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The AIX Story
Price Disruption at the Nexus of the Internet
Ashburn, Virginia

The American Internet Exchange Story

Since 1988 Technology Advancement Group, Inc. (TAG) has specialized in designing custom computer systems for the United States government. Two years later, TAG decided to make available the same computer systems to the general public for the same discounted government price. Though the lower pricing was hardly “disruptive” it was low enough to create a response that was so immediate that by the following week TAG had moved to a larger facility. Now TAG is doing it all over again but this time with respect to its Internet colocation offering through its American Internet Exchange (AIX) or Amerinex brand. It is offering, at a disruptive price, colocation at the Nexus of the Internet world.

“The Nexus of the Internet world;” what is that?

  • The center of the financial world is Wall Street.
  • The center of the movie world is Hollywood.
  • The center of the theater world is Broadway.
  • The center of the political world is Washington.
  • The center of the innovation world is Silicon Valley.
  • The "center of the universe" is Times Square.
  • The center of the Internet world is Data Center Alley in northeastern Loudoun County, VA.

So what does a "point of presence" (POP) cost at each of these centers? -- A lot! Private office space at these POPs requires a commitment of tens of thousands of dollars, even for rack space in the Northern Virginia Data Center Alley.

Amerinex disrupts that paradigm. With Amerinex a POP at the Nexus of the Internet world incurs a commitment of only $175, a commitment that is two orders of magnitude (100 fold) less than the going rate. This changes everything!

How does Amerinex do this?

First, prospective customers may choose to collocate on a month-to-month basis. This alone reduces the commitment by an order of magnitude (10 fold). In fact, if necessary, a prospective customer can try us out free of charge. That’s right, free. Secondly, prospective customers are not obligated to purchase an entire rack cabinet, only what they need. This can result in savings of another order of magnitude. Additionally, Amerinex is at the Nexus of the Internet world, Data Center Alley.

What is Data Center Alley?

It is a concentration of data centers, currently at 56, in the northeastern portion of Loudoun County, Virginia where a thousand networks converge carrying 70% of the Internet’s traffic. Data center construction continues to grow in the Dulles, Virginia Technology Corridor. The local power company reports that electrical demand has doubled in just the past two years. Even the west coast Internet giants such as Google, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and Twitter have built data centers here. Amazon alone already has three and is building two more the next block down Pacific BLVD from us.

Amerinex’s colocation offering is disruptive.

Disruptive products generate a huge response. For example, the cellphone obliterated the income that hotels derived from guest room telephones. Cellphones also obsoleted phone booths. GPS obliterated the sales of paper road maps. Wikipedia obliterated the sales of encyclopedias. The Internet obliterated the sales of phonebooks and together with smart phones calls to 411 “Directory Assistance” are all but a thing of the past. Disruptive products do not have to be inventions. Lowering the price for a product by an order of magnitude, that is, tenfold, can very often achieve a disruptive effect. For example, if the price of a car is reduced by an order of magnitude, sales will explode. An inexpensive sub $20k car would cost less than $2k. A new Corvette would cost $5k. A 65-inch TV would cost $90. This is where Amerinex fits in.

With all the public data centers being built here, businesses are obviously looking for places to place their servers. These data centers range from the high-end carrier-neutral data center or Internet Business Exchange (IBX) such as Equinix in which Amerinex has its own private cage to the low-end data center which may have only a handful of network carriers. For the most part, all these data centers only sell space by the full rack cabinet and require a 1-year contract. Prices range from $1k/month to $2k/month for a full rack cabinet with power and moderate bandwidth. This is a $12k to $24k commitment. Amerinex requires only a $175 monthly commitment. This is a reduction of two orders of magnitude with respect to the commitment and an order of magnitude with respect to the monthly costs.

How is this reduction achieved?

First Amerinex takes advantage of the continuous change in technology over the past few decades in which computers are much smaller and powerful and consume less power than ever before. What used to take a full rack cabinet to do can now be accomplished with a space consuming only a single “rack unit” (RU) or two. An RU, often referred to as a “U” is nominally 1.75 inches high. A standard 19-inch cabinet typically has 42 U’s. Nowadays, two complete servers, each with two 8-core processors and 192GB of RAM and a redundant (dual) power supply can fit into a single U. This one U configuration supports a multitude of fault-tolerant virtual servers. Amerinex offers space at the disruptive price of $50/month per U. For those desiring to locate their server at Amerinex’s private Equinix cage, Amerinex offers space for $100/month per U.

As mentioned above, computers are much more energy efficient today. Three servers, one firewall appliance, and an Ethernet switch can all operate on less than one ampere (A) of 120VAC power. Most data centers require customers to purchase a full 20A circuit of which only 16A can be used, for about $400/month. Amerinex disrupts this paradigm by offering power by the ampere for only $25/month or $35/month at its private Equinix cage.

Once a server is situated and powered, it needs to be connected to the Internet. Typically carrier-neutral data centers charge a monthly “cross-connect” fee for having a copper ($150) or fiber optic ($275) line sit between two of its customers. Amerinex does not charge its customers for cross-connects unless the customer is at its private Equinix cage and is requesting a connection to a provider with which Amerinex does not already have a connection. Since Equinix charges installation and removal fees as well as monthly fees for this cross-connection, Amerinex passes these charges on to its customers at its private Equinix cage. Accordingly, most of Amerinex’s customers choose to collocate at the Amerinex facility at the TAG Campus which is connected directly to its private Equinix cage by dark fiber.

By having its private cage at the industry’s premier carrier-neutral data center, the Equinix, Amerinex’s customers can directly connect to 1,000 carriers. Such is the marvel of Data Center Alley at the center of the Internet world. The reason that data centers are here at Data Center Alley is to efficiently connect to the Internet’s networks of which 1,000 network carriers are at the Equinix. Amerinex’s private Equinix cage and its data center facilities at the TAG Campus are all interconnected with dark fiber which allows its customers to connect directly to these 1,000 network carriers. This capability can only take place at Data Center Alley and extends to those few that are close enough to connect via dark fiber. Amerinex’s Equinix dark fiber connections are only two miles.

One often hears that the three most important factors in real estate are location, location, and location. As simple as that sounds, it has a lot of relevance in not only real estate but in creating value in many other areas such as finance, politics, theater, and so forth as described earlier. This is very true when it comes to the Internet. Even the traders on Wall Street have built their data centers as close to the stock exchange as possible to minimize the delay or latency in their networks that can make all the difference in making a fast transaction.

When data centers are built away from Data Center Alley, even when connected with dedicated point-to-point lines, three things happen. First, latencies go up since the signals have longer to travel. Second, risk goes up since the longer line has a greater likelihood of being cut. A line that only has to travel two miles is much less likely to be cut than a line that is five, ten, or more miles away. Finally, longer lines cost more than short lines and more often than not are not dark. As recently as TH02OCT14, a contractor accidentally cut a fiber line that brought down customers only five miles from the cut for over 24 hours in the middle of the business week.

Another example of how distance equals risk concerns electric power. All data centers require lots of electric power, all the time. For this reason, they all have backup power generation and when on generator must have diesel delivered every 36 hours regardless the calamity. Therefore, avoiding a power outage, especially during a major storm, is of great value. Being situated next to an electric power plant would be ideal. However, electric power plants are few and far between and therefore rely upon high voltage electric power transmission lines to provide electric power to substations that reduce the 230kV transmission voltage to the 34.5kV distribution voltage to deliver power to its customers. Loudoun County does not have any electric power plants but has 19 electric power substations of which one is under construction and four are proposed. The vast majority of electric power outages occur not at the power plant or at its substations or even at the transmission lines which are held over a hundred feet in the air well over trees, but as a result of trees falling on distribution lines due to weather. By being situated next door to the local power company’s newest proposed 336MW substation, the likelihood of an electric power outage at Amerinex will be very small even during a storm. Of course, Amerinex has its backup generation as well. The point is that the very short distance between the electric power substation and Amerinex reduces the likelihood of an electric power outage considerably.

Dark fiber access to the 1,000 carrier networks at the world’s premier Internet Business Exchange at the Equinix allows Amerinex’s customers to directly connect if they choose to a particular network and in doing so avoids routing through the Internet cloud. This router-free connection comprises an Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) “Layer 2” connection which avoids delays associated with routing. In this fashion, an Amerinex customer can securely extend its network to multiple field offices without going through the cloud. Customers across the country, or the world for that matter, can locate a server or storage device at Amerinex and connect efficiently, securely, and without much delay by avoiding the cloud to its various offices all for as little as $175/month. This changes everything.

In this fashion companies can connect multiple locations, have Disaster Recovery (DR) and Continuity of Business (COB) solutions all on a fast and secure Layer 2 basis. Amerinex has office space for DR and COB operations and is conveniently located only four miles from Dulles International Airport (IAD). Colocation means that the customer knows exactly where its information is being kept. It is not “in the cloud.” Customers can choose to provide their own servers and equipment or rent equipment. Either way, they decide who and when access is granted. For those not so inclined and prefer cloud services, Amerinex can provide a low-cost high-speed Layer 2 connection to the Internet’s largest cloud providers since all these providers are at Data Center Alley. For example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) constructed three data centers here and its POP at Equinix is in the same building (DC02) as Amerinex’s private cage.

Cloud computing’s success, in particular that of AWS, with respect to small business is spurred on by the cost reduction from the full rack cabinet model offered by data centers. Customers do not like sharing equipment with others, especially unknown entities and certainly do not like not knowing where their data resides, but lower pricing forces accommodation. Amerinex’s $175/month offering dispenses with that compromise.

Recently the media reported that the Apple cloud was hacked and the "private" photos of many celebrities as well as many others were posted for all to see on the web. People using the cloud were advised to not use the cloud for sensitive data or to just not use the cloud altogether if a mishap cannot be tolerated.

The biggest clouds, Apple, Amazon, and Google have all been hacked since they present such large targets. Even "private" clouds such as that of Target have been hacked since they too present a large target, pun intended. So with respect to public or private clouds, smaller is better. In fact, colocation is the gold standard. All control lies only with the customer, with and without "encryption." Even when not hacked, customers in shared clouds are subject to the actions of others as the IBM hamster ad explains where sudden changes in activity by another sharing infrastructure results in a degradation in service, similar to residential service during the evening hours.

Another ploy by many cloud providers and even some colocation providers is measuring connectivity by the amount of data transferred rather than the transfer rate. This is a model used by the cellular phone companies to disguise their very low bandwidth averages. This is accomplished by duping a technically unsophisticated public into thinking it is getting more bandwidth benefit than it actually is. By leveraging the 2.5M seconds that there are in a month, a low average bandwidth rate number appears large. News flash, any number that is multiplied by 2.5M will appear large. My height of six feet when multiplied by 2.5M becomes 15M feet or almost three thousand miles; that’s large! So instead of saying that it is giving an average 6.2kb/s connection which is much slower than the modems used during the telephone dialup era, a cellular provider or cloud provider or in some instances a colocation provider will multiply this low number by 2.5M and convert to bytes. Now the low 6.2kb/s number becomes a 2GB number expressing the total amount of data transferred in a month of 2.5M seconds. Since GB is a unit of measure that the public understands with respect to memory capacity, the number is not further scrutinized and mistakenly accepted. Amerinex’s lowest rate, a 1Mb/s connection can transfer 324GB of data per month. A 100Mb/s connection can transfer 32.4TB per month and so on. Amerinex offers 10GE rates that can transfer 3.24PB per month. Remember, there are a million GB in one PB. Therefore when comparing apples to apples, do not only check to see that the download rate is the same as the upload rate, but that the connected rate is available all the time, 24x7, and does not have a data limit.

Like the cloud, Amerinex offers a scalable solution at a very low price, but unlike the cloud Amerinex gives the certainty and security of having one’s own dedicated, private non-shared servers. Amerinex’s Top Secret facilities clearance, its Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) offering, its dark fiber connections, its private Equinix cage, and even its private 150-foot telecommunications tower provide its customers with a clear competitive advantage.

With respect to security, many public data centers, even top carrier-neutral data centers tout their security features such as 24x7 guards and biometric access yet allow its customers to move about freely without escort. On occasions private cages have been entered and items removed without the customer’s knowledge. This does not happen at Amerinex since all visitors are escorted at all time.

In addition to its disruptive price model, Amerinex also offers something that no one else offers: the public invitation to call its owner on his unrestricted personal cellphone 24x7x365. When doing something with which one is not familiar, especially involving high tech, it is always good to be assured that one is not alone. Amerinex totally removes that fear. Others may “say” they have great customer service. Amerinex has the best; period.

In the final analysis, when considering a new provider, the risk in making a wrong decision must be considered. Has the business been around for 30 years? Has it been trusted to safeguard the Federal Government’s information? Can you get hold of the provider 24x7 and more importantly get hold of someone who can make a difference? Is the requested financial commitment too high? How about the product itself, is the speed quickly scalable? Is the latency low? How is the security? Are all visitors escorted and are all employees US citizens? Is power reliable? Not every data center can be fortunate enough to be located literally next door to a new substation, but we will be. Are there multiple dark fiber strands to the world’s largest carrier-neutral data center? Is there a wireless alternative to fiber? Our 150foot private tower overlooks Data Center Alley.

When all things are considered, the American Internet Exchange offers the fastest Internet speeds, the lowest latencies, dedicated connections to the most carriers, and direct availability to the owner 24x7, all at a tremendous value.

What is there not to like? Try it, for free. You will be blown away.