Network Communications News (NCN) December 2016 - Page 12

COLUMN talking point Connectivity is King! Darren Watkins, managing director of Virtus Data Centres, explains how companies can take advantage of ‘Big Data’. B ig Data is a big deal. Global market analyst IDC says that the Big Data business analytics market will hit $203bn by 2020, driven by the availability of data, a new generation of technology and a cultural shift to data driven decision making. But Big Data is useless without the ability to access, process and analyse masses of information. And as we consume and connect more and more geographically dispersed devices and clouds, our appetite for network connectivity and bandwidth becomes stronger. Connectivity between the data, the data centre and public clouds is critical if companies are to make Big Data meaningful. The result is that connectivity is critical to the complete data centre solution so providers have been rethinking their models from offering space and power, to a new model of bandwidth, resilience and a range of connectivity options. What should businesses look for in their data centre providers? Data centre connectivity Businesses today expect and require low latency and reliability, with zero tolerance for downtime. As connectivity is critical, some providers have made it their mission to develop networking services that deliver ultra resilient solutions. 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 Darren Watkins says Big Data is driving the next stage in the development of an increasingly connected world. in a data centre means that every other possible carrier or related supplier is just a cross connect away. 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-topeer connections. This is one of the main factors driving the demand for connectivity. Nevertheless, enterprises remain in the 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 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 a lot of companies don’t know, is that they can get a better level of performance 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 using 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. This ensures that multiple public clouds can be accessed, which increases 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 platform and a facility that is cost effective, without connectivity provisioning on-ramp to other clouds, businesses won’t be able to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy. The most effective providers make it easy to connect public and private clouds. This connectivity is 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. 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. Emerging ecosystems Some data centres are offering ‘carrier neutral’ super connectivity to enable users to recognise that highly connected hubs will save time and money connecting the required clouds together. They are building on their investment 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 further enhance the data centre’s position as the connectivity broker. IoT and Big Data truly drive the need for connectivity. As organisations begin to understand that data analytics helps them to become more relevant and innovate, the demand will escalate. For all of this to work, devices need to communicate. As a result, more industries will use public cloud to gather data, which will increase the demand for more space and power. In turn, greater importance will be put on data centres, their efficiency, total cost of service and connectivity. Whether it is wireless or wired, it is the need to exchange data that makes connectivity the defining factor in the future of the inter-connected world. 12 10 Talking Point.indd 12 02/12/2016 10:59