What You Need To Know About Digital Realty's Connected Campus Initiative


Digital Realty (DLR), a publicly-traded a real estate investment trust (REIT) and the largest data center provider in the world, outlined their plans at their recent Investor's Day meeting. The company's CEO Bill Stein announced DLR is now segmenting their facilities into three offerings for customers: Individual Properties, Internet Gateway, and Campus Connect.

Here's the best way to rationalize each of these offerings:

  • Individual Properties – The buildings owned by DLR where their clients lease space to host their data centers
  • Internet Gateway – The carrier hotel properties that enable direct, low-latency connections to multiple network and cloud providers
  • Campus Connect – The multi-building data center properties with direct connections to DLR's Internet Gateways and Individual Properties

The benefit of DLR's Campus Connect product is a seamless connection between geographically-disbursed data centers. It's a technology gained from the company's acquisition of Telx earlier in the year.

For example, Digital Realty owns 350 East Cermak, the eight-story facility in downtown Chicago that is one of the world's biggest carrier hotels. Although DLR provides power and space for lease inside 350 East Cermak, there are no vacancies. So DLR invested in a sprawling data center campus in the Village at Franklin Park, a suburb about 30 minutes away from downtown Chicago. The "Digital Chicago" data center campus houses three buildings on 23 acres of land. Digital Realty tethered their Digital Chicago campus to 350 East Cermak to give their suburban data center users direct access to the Internet peering and carrier-cross connects available in the downtown Internet Gateway facility. Data center users in the Digital Chicago campus are also directly connected to any network peers or owned assets hosted in other multi-building DLR campus facilities in major markets such as the ones in the Northern Virginia market, the Dallas/Fort Worth market, the Northern New Jersey market (serving the New York City area), or in the Northern California market.

In effect, Digital Realty's strategy behind the "Connected Campus" for data centers is to create a seamless, globally-available environment for companies to deploy and run cloud-powered applications.

Digital Realty is in all the right locations and offer all of the connectivity for data center users to operate a high-performance and data-driven service for customers. Using DLR's Connected Campus strategy, companies like Netflix can directly connect to Akamai's content delivery network at all the right locations for the efficient delivery of video to end users on a global scale. It's a win-win for all parties involved.

Digital Realty also communicated that they do not plan on buying any professional services or managed services companies to compete with vendors offering cybersecurity or consulting on top of colocation and cloud. Digital Realty will deliver the foundational products of scale, colocation, and connectivity while partnering with other companies to fill the gaps.

Most importantly, cloud growth means growth in data centers, too. Remember that every time an enterprise transitions on-site IT infrastructure to "the cloud," it is housed in a data center. Digital Realty's Connected Campus strategy is an effective way for the company to help data center users connect to the cloud.

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