Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Killing cloud outages with data centre intersects

A recent AWS outage that nearly broke the internet – as many labelled it -, sparked fears amongst users and businesses. João Marques Lima spoke to Chris Sharp, CTO at Digital Realty, who explains how outages can be minimised in a connected world.

Executives have never before been so concerned about outages as they are today. A recent survey by the Uptime Institute has found that 90% of data centre and IT professionals believe their corporate management is today more concerned about outages than they were 12 months ago. And with good reason.

Chris Sharp, CTO at Digital Realty

AWS’s outage in February 2017 was a warning that even the web scalers are at risk and businesses need to protect themselves from the resulting consequences. From brand reputation to revenue downfall, data centre outages cost those affected on average nearly $800,000, according to the Ponemon Institute.

As enterprises become more dependent on data centre services, operators face tougher competition, with the need to launch new offers into the market.

Building on this is Digital Realty, one of the world’s largest data centre operators with 145 properties and 23 million sqf of space spread across 33 global metropolitan areas.

The company has in recent years expanded not only its infrastructure fleet, but has also looked into new services and partnerships in the wider data centre industry to answer the demand from a connected customer base.

“People are betting their business on intersects,” said Chris Sharp, chief technology officer at Digital Realty.

The advancement towards interconnection is an answer to cloud complexity. It is directed at bringing the “many shapes and sizes of cloud” into an easy manageable ecosystem that separates public from private clouds and allows scalability.

According to the executive, intersects help to minimise the impact of incidents such as the AWS outage.

Interconnection is key to continue to leverage tool zones and continue to operate even when an availability zone goes down.

“Customers have been pushing us in this direction that not all interconnection is equal and this is why we launched our Service Exchange, which basically allows customers to privately consume public cloud at the core of the service exchange.”

Service Exchange is powered by Megaport and is a software-defined network (SDN) that allows a customer to establish direct, private connections to multiple cloud service providers.

“Even if you are in one market inside Digital, you are able to access all of the availability zones of public clouds such as AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure,” Sharp said.

“A lot of outages and issues happen where people are only leveraging one availability zone. We provide a simplistic way to consume or access all of those availability zones within one market, to alleviate any single point of failure.”

Looking to the future, Sharp said Digital Realty will “definitely continue to expand in some of the existing markets” the company already operates, and left a warning to rivals saying the company “is always looking at the landscape for any potential acquisition or potential asset coming to market”.


This article originally appeared in the Data Economy magazine. To read more on data centres, cloud and data, visit here