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New ClearSky Data Partnership to Dramatically Expand POP Footprint

New ClearSky Data Partnership to Dramatically Expand POP Footprint
James Green

ClearSky Data is company that we’ve been following for years at ActualTech Media. I wrote a fairly thorough overview of my take on CSD almost a year ago to the day. They’ve also participated in a number of ActualTech Media events over the years; we’ve visited with Laz and Ellen multiple times on our RoadCast video interview series, and I’ve been a delegate at a Tech Field Day that ClearSky presented at.

So we’re always interested in any new developments at ClearSky Data and we try to touch base with the team every so often just to stay current on what’s going on.

ClearSky Data will be presenting on our upcoming 2018 Enterprise IT Virtual Summit tomorrow (11/14). It’s free to attend, and if you want to learn more about CSD, attending their session tomorrow would be a great way!

Some current news made today the perfect time to hear from ClearSky again, and the updates did not disappoint. Here’s an overview of the announcements they’re making this week.

  • New funding – $20 million (bringing the total funding to date to $59 million)
  • New partnership with Equinix (!!)
  • Expanded leadership team

The sum of the news is that ClearSky Data is definitely taking ground in the hybrid cloud data management solution arena. Customers seem to be very pleased with the offering, and the continued investment and growth of the team shows that they’re on to something.

Equinix Partnership Implications

A new funding round and expanded leadership team is often indicative of healthy progress. That’s exciting and everything, but what most caught my attention about this news is the partnership with Equinix.

If you haven’t read my writeup from last year, go read that first and then come back. This analysis will make a lot more sense if you’re reading with the foundation I laid in that article.

The ClearSky solution’s architecture is predicated on a certain level of maximum latency between the customer’s edge device and warm tier at a ClearSky point of presence. (Beyond the POP, the data is replicated more broadly in the highly durable and widely available ClearSky back-end. But the latency requirement there is a bit more forgiving.)

The architecture means that CSD can only offer solutions to a set of customers in metro areas where they are able to provision a point of presence. If my memory serves me, I recall Laz telling us once that the service could be reliably offered to prospects within roughly a 100 mile radius of one of their points of presence.

The trick, therefore, to expanding the CSD offering to more customers is to strategically place points of presence in as many locations as possible, but of course not in a location where there won’t be enough uptake. Naturally, building new POPs is a very capital-intensive process due to the equipment and connectivity in use, so the initial POPs had to be chosen very carefully; scaling early on must have been incredibly deliberate.

The partnership with Equinix is so major for CSD because, I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but Equinix has more than a few data centers around the globe. They’re home to some of the densest and most popular Internet/cloud exchanges. They have more than 200 International Business Exchange data centers around the world (https://www.equinix.com/locations/). Partnering with Equinix effectively means that CSD can offer service to customers in and around Equinix datacenters with a much lower barrier than they previously had when they were doing essentially 100% of the heavy lifting themselves.

ClearSky Data CEO Ellen Rubin told me that this partnership with Equinix will allow them to triple the number of points of presence very quickly. To give you some idea of the velocity with which CSD is capable of growing given adequate demand, CTO Laz Vekiarides told me that it only takes about two weeks to bring a new POP online at this point. That’s largely thanks to a highly standardized bill of materials for a new POP and an automated turn-up process.

Beyond just the physical presence, connectivity is a major upside to working closely with Equinix. The private lines that the CSD architecture depends on already exist in and out of Equinix data centers via an assortment of different carriers. Having access to this range of options for plumbing customers’ edge devices to the warm POP will be incredibly useful as the service expands.

“This partnership offers far more than just simple interoperability — it significantly amplifies the value of each service,” said Ellen Rubin, CEO of ClearSky Data. “ClearSky customers can take full advantage of the Equinix data center network and services, enabling the high-performance, on-demand storage with built-in protection as a service offered by ClearSky. We look forward to driving customer successes initially across the United States and eventually globally.”

For more information on how enterprise IT and MSPs can access the ClearSky service in Equinix locations, please visit www.clearskydata.com/equinix.

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