Xantaro tests new 100G interconnection platform DE-CIX Apollon

In December 2013 the time finally came: After one year DE-CIX Management GmbH was able to successfully complete migrating its infrastructure to the new interconnection platform DE-CIX Apollon. Xantaro supported the operator with end-to-end tests of the new platform during the conversion, helping to safeguard the project in a delicate phase.



Risk minimisation during sensitive migration phase

DE-CIX in Frankfurt/Main is an internet exchange for data traffic. About 600 internet service providers from over 60 countries exchange data via the so-called public-peering method. Founded in 1995, DE-CIX is now the internet exchange with the highest data throughput, worldwide with more than three terabit per second during peak times. “The migration to DE-CIX Apollon was a tremendous technical and organisational challenge”, explains Arnold Nipper, Technical Manager at DE-CIX Management GmbH. “We had to replace the entire infrastructure without disrupting operations. It’s like open heart surgery.”


Open internet-heart surgery

Data traffic at the DE-CIX in Frankfurt grows about 20 to 30 percent per year. “To provide our customers, thus ultimately every consumer, with high availability and performant internet usage”, Arnold Nipper says, “we need to constantly advance our platform.” In 2013 DE-CIX Management GmbH therefore decided to perform a generation change and implement a new Interconnection platform designed for data transmission using 100 Gigabit technology (100G for short). This required all existing switches spread across data centres of various providers throughout the city of Frankfurt to be replaced. Furthermore, the fibreglass network between these sites also had to be converted from passive to active optical transmission technology, called Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM).


Xantaro’s know-how and the XT³Lab convinced

In total, the migration of the DE-CIX interconnection platform was performed in three large phases: In May 2013 the new optical network was put into service. In August the four core switches in the DE-CIX Apollon supernodes went live. However, before all customer link-ups were gradually switched to the new 100G-capable edge switches, thorough edge to edge tests of the interconnection platform were performed to ensure that the newly installed devices really worked error-free in the planned setup. “Of course we already ran thorough device and load tests with the vendors when selecting the devices and technologies for DE-CIX Apollon”, explains Daniel Melzer, Network Manager at DE-CIX. “But prior to the customer migration we of course wanted to be sure that all the installed devices would really work together smoothly in our new architecture.”


Risk minimisation: Xantaro safeguards delicate project phase

To conduct these tests DE-CIX decided to work with the service integrator Xantaro. “In order to run informative tests for a scenario of this scale you need specific know-how and the right test equipment”, Melzer continues. “We therefore decided to work with Xantaro. They know our interconnection architecture from previous projects, and Xantaro provides the necessary hardware for the respective tests of our new infrastructure out of its XT³Lab. In addition, the Xantaro team knows exactly how the tests need to be set up and how to analyse the results afterwards.”


Xantaro supported DE-CIX in all test phases:

  • Test definition:
    First it was determined what exactly needs to be tested: a simulation of the customer traffic was to show if the installed devices of the new DE-CIX Apollon platform would perform smoothly from one edge switch via the cores of the platform to another edge switch.
  • Test setup:
    Xantaro planned the exact setup together with DE-CIX, i.e. which devices and which ports, for example, were to be included in the test, and how the traffic data should be designed for the simulation.
  • Test run and monitoring:
    The test was run and monitored by Xantaro; it took one week.
  • Test result:
    During and after the test Xantaro analysed the test results, which verified the full functionality of the new DE-CIX Apollon platform. Only a few isolated areas needed to be changed and optimised.


“Thanks to the support of Xantaro we were able to safeguard the conversion to the new DE-CIX Apollon platform during a delicate project phase and ultimately completely it successfully”, so Daniel Melzer summarises. “It was important to us to do everything possible to minimise the risk of incompatibility and failures prior to migrating our customers to the new platform. As usual, Xantaro always supported us professionally, safely and flexibly in this process.”



Further information: www.de-cix.net


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