Switching technology pays off for IX Australia

Extreme Networks Australia

Thursday, 26 March, 2020

Switching technology pays off for IX Australia

IX Australia is Australia’s only not-for-profit, carrier-neutral internet exchange point. It’s owned and operated by the Internet Association of Australian (IAA) and is currently the largest peering service provider in Australia with more than 70% market share. IX Australia is also the longest-running and lowest-cost internet exchange in Australia, providing peering, virtual leased line (VLL) and cloud interconnection services for approximately 400 corporate members of the IAA.

Building on the success of WA-IX, a multi-lateral peering exchange established in Perth in 1997, IX Australia has also established multiple peering exchanges in ACT, NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria with plans to establish a point of presence in Tasmania in 2020.

“We are always striving for best practice, and we have a diversified offering for members, as well as providing access to major content delivery networks including Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Netflix,” said Terry Sweetser, IX Australia’s General Manager.

With the diversification and nationalisation of the business and an exponential growth in data traffic, and only a small engineering and development team to manage its infrastructure, IX Australia selected Extreme Networks as its switching partner in the mid-2000s. The partnership has enabled IX Australia to maintain cost-effective, reliable and market-leading internet exchange services to IAA members. IX Australia required a complex, scalable and secure MPLS network, providing capabilities such as:

  • virtual private LAN and virtual private wire services;
  • tighter levels of security control and management;
  • hosting and running embedded configuration, deployment, and orchestration code;
  • automated proactive incident detection, trend analysis, alerting and reporting;
  • support for a full stack development environment.

“Extreme Networks is the ‘killer app’: it does everything we need. No-one else can do it. Without Extreme, we would have to have solutions from multiple vendors, making it much more expensive to implement and difficult to manage,” Sweetser said.

IX Australia has built its own tools to manage the Extreme environment, and currently uses templates to configure and provision new users and services. The Extreme operating system (EXOS) running on the switching infrastructure detects and reports on any outages across the network, with notifications automatically updated to IX Australia’s status pages, and engineers alerted to troubleshoot and restore or escalate.

“EXOS is really good at identifying trends and pre-empting any issues before they become noticeable, particularly with our optics,” Sweetser said.

Utilising ExtremeSwitching X870 Series switches, IX Australia was able to launch 100 Gbps peering services in late 2018, with the ISP Aussie Broadband the first to sign up in early 2019.

“With data use increasing exponentially each year, services such as these become more and more critical to enable ISPs to keep prices to their customers low,” said Phillip Britt, Managing Director at Aussie Broadband.

“Content is driving everything,” Sweetser added. “For businesses it’s cloud services, and for consumers it’s video on demand.”

IX Australia plans to upgrade its infrastructure and roll out 400 Gbps peering services for its members. In the future Sweetser predicts that requirement will quickly climb to 1 Tbps.

In 2020, IX Australia has plans to fully automate the provisioning of all new services and ports from the point of demarcation on the network. This will speed up the organisation’s responsiveness to orders and efficiencies in the delivery of services for customers, enabling IX Australia to maintain its competitive market advantage and free up its small administration team to focus on more strategic activities.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Parris Cope

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