AMS-IX has found another new market to export its internet exchange model to, and it's kind of a potentially big one. They've entered into a strategic agreement with ChinaCache through which what is being billed as the first IX in mainland China will be built and operated.
CHN-IX, as it will be called, will be in the Beijing metro area, starting at Chinacache's Atecsys Data Center in the Shunyi tax free zone, which is near Beijing's international airport to the northeast of the city. A node in the high tech Zhongguancun district will follow soon thereafter, with others later on.
ChinaCache will build and operate the actual exchange, while AMS-IX will consult on the design and supply the customer portal and infrastructure management software. The initial platform is expected to start serving customers in Q4 of 2015.
One might ask how, given the amount of traffic its 1.5B people consume and generate, China has managed to go this long without an IX outside of the independently run city of Hong Kong. But China doesn't have that many actual independent network operators, as the market is highly centralized and the big ones interconnect directly as part of an overall complicated relationship. And the sector is also tightly regulated, with the Great Firewall of China being just the tip of the iceberg.
Actually the filtering efforts of the Chinese government make CHN-IX's design a bit more problematic. Which side of the Great Firewall does it go on? If it's inside, then it would seem as if exchange members would be able to bypass the filters when they cache locally. But if it's outside, then some of the latency benefits of having the content locally would be nullified. And either way, the scrutiny will likely be intense.
But that's not our problem or even AMS-IX's problem, it's ChinaCache's. And they've always lived in that world and surely have a plan.