Vapor IO Raises $90M to Build ‘Nationwide’ Edge Computing Network – SDxCentral

Vapor IO raised $90 million in a Series C funding round, bringing its total amount raised to more than $100 million, and reached an agreement for Cloudflare to deploy its cloud services on Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge platform. The company’s Kinetic Edge platform is comprised of data center facilities, middle mile networking, and SDN.

The company plans to use the $90 million to build and deploy a “nationwide” edge computing network, significantly expanding from the four U.S. cities it provides service in today. “We are in a very, very fast pace to build a nationwide network,” CMO Matt Trifiro said in a phone interview with SDxCentral.

Vapor IO plans to reach a total of 36 cities with multiple edge computing locations in each market by the end of 2021. The company said 16 cities are in the pre-construction phase today and on target to go live before the end of 2020, and the remaining cities will go live next year. “Conservatively, we’ll be at roughly 70% to 75% of the U.S. population” by 2021, CEO Cole Crawford said.

Vapor IO will have “between 70 and 100 data centers across the [United States] in two years,” Trifiro said. The company is committed to deploying multiple edge computing locations in each market to achieve geographic distribution, low latency, and workload resilience if a data center goes down for any reason, he explained.

Valuation on Upward Trajectory

The latest funding round places a valuation on the company, but Crawford declined to share that number, highlighting that some recent developments in the edge computing space will likely change the trajectory of its valuation. Colocation giant Equinix acquired bare-metal cloud startup Packet last week for an undisclosed sum, and Digital Realty’s $8.4 billion acquisition of Interxion’s European data centers in November 2019 reflect the growing valuation of edge computing providers.

The new deal with Cloudflare makes it one of Vapor IO’s biggest customers and Digital Realty, which became the first company to deploy the Kinetic Edge Exchange software-defined interconnection technology in October 2019, is one of Vapor IO’s biggest partners, Crawford explained.

“The edge is not just a physical problem to solve for, it’s also a network problem to solve for,” he said. “Vapor continues to run as a shared infrastructure, neutral host, multi-tenant company, and we’ve made a very strategic decision that from an edge perspective, from where traffic would interconnect in a local [market] … we deploy similarly to how Amazon deploys.”

As such, a region is a metro municipality and within that region Vapor operates multiple availability zones, Crawford explained, adding that Vapor is also a direct connect partner for Amazon Web Services (AWS). The geographic reach of each of Vapor’s edge computing data centers is always going to be application centric and further defined by fronthaul and backhaul performance at each site, he added.

“Resiliency comes in the form of high availability, [and] given the fact that we have multiple fiber paths to and from each physical location, we’re terminating core internet traffic in more than one big data center per market,” Crawford said. Moreover, in markets where clearing capabilities are not to the heightened level of major U.S. cities, Vapor IO is “tying in fiber to those hand-off points in order to build a more diversified network.”

Vapor IO’s Edge Computing Strategy

Because latency is introduced by distance and network hops, some legacy vendors with a data center in a metropolitan area are doing a disservice by simply drawing a straight line to all of the cell towers in that region and calling it an edge data center, Trifiro explained.

“The problem is nobody can afford to actually trench all those miles of straight fiber,” he said. “There are a lot of network hops in that middle mile, and Vapor IO through a combination of our software engineering around the network, the fiber routes that we have assembled, as well as the geographic dispersal of our micro data center allows us to solve for all layers of that middle mile latency problem in really sophisticated ways.”

Vapor IO is going to be busy building out its U.S. footprint for the next couple years, but it already has its sights set on international expansion. The company has been approached to look at international capabilities and, considering the global nature of the internet and the reach of its customers, Vapor IO’s “ultimate plan is to take this from just national to an international footprint,” Crawford said. He declined to provide a timeline for that effort but hinted that it could get underway before its U.S. network is completed by the end of next year.

The company originally announced a Series C round in September 2018, but never closed the round so this marks a conclusion of that effort. The round was led by private equity firm Berkshire Partners with participation from previous investor Crown Castle. It’s also been more than 16 months since the company said it would have “13 sites underway by the end of 2018, nearly 50 by the end of 2019, and over 100 by the end of 2020.”

Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge platform is currently live in Chicago, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Dallas. The 16 U.S. cities slated to get service by the end of this year include: Austin, Texas; Boston; Charlotte, North Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Denver; Houston; Indianapolis; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; Nashville, Tennessee; Phoenix; San Antonio; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.

This UrIoTNews article is syndicated fromGoogle News

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