Hosting provider LeaseWeb Makes Significant Investment in New Cisco CRS-1 Router Modules

Cost of Cisco CRS-1 flagship modules: more than half a million euros

LeaseWeb, one of Europe¡¯s largest hosting providers with clients like Wikipedia, Starbucks and Heineken, and more than 22.000 dedicated servers in its hosting network, has added two new modules to the two Cisco CRS-1 routers in the backbone of its global hosting network. The cost of these modules: USD 790,000, i.e. more than half a million euros.

The two Cisco CRS-1 units ¨C non-stop devices with a basic purchase value of 1.6 million euros ¨C are a crucial element in LeaseWeb¡¯ global hosting network. They link the four data centers in LeaseWeb¡¯s network with telecom carriers and a multitude of Internet exchanges, including LINX (London), DE-CIX (Frankfurt), AMS-IX (Amsterdam) and NYIIX (New York). LeaseWeb specifically uses two Cisco CRS-1 units because they provide the best guarantee for uptime in the hosting network.

Hosting Connections
The modular design of the Cisco CRS-1 units allows for easy expansion of the backbone of LeaseWeb¡¯s hosting network. ¡°They are plates of approximately 70 by 70 centimeters that can be slid vertically into the CRS-1 chassis,¡± says Bastiaan Spandaw, LeaseWeb¡¯s network architect. ¡°These Modular Services Cards (MSC) and related Physical Layer Interface Modules (PLIM) allow us to create a large amount of additional port capacity in our network, external connections with telecom carriers and Internet exchanges as well as internal connections through various Cisco Catalyst 6500 switches with customers¡¯ equipment.¡±

Although LeaseWeb has chosen to use 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections for the added modules, it hopes to be able to use 100-Gigabit Ethernet modules for future expansion of the CRS-1 units. Spandaw: ¡°Due to the rapid growth of our network, we really need those 100-Gigabit Ethernet connections. I understand that Cisco is planning to introduce these new modules in Q1 or Q2 of 2010. This will make it easier for us to further upscale our backbone capacity.¡±

Strong Growth of Internet traffic
The current expansion of the backbone in LeaseWeb¡¯s global hosting network was really necessary due to the rapid growth in bandwidth usage by LeaseWeb customers as can be seen in LeaseWeb¡¯s Network Operations Center: ¡°In April 2009, our customers used 300 Gigabits per second,¡± says Rolph Haspers, Operations Director of LeaseWeb. ¡°And in November 2009, bandwidth usage had increased to even more than 500 Gbps. In view of our policy of maintaining double the amount of bandwidth that customers actually use, this requires significant, easily scalable capacity in our network.¡±

The rapid growth in bandwidth usage is due to existing as well as a large number of new customers. Haspers: ¡°Many of our customers are resellers such as webhosting providers, system integrators, web designers, and application developers. These customers each have several customers of their own, which can really accelerate bandwidth growth per LeaseWeb customer. In addition, we notice that the amount of bandwidth in our network automatically attracts new customers who find this very useful for purposes such as streaming. This has a flywheel effect in the growth of our Internet traffic.¡±

Cisco CRS-1
The CRS-1 is the fastest product supplied by Cisco. LeaseWeb¡¯s CRS-1 units are geographically separated, i.e. installed in two different data centers. They are large, heavy machines, each with a basic weight of approximately 800 kilograms and a height of 2.13 meters.

The CRS-1 units and related network design by LeaseWeb allow the company to handle the current strong growth in Internet traffic. Haspers: ¡°The hierarchic, scalable and redundant design of LeaseWeb¡¯s network is partly due to the CRS-1 units. This assures our customers of enormous, stable growth possibilities in bandwidth capacity over the coming years.¡±