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Zenlayer: Offering a global ‘easy button’ for edge compute, network to enterprises

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Zenlayer: Offering a global ‘easy button’ for edge compute, network to enterprises

As the demand for high-performance, low-latency digital services continues to grow, global businesses are seeking cutting-edge solutions to overcome complex challenges. Zenlayer has stepped up to meet this demand with a range of edge compute and networking services.

Enterprises need to deliver exceptional user experiences. To help customers, Zenlayer has continued to develop partnerships as it aims to become the go-to provider for companies looking to grow in an ever-evolving digital landscape. Recent developments include partnerships with Cyxtera and Digital Edge as well as awards from AWS for Partner of the Year for its role in helping customers drive innovation and build solutions on AWS.

EdgeIR spoke with David Xie, who is the Chief Product Officer of Zenlayer, to talk about why and how global companies are complementing cloud services from hyperscale providers with edge infrastructure. Xie leads the company’s Product Management and Development (PMD) organization, which includes responsibilities for cloud product development and management, as well as product marketing and partnerships. The following was edited for brevity and clarity.

EdgeIR: Can you tell us briefly about Zenlayer and what it offers to customers?

David Xie: We are a hyperconnected cloud services provider. We offer on-demand connectivity through our vast network of more than 280 PoPs, with expertise in fast-growing emerging markets like Southeast Asia, India, China, and South America. Businesses utilize our edge compute and networking services to instantly improve digital experiences for their users with ultra-low latency and worldwide connectivity on demand.

We are planning to grow from about 50 terabytes of bandwidth to about 60 to 70 terabytes this year, which is a good indicator of our growth.

One unique aspect of our business is that we provide a complete edge cloud solution to our customers; they rarely buy a single product from us; the average is over three.

For example, a gaming company will buy bare metal from us to extend their reach to serve the local end users in some of the hard-to-reach markets. Besides the compute to run their workload, they also need IP transit. To reach eyeballs, they might need cloud networking to connect their battle servers running our bare metal to their centralized infrastructure located in, for example, Singapore and Hong Kong. And then sometimes they need CDN and sometimes they will need application accelerators. There’s a full suite of edge cloud products that they can buy from us.

What role is hybrid cloud playing in driving the growth of connectivity services and edge computing?

Xie: The combination of public cloud, private cloud, and on-premise is a reality now.

The vast majority of the companies that we serve all have hybrid clouds. Gaming companies are running a ton of their workloads in the cloud; in Asia it is Ali and Tencent Cloud; here is AWS, Google Cloud, and so on. Many of them run multiple public clouds for regional coverage.

How does that drive edge? The edge complements the public clouds reasonably well. And then the connectivity between clouds is also a pain point for many customers need to solve. As a result, whenever we serve companies like gaming, streaming, or enterprise, we have to take a step back and then work with them on the whole picture. Otherwise, the solution is not going to fit in.

All large cloud providers have CDN offerings and offer services in a variety of regions. Why do customers still need to come to Zenlayer even though those companies are investing billions of dollars in infrastructure?

Xie: Although the public cloud they invest a ton into the infrastructure, the world is just too big for one company to fill. When it comes to public cloud, a customer on a public cloud trying to connect to another public cloud, that’s when both [providers] struggle, because they don’t tend to interconnect with each other.

The second thing, when it comes to connecting from cloud to on-premise, that’s another place where companies tend to struggle quite a bit. And then there are some very tough regions that are very hard for companies to get into and then build scalable solutions for all kinds of good reasons, such as China, which is dominated by three telecommunication companies.

There are many other countries where public cloud providers tend not to have good infrastructure, for example, in Southeast Asia — countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, and so on.

And Zenlayer is that “go-to” provider to tackle all these challenges for customers.

How does the edge ecosystem need to engage with hyperscale cloud providers like AWS? What are some of the things that make it easier for your customers that you’ve done?

Xie: In order to set up a global fabric to serve our customers, we buy the underlying infrastructure and we closely monitor that infrastructure on a daily basis.

As an edge cloud services provider,  we are extending the public cloud to the edge; we tailored our products and services to complement them well, and they make it easy to extend from their infrastructure to ours.

From the user’s perspective, if they can [connect], in minutes, not hours or months that would be a great, great user experience. We do everything to make that happen.

We work with AWS to enable the connectivity between customers’ Outposts locations, to their main availability zone. We are also working with AWS to make our PoPs Outpost ready to better serve our joint customers. At the same time, we’ll continue to grow our PoPs from 280 now to more so that we can cover more and more locations.

People consider us as the easy button to those far-reaching markets. We are a true ecosystem player because we’re neutral and connected to everybody — the key datacenter providers such as Equinix, CoreSite, Cyxtera and Digital Realty, and hyperscalers such as AWS, Azure, and GCP. We have 5400+ peers with carriers in over 50 countries across the world. We are hyper-connected to all those key players so that customers have more flexibility and control using our services.

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