It’s a fall afternoon and we’re driving around Secaucus, N.J. on our way to see the data warehouse where hundreds of ad-tech and digital media companies store the hardware that powers trillions of ad impressions every day. Except the problem is that no one in the car really knows where we’re going, which is also kind of the point.
Located on a nondescript street in a nondescript building is Equinix’s New York data center, where $4 trillion in business every day flows through the more than 825 networks, financial and media companies who house their hardware and technology here. All told, 90 percent of the world’s internet traffic runs through Equinix’s data centers, which are located in 185 facilities across 22 countries.
After walking up to the door, it becomes clear that this isn’t just a warehouse. Getting clearance to enter Equinix’s building includes CIA-like security with biometric scanners that lock the doors.
The reason for today’s visit is get an inside look at where ad-tech company Index Exchange keeps roughly 1,000 ad servers and its hardware. It’s one of the company’s eight locations across the world that store the high-tech stuff that processes 30 billion daily requests to serve ads on clients’ sites like Time Inc. and Condé Nast.
Despite the increase of software moving to cloud-based systems, investing in hardware—and bigger and better data centers to safely keep it—is a priority for Index Exchange. Between 2015 and 2016, the firm doubled its investment and is upping this year’s investment by two-and-a-half times, adding more space each time.
However, it’s no secret that nearly all of Index Exchange’s competitors are in the same building and are beefing up similar capabilities, though you wouldn’t know it from walking by hundreds of so-called cages. Yahoo, BrightRoll, Criteo and Google Cloud Platform are Equinix customers, among others.
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