Connectivity, connectivity, there’s nothing like connectivity!
by Darren Watkins, MD of VIRTUS Data Centres
With the prediction of 34bn connected devices by 2020 the way we use data, linking it together to get an amalgam of results from many sources, has changed forever. And the requirement to connect this data quickly and from anywhere so it can be accessed, processed and analysed, has become the new currency in IT services.
The cause of this change is the availability of information, a new generation of technology, the digitisation of everything and a cultural shift towards data-driven decision making.
So, as we consume and connect more and more geographically dispersed devices and clouds our appetite for networks and bandwidth becomes even stronger, making connectivity critical to the complete data centre solution.
The effect is that providers have been rethinking their businesses and many are shifting from space and power offerings to a new model of bandwidth, resilience and a range of connectivity options.
But what should businesses look for in their data centre providers if they are to truly take advantage of big data and digital strategies?
Data centre connectivity
Businesses today expect and require low-latency and reliability from data centre providers, with zero tolerance for downtime. As connectivity is so critical, some providers have made it their mission to develop innovative networking services that deliver ultra-resilient solutions.
Forward looking data centres have made the investment to introduce a fully diverse multi sub-duct network so carriers can easily interconnect and businesses can cross connect to a multitude of public clouds.
Having every fibre owner/reseller in a data centre means that every other possible carrier or related supplier is just a cross connect away, providing limitless connectivity to the rest of the world. It is the depth of fibre assets in a data centre that make this possible, not the breadth of individual carriers.
Cross connections to public clouds
A cross connect replaces the public internet connection between a user and cloud provider with a dedicated, private network allowing peer-to-peer connections. This is one of the main factors driving the demand for connectivity.
Nevertheless, enterprises remain in the very early stage of the shift to cloud. The uptake will be driven by businesses developing digital ways of working as mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT) become the norm.
These technologies will shift bandwidth needs and applications toward the edge of the network and closer to customers resulting in ever-more complex relationships between systems and applications.
We will end up living in a hybrid cloud world made up of traditional, private cloud, managed cloud and public cloud architectures.
What many companies are unaware of is that they can get a better level of performance and service from their chosen cloud providers if they take the services within buildings in which the clouds are housed or data centres that have the depth of fibre assets to make the connection to their chosen cloud simple and reliable.
Bringing cloud services to an enterprise’s own building has challenges that can be avoided by making use of the services from within the data centres where the clouds live. Being located in the same facility means the cloud services are a simple cross connect away.
Connectivity to the right carriers is critical if cloud is to work. This ensures that multiple public clouds can be accessed, which will increase performance. The term for this is “on-ramp to cloud”.
Companies should be aware that whilst some data centre providers can build the best high performance computing platform and a facility that is cost effective to run, without connectivity provisioning on-ramp to other clouds, businesses won’t be able to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy.
The most effective data centre providers make it easy to connect public and private clouds to deliver high performance compute solutions.
This connectivity is extremely important in a hybrid model as companies need it to reach multiple cloud providers and other enterprises, exchange traffic and connect systems, platforms and applications where necessary.
Cross connects offer several benefits; they are dedicated to one organisation, so the network bandwidth and latency remain stable; they increase cloud reliability; and the connection is more secure because no other users pass traffic across that connection.
Some data centres are offering “carrier-neutral” super connectivity to their services to enable potential cloud users to recognise that highly connected hubs will save time and money connecting the required clouds together.
They are building on their investment in super connectivity by developing marketplaces or internal sales hubs for clients and vendors to meet and select products and services resident in the same data centre.
As these hubs grow, they become more attractive to software, content and service providers who can connect to collaborative services and be in the same facility as their potential clients.
The success of this will only further enhance the data centre’s position as the connectivity broker between IT services, internal and external clouds.
Big data is truly driving the need for connectivity, which is now critical to the complete data centre solution.
As organisations begin to understand that analytics helps them to be more relevant and innovate, the demand for data will only escalate and more businesses will inevitably use public cloud to gather invaluable information.
This will only increase the need for more space and compute power and in turn, even greater importance will be put on data centres – their efficiency, total cost of service and connectivity.
Whether it is wireless or wired connectivity, it is the need to exchange data that makes it the absolute defining factor in the future of the inter-connected world.