Moscow Internet Exchange Deploys New Network Core Powered by Extreme Networks


The volume of data traffic transmitted each second in the Russian segment of the Internet has been growing at an incredible pace. In order to provide its customers with all the necessary resources, the Moscow Internet Exchange (MSK-IX) site has redefined the concept of its network and made a decision to move to the advanced 100Gbps technology.

The interaction between various companies and internet service providers, as well as fast access to the popular online resources is made possible thanks to the traffic exchange at specialized sites. This is exactly the service, provided to its customers by the networking company MSK-IX, which interconnects more than 600 participants all over Russia. The customers of MSK-IX include international, national and regional communications service providers, hosting service providers, content- providers, and corporate, academic and educational networks.

In 2015 the Moscow Internet Exchange (MSK-IX) celebrates its 20th anniversary. It started its operations back in 1995, when the leading internet service providers and scientific organizations – Demos, Relcom, the MSU, the Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics of the MSU, Freenet, RELARN Association and Roprint – signed an agreement on the local exchange of traffic. This is how the M9-IX project was established, providing centralized access to the Russian segment of the Internet. Initially MSK-IX was based on the premises of telephone exchange office #9. Today MSK-IX is listed among the top-5 internet exchange sites of the world, and includes four backbone nodes and 7 access nodes just in Moscow only, plus a dozen of regional sites in major cities, including Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, and other cities with over a million in population. However, the Moscow site remains the largest traffic exchange site, which ensures the global interaction of the communication service providers and traffic interexchange between various regions. MSK-IX is a member of international European Internet Exchange Association (Euro-IX).

New Demands

Over the period of the past several years MSK-IX has seen a rapid increase in traffic in various directions. For instance, the aggressive upsurge of multimedia content is further supported by the even more intensive growth in the number of various online projects, whose traffic is increasing day by day. The overall traffic during peak periods is reaching 1.5Tbps; in addition, simultaneously with the addition of the new customers, the existing customers of MSK-IX need to upgrade their traffic rates – and it is this surge in traffic volume and data rates, which is a key driver for the general growth.

The limited development potential of the existing infrastructure, the increase in speeds, and traffic volume demanded us to consider implementing new approaches. In 2013 MSK-IX completely redefined the concept of infrastructure development, and started moving towards the deployment of 100Gbps technology in the beginning of 2014. For the first time this advanced technology was introduced in the Moscow site of traffic interexchange.

Upgrade of Infrastructure

The complexity of the upgrade process for the Moscow traffic interexchange site was that network downtime was unacceptable. The new equipment had to be deployed and connected to the network ‘on the fly’, which implied assurance in its full compatibility and the correctness of configuration settings.

It was because of this requirement that MSK-IX chose Extreme Networks’ switches, with full confidence that they could meet this goal. These switches provide the required capacity margin in terms of performance and fully support data transfer based on 100GbE protocol.

Moving to the ‘Redundant Core’

The balanced value of these solutions turned even higher because the redundancy features, integrated in the Extreme Networks’ products, opened up new opportunities for increasing the resiliency of the whole Moscow network.

Although the deployed topology of the network infrastructure implied redundancy of communications channels, it does not provide the full protection in case of potential failure of the key components. As part of modernization of the network equipment, the specialists of MSK-IX installed the two core switches, specifically to ensure communications between all the network nodes in geographically distributed data centers, and built the high-performance redundant fiber channel communication links between these data centers and all the other nodes in the network using DWDM technology.

The new structure was put into operations gradually. First, the specialists deployed only one core switch with possibility of failback to the traditional means of transferring traffic. After the test runs and gradual transition to the new centralized topology, the second core was put into operation. Only after all the tests have been passed, MSK-IX has moved to the new infrastructure with a redundant core, and begun dismantling the old and obsolete communication channels.


The use of Extreme Networks solutions allowed MSK-IX to optimize its network infrastructure with the lowest possible time spending, finance expenditures and labor costs for this project.

As a result, the fully redundant network was created, which remains functional even in case of complete failure of one of its cores.

The support of 100GbE data transfer technology enabled MSK-IX to start connecting the new customers with high requirements to the traffic exchange data rates. The deployment of the Extreme Networks high-performance solutions also allowed to reduce electricity consumption and opened up new opportunities for further expansion and modernization of data transfer network in the existing sites. At the same time, the new topology of the network allows for easy connection of the new network segments, making the traffic interexchange site MSK-IX available for the new participants.

Using the BlackDiamond X8, Summit X670V and X460G2 switches MSK-IX intends to provide interconnect to the new data centers, both in the capital and all over the country. This enables easy connections to the new commercial, governmental and scientific organizations to the traffic interexchange network.

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