The truth about data centre connectivity
Thu 12 Apr 2018
The colocation market is growing. As more and more businesses move towards the cloud, hyperscale data centre providers are becoming increasingly dominant. As multi-tenant data centre firms now have to compete in an ever-more competitive market, it’s essential that they find a further way of differentiating themselves.
In the past, the way that colo providers would do this is through space and power. That’s no longer possible. Now, the key is connectivity. By giving enterprise customers the ability to directly connect to major business partners – whether that’s cloud service providers, other enterprises, carriers or content providers – this direct connectivity offers secure and fast connection.
Business decision makers know this and are choosing IT strategies based on this. Major data centre providers like Digital Realty are making major investments in direct connectivity, and are connecting with a variety of services, such as Salesforce.
A quick web search will also show announcements from a number of major data centre firms, such as Telehouse, Equinix and Virtus offering direct connections to Amazon Web Services (AWS). Some companies, including Equinix, have made great efforts to promote their direct connection programs, which, according to the firm, allows businesses to directly connect with more than a thousand enterprises.
Offering these services, or not, can be a make or break decision for colocation data centre firms
Connectivity is so important that it’s now reached the point where connectivity offerings make up nearly a third of colocation providers’ revenue. As such, a broad range of connectivity services should be offered by colo providers. The broad categories that these fall under are inter- and intra-colocation.
Intracolocation connectivity connects enterprise customers to their partners, customers, peering networks and the cloud, within the colocation facility. Carried out through copper or fibre based cross connects, this provides extremely low latency, high speed switching, high bandwidth and high levels of security.
Offering these services, or not, can be a make or break decision for colocation data centre firms. Given the nature of the offering, the advantages are effectively doubled – providing connectivity services makes it more likely for enterprise businesses to use that facility, which in turn will bring businesses looking to connect with them. Offering these platforms can be a deciding factor in whether or not a facility becomes a strategic core provider for companies.
Specific intracolocation services include ‘Meet Me Rooms’ (MMRs); the place within colocation data centre where telecommunications companies can physically connect to one another and exchange data. An MMR provides a safe production environment where the carrier handover point equipment can be expected to run 24/7 with minimal risk of interruption.
The other broad type of connectivity is intercolocation, which involves more than one data centre. By utilising high-speed connectivity between connected data centres (which are typically carrier-neutral in order to provide more options and variations of product), customers can reap significant benefits, particularly in terms of speed.
With a range of other services on offer, ranging from disaster recovery, end-to-end ethernet connections, network peering, hybrid cloud deployment and cloud bursting, colocation providers have a number of ways to bring new customers to their facility, and improve service for existing customers.
It is one thing to understand the range of options on offer, and another to understand what’s required to implement these. There are two main challenges involved in making the move from having a connectivity strategy to executing a connectivity plan.
These revolve around the processes involved – the structure of the processes in operation must be changed to accommodate the introduction of new connectivity products. At the same time, they must be able to manage through the increase in complexity delivering these new services will cause.
This whitepaper explores the approach that colo providers should take, and why they should act now in order to differentiate themselves from the competition.