Box's data center rules of thumb

Box prefers to go co-location and Equinix first with its Box Accelerator application and Amazon Web Services as a supplement.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Box's data center strategy relies on a heavy dose of Equinix co-location with Amazon Web Services as a supplement. The company relied on that data center tandem heavily as it rolled out its Box Accelerator application recently.

According to Stefan Apitz, vice president of operations at Box, the company has been working with Equinix practically from its inception. It relies on Equinix for global coverage and critical hookups with telecom carriers so it can route Box Accelerator easily.

In many respects, Accelerator appears to be a content delivery network. The biggest difference between Accelerator and a CDN is that no data is actually stored at an end point.

Box expanded its infrastructure in Equinix data centers in Chicago, Ashburn, Va., Amsterdam, Sydney, Hong Kong and Tokyo to launch Accelerator. Equinix and Box collaborated to boost performance.

The biggest perk from the Equinix arrangement is the hosting company's carrier connections. In areas where Equinix didn't have locations, Box used Amazon Web Services. The problem with AWS is that the options for routing Internet traffic are below what Equinix can offer.

"Any place where Equinix doesn't have a facility we use AWS," said Apitz. "We have two approaches with Box Accelerator---deploy gear and a software deployment."


Overall, Apitz noted that Box prefers to be co-located with Equinix since the carrier coverage allows more networking flexibility. There is a speed tradeoff, however. AWS can be running in a couple of hours where Equinix takes a few days. Both cases beat Box having to install its own hardware and find locations.

For Box, its data center requirements include:

  • Security given it's catering to enterprises. 
  • Agility and speed to be up and running.
  • The ability to expand. 
  • Backups---Box has another site colocated with Coresite in the Bay Area.
  • Disaster recovery needs to be run through another provider. Box uses Switch, based in Las Vegas.
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