Hunter Newby doesn't claim to have invented the Meet-Me Room, but he created one of the first, in the iconic and historic Manhattan facility, 60 Hudson Street, in about 1998, when his company Telx was located there. Telx was later bought by Digital Realty for $1.9 billion, propelling Digital's evolution from a data center-focused property company to a service provider.
When Telx was at 60 Hudson, data centers had separate connections from multiple carriers, and linking between those carriers meant running a link between their connection points - and paying heavily for the privilege. Hunter set up a room where the networks all met up for physical (layer 0) connections - and the rest is history.
It's a well-documented history, because he went on to write a series of magazine articles "Meet Me In New York," "Meet Me In Chicago" etc, about interconnection facilities in major US cities. That series is archived on his site, alongside live data of connections for each of those cities from the open peering resource, PeeringDB.
Today, there are still not enough Meet-Me rooms. Some US states with large cloud facilities don't have nearby carrier hotels, so local user traffic has to go out to a city like Chicago and back. Hunter wants to foster carrier neutral hotels to fill this gap.
Listen in to this podcast for the history of Meet-Me rooms. You'll hear Newby describe 60 Hudson Street as "the Ellis Island of the Internet" - and we ask: in his series exploring the US Internet, was there ever an episode entitled "Meet Me In St Louis"?
We hope you enjoy this episode, and our other discussions with data center professionals. If you have any suggestions, feedback, or just want to email someone, you can get in touch at [email protected]