their host's data center directly with less than 40ms of latency, that customer will be pretty happy with their experience.

When you consider that each of the stars on the map represents a point of presence (PoP) on the SoftLayer private network, you can draw similar circles around those locations to represent the area within 40ms of the first on-ramp to our private network. While Winnipeg, Manitoba, isn't in one of our data center's 40ms rings, a user there would be covered by the Chicago PoP's coverage, and once the user is on the SoftLayer network, he or she has a direct, dedicated path to all of our data centers, and we're able to provide a stellar network experience.

If in the next 5-10 years, the half of the world that isn't on the Internet joins the Internet, we can't rely solely on our peering and transit providers to get those users to the SoftLayer network, so we will need to bring the SoftLayer network closer to them:

Global Network

This map gives you an idea of what the first steps of SoftLayer's international expansion will look like. As you've probably heard, we will have a data center location in Singapore and in Amsterdam by the end of the year, and those locations will be instrumental in helping us build our global network.

Each of the points of presence we add in Asia and Europe effectively wrap our 40ms ring around millions of users that may have previously relied on several hops on several providers to get to the SoftLayer network, and as a result, we're able to power a faster and more consistent network experience for those users. As SoftLayer grows, our goal is to maintain the quality of service our customers expect while we extend the availability of that service quality to users around the globe.

If you're not within 40ms of our network yet, don't worry ... We're globalizing, and we'll be in your neighborhood soon.

-@gkdog

Comments

July 29th, 2011 at 1:37pm

Kudos to SL efforts in establishing a global network of datacenters which would offer the same level of automation and technical services which we have come to expect from you folks!

Currently the latency from our end to SL servers is about 350ms, so it would be very interesting to see how our clients would react to the improved response times from the Singapore DC. I am sure this would spark more competitiveness in the Asian DC market which is currently charging a stiff premium to clients due to their geographical proximity.

September 10th, 2011 at 11:23pm

Good read but it does not make any mention to Latin American customers :S.

November 24th, 2011 at 4:29pm

Indeed, it would be great to have some better latency from Brazil. It's a booming market with very bad competitors.

December 12th, 2011 at 2:24pm

They should indeed increase the internet speed there.

December 16th, 2011 at 3:48am

How comes your "Asia and Europa" does not include Russia, the world's biggest country residing in both Europe and Asia zones at the same time? Shame on you!

December 23rd, 2011 at 5:14pm

Congratulations for that effort, but dont forget LatinAmerica a big and growing market.

February 22nd, 2012 at 6:41am

That's great news you're expanding. I am located in Lebanon, so which location you recommend for the middle east ? I already got a server in dallas.

Thanks

September 29th, 2012 at 1:19am

China now and in the future will be the biggest growth market, predicting a good market for hosting.

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Comments

July 29th, 2011 at 1:37pm

Kudos to SL efforts in establishing a global network of datacenters which would offer the same level of automation and technical services which we have come to expect from you folks!

Currently the latency from our end to SL servers is about 350ms, so it would be very interesting to see how our clients would react to the improved response times from the Singapore DC. I am sure this would spark more competitiveness in the Asian DC market which is currently charging a stiff premium to clients due to their geographical proximity.

September 10th, 2011 at 11:23pm

Good read but it does not make any mention to Latin American customers :S.

November 24th, 2011 at 4:29pm

Indeed, it would be great to have some better latency from Brazil. It's a booming market with very bad competitors.

December 12th, 2011 at 2:24pm

They should indeed increase the internet speed there.

December 16th, 2011 at 3:48am

How comes your "Asia and Europa" does not include Russia, the world's biggest country residing in both Europe and Asia zones at the same time? Shame on you!

December 23rd, 2011 at 5:14pm

Congratulations for that effort, but dont forget LatinAmerica a big and growing market.

February 22nd, 2012 at 6:41am

That's great news you're expanding. I am located in Lebanon, so which location you recommend for the middle east ? I already got a server in dallas.

Thanks

September 29th, 2012 at 1:19am

China now and in the future will be the biggest growth market, predicting a good market for hosting.

Leave a Reply

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