DCN September 2016 - Page 17

colocation & outsourcing The edge is a place Until now, the data centre industry has been concentrated in clusters such as LINX (London Internet Exchange) in London, or AMS-IX (Amsterdam Internet Exchange) in Holland. As connectivity was a large cost for websites, being close to plentiful and economical connectivity made sense, and that meant colocation in a data centre close to an Internet hub. While this strategy worked well, in the last 10-15 years, customer habits and needs are changing drastically. Also, costs and the industry itself are constantly in flux. The price of IP transit has plummeted to the point where it is now a tiny part of the cost of a data centre deployment and enterprises are more and more comfortable with running their networks over IP. Edge data centre providers are essentially building in tiertwo markets – smaller hubs in places that don’t already have data centres but are becoming increasingly bandwidth hungry. These hubs are where the players in the long chain of delivering content or services to customers interconnect and exchange traffic. If you are just browsing the Internet for general tasks, it is hard to notice whether you’re near or far from the edge. But for any kind of mission critical or real time traffic like video, cloud based applications, or gaming, the extra latency can significantly degrade performance and increase security risks. For enterprises demanding faster access to applications and ever more processing power, there are a range of benefits of storing data in an edge data centre. 1) Direct access to major regional networks – Colocating in an Internet hub means direct access to the major regional networks. 2) Less expensive – It is much less expensive to store data in an ‘edge’ location than a traditional data centre. 3) Improved security – The close proximity to the peering points and content gives a greater ability to isolate the network from DDoS attacks. 4) Fewer restrictions – The location often means not having to adhere to the same space and power restrictions seen in places such as central London. 5) Better access to cloud services – Cloud ecosystems develop around Internet hubs, which means customers can have quick and easy access to public clouds, CDN, security services and other similar services. Delivering data hungry content Content providers – including media companies, retailers, financial services firms and sports leagues – are racing to keep pace with the explosion of Internet video and mobile devices. Edge data centres are being driven by the need to deliver high definition video to end users. When YouTube first reached 1 billion views for a single video, end users based in Phoenix, Arizona, hit major performance issues, including inconsistent UX (user experience) and slow download times. This was due to the fact that every time the video was requested by the end user, the file had to be pulled from downtown LA – over 500 miles away. As a result, and in order for the video to be streamed, local network providers had to move it to their own network, resulting in a cost of millions of dollars. Bringing the Internet closer to users The first rule in colocation is ‘follow the end user’. For the last 20 years that has meant serving rich data from key strategic locations across the Internet, be it peering exchanges, hubs or points where multiple carrier networks meet. Edge data centres are an excellent solution for businesses with a presence in less well served towns, cities, regions and countries where speed is essential for the running of core applications. The use of edge data centre services can make any individual or businesses, wherever they are in the world, feel as if they are working on the same system, with the same performance and functionality. With data growing at an astonishing rate, and showing no signs of slowing down, the demands on infrastructure are also growing. Inevitably, this means the edge of the Internet spreads wider and wider, moving ever closer to its final destination at home. 17