With a focus on connecting buyers and sellers in an international makers’ marketplace, Brooklyn, NY headquartered online marketplace Etsy has come to the realization that regardless of how cutting edge their datacenter is, a single location might not be the right solution to the concerns of an international customer base.
Popping pods to the regions
In an interview with CIO Journal last week, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, the company’s senior vice president for infrastructure and operations, John Allspaw, described a plan to move datacenter operations closer to their global customers by using an edge strategy that would place servers in colocation facilities around the world, Using the term “pod” to describe their vison, the plan would be to place a minimum number of servers in regional colocation facilities that would deliver dynamic content more quickly to users in those regions, when compared to looping back to their central data center in the US.
This isn’t as simple as it sounds. While there should be little difficulty in finding appropriate colocation providers in the regions Etsy would deploy to, the tools and techniques to make this work seamlessly with their existing service would need to be developed. While similar in concept to a worldwide content delivery network such as those deployed by Netflix and its competitors, the Etsy system needs to be much more interactive, with users adding and changing content as well as being consumers of the data contained therein.
With expectations that their international presence could eventually represent 50 percent of gross revenue, servicing customers worldwide is critical to Etsy’s growth. This building block approach to a distributed data center model could be the lynchpin of that eventual success.