DartPoints: Opportunity in digital infrastructure as the internet builds to the edge

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DartPoints: Opportunity in digital infrastructure as the internet builds to the edge

Enterprises have a growing number of choices when it comes to managing their digital infrastructure. Options range from on-premises data centers to a traditional global colocation facility. This is why DartPoints has invested in its business, leadership, and strategy.

In 2020 Scott Willis was hired as President and CEO of DartPoints. This started a two-year journey of investing in the business and building the company’s product and expansion strategy that combines hybrid cloud and digital infrastructure with the company’s edge and traditional colocation and managed services products, including infrastructure, cloud, and security offerings. Recently, DartPoints detailed how it sees the evolution of the Internet and digital infrastructure ecosystem evolving.

In the late ‘90s, the “first ring” of the internet highway was built in large metropolitan areas. Today the third ring is being built in smaller cities; this build-out is often referred to as edge computing. In a recent interview conducted by EdgeIR with DartPoint’s CTO, Brad Alexander, he discussed how the company fits into the edge ecosystem and how it is helping communities benefit from an interconnected digital economy.

EdgeIR:  What is your perspective on internet and data center growth, and the impact data centers have on local economies?

Brad Alexander: Economies seem to continue to grow around these markets with a concentration on data centers and internet connectivity. If you fast forward that growth over the next 10 years, what DartPoints and the industry project is a vision for the edge that continues to move further and further away from large markets such as New York, Dallas, the Bay Area, and Chicago.

A regional edge facility is what DartPoints offers to smaller mid-market areas. The goal is to continue to build out that third ring of the internet highway while bringing along enterprise edge computing that includes a full line of interconnectivity and the associated managed services that come with that.

There is a hyperactive deployment and a hyperactive economy that’s being built in those smaller mid-market areas, just like the hyperscalers did in the early days. DartPoints wants to deliver, cultivate, and enable neutral interconnection points that are inside these mid-markets. We want to push the acceleration of edge computing in those markets and then create a robust peering ecosystem to help these markets have the same product sets and services that the tier one and tier two markets have today.

EdgeIR:  Can you give an example of a market you are in and the impact on the surrounding communities that you are serving?

Brad Alexander: Dublin, Ohio is one of the most progressive smart cities; they are working on delivering 10G fiber to the home and 100G to businesses.

We have learned, from the wins in this community, how to handle the demarcation of the fiber and deliver services that will enable us to expand into other markets that are looking at smart city-type applications. We are sharing many of our use cases with other smart cities, discussing topics such as the autonomous driving gateways that are in or around that area.

We recently had a conversation with a municipality in Kentucky now wanting to understand how we were involved with the smart city and what we were delivering, from an edge standpoint, that helped our client accelerate their deployment.

EdgeIR:  The University of South Carolina is among your newer customers. Can you tell us about what problems you solved and how that pertains to enterprise customers?

Brad Alexander: One of the interesting edge use cases that we did for the University of South Carolina was to provide a fully software-defined data center offering that also included disaster recovery services. This is so important for edge because this facility is directly connected over a state-owned fiber, allowing us the ability to provide sub-one millisecond latency for their entire compute environment.

We are seeing other mid-market states, and regions within states, with universities, who are looking to really dip their toe into their first cloud or digital transformation journey. A lot of them are just trying to figure out how to get into the cloud. We can offer a better solution that futureproofs universities for continued cloud-native growth.

Within our portfolio, we can offer data center services while also keeping disaster recovery and production applications in-state which will elevate the entire educational student body experience.

EdgeIR:  Can you explain what disaster recovery means in this case?

Brad Alexander: The University of South Carolina did have disaster recovery and production on campus but they were across campus from each other. Our service provided the ability to pick workloads and put them in a portfolio while delivering the customer additional toolsets. The result was faster recovery, easier testability, and an overall better experience.

The customer also wanted to be able to have a near-production experience during disaster recovery, but also be able to be outside of a geographical natural disaster zone. We put them in a facility about 90 miles north of their original data center. In the second one of our facilities, we brought in connectivity that would allow for that latency to still be in that single-digit round trip. The experience, even during disaster recovery, will allow them to function even as production rolls over.

EdgeIR: How have edge data center services made an impact in the region?

Brad Alexander: Earlier I discussed what the data center does for the economy. The University of South Carolina is one of the major state universities with two facilities in the state. Being able to bring in dollars and keep those dollars in the state economy is a compelling reason to use an edge data center and cloud provider like us and keep everything local. We can give you a better experience. We can give you that elasticity that you expect in a consumption-based cloud model.

We add on all the security advantages including data protection and governance when there is a potential issue of data sovereignty; plus, we keep data in the state. This is a big reason we continue to provide more and more services to the university because that experience is heightened so much by our location.

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