In Conversation with Lawrence Lee, VP, Partnerships and Alliances, Zenlayer
Zenlayer and Digital Realty are working together to deliver Digital Realty Network Hub featuring Zenlayer Edge Cloud Services. Zenlayer’s complete edge network approach helps enterprises harness the value of PlatformDIGITAL® in Digital Realty data centers.

Published in Issue 5 | December 2020

How did your partnership with Digital Realty come about?

Digital Realty was and is one of our first data center partners, going back to right after Zenlayer was founded. It made sense to combine Digital Realty’s top-tier data center facilities with Zenlayer’s global network. Together we’ve enabled customers globalize their businesses in North America and the EMEA region. We are now looking to expand the partnership into the APAC region.

Where are the locations around the world that you operate in and what kind of customer problems do you solve?

Zenlayer has locations on every continent except Antarctica, and we specialize in emerging markets like China, India, Brazil, West and South Africa, Southeast Asia, and so on. When businesses expand into these regions alone, they’re confronted with challenging local regulations in an unfamiliar market. Instead, we make it easy for these clients by handling every aspect of deployment for them. Whether it’s on-demand content distribution, accelerating applications, or a complete managed hosting solution, Zenlayer is available to not only help but “wow.” We want our clients to focus on what they do best— connecting with their customer—instead of worrying about the underlying solution.

One of the more common use cases for our services is lowering latency for interactive digital experiences. Competitive online gamers, for example, require extremely low latency and drive down the ratings for the game if they experience lag too many times. Our solutions enable gaming companies to improve user experience for their players with fast connections, an instant global network, and edge locations in every key market. We have similar clients for live streaming, online education, e-commerce—basically any business with a digital component.

There is a tremendous amount of data being generated at the edge, so we want to enable our customers to process as much of their data at the edge as possible, without having to send data back to the core for analysis.

How are Zenlayer and Digital Realty with PlatformDIGITAL® and Data Gravity Index DGx geared to handle more enterprises going to the cloud?

Our partnership makes it easy for any company to “go to the cloud” by providing on-demand connections, servers, and related infrastructure in markets around the world. In fact, we make it easy for companies to go to not just one cloud, but many. We are partnered with every major cloud service in the world and many smaller regional ones. Clients can gain insights from the Data Gravity Index DGx™ to decide on the best locations for them to expand in, create private clouds in under 10 minutes using Zenlayer’s Bare Metal Cloud service, and then connect private and public clouds instantly through PlatfromDIGITAL® and Cloud Networking. This allows clients to easily choose and implement the right cloud service for them based on their existing infrastructure, regional preferences, and other concerns.

“We currently have over 185 edge data centers around the world, but are projected to grow to 400-500 edge data centers by 2023. Leveraging the findings from the Data Gravity Index will help guide us as we expand globally and create long-term value for our customers. Our work with Digital Realty lets us interconnect digital workflows from edge to core to cloud, at centers of data exchange on PlatformDIGITAL.” – Joe Zhu, founder and CEO, Zenlayer

A lot of companies have moved to the cloud this year. What are your thoughts on this trend?

The trend to the cloud has been in process for some time now, but the COVID-19 crisis has really accelerated adoption. Obviously big drivers have been millions of employees suddenly working from home, family relying on video calls to stay connected, more gaming and video streaming while people are cooped up inside, and so on.

I expect that as we pass this crisis and the pressure is eased, cloud adoption will slow but remain accelerated compared to previous years. Now that their customers are used to improved digital experiences, businesses will want to continue to offer them those experiences and improve. Competition will increase, customers will have higher standards, and businesses will be looking for any edge to make their services preferred. Since hybrid clouds and multiclouds are obvious stepping stones to improved experiences and lower latency, I expect adoption will continue at a rapid rate followed by regional expansion.

To help those customers, we recently soft launched a new service, Global Intelligent Accelerator. It helps customers accelerate any application with dynamic content, like gaming or streaming. It’s still in beta as we add locations, but has already really taken off. A highlight of working with Digital Realty is that we can easily interconnect our customers with the SaaS companies located in DRT’s data centers to make acceleration happen