Colocation data centers provide a wide range of services and advantages to organizations looking to unburden themselves from the expense and hassle of maintaining their own private, on-premises data infrastructure.
Making the move to a data center is no small step. Aside from the initial questions of server space, rack deployment density, power availability, and cooling capabilities, organizations also need to think about the additional benefits colocation facilities can offer them.
In the midst of all these decisions, however, there’s one simple question that should never be lost in the mix:
Is the data center carrier-neutral?
The answer to this question could have profound long-term consequences for an organization’s business. To understand why, it’s important to take a close look at what it actually means for a data center to be carrier-neutral.
A colocation data center offers physical and virtual space for companies to store and manage their server and data infrastructure.
In many cases, these companies are running their entire service-based businesses through a data center. By eliminating the high costs of maintaining their own infrastructure, they can focus their existing IT resources on other tasks that provide positive benefits to their business in the form of innovation and research.
But the data center is only one piece of the infrastructure puzzle. The other pieces are the internet service providers (ISPs) that connect an organization’s network to the internet, which allow them to reach customers and conduct everyday business.
A carrier-neutral data center is simply a facility that is entirely independent of these network providers. It is not owned and operated by a single ISP, instead offering a wide variety of connection options to its colocation customers. These connectivity options are further enhanced by direct connections to cloud services, which are often facilitated over a single cross-connect for superior performance. There are a number of advantages that come from partnering with a carrier-neutral data center over a single-carrier data center.
First and foremost, carrier-neutral facilities generally offer lower connectivity prices. That’s because the data center essentially functions as an ISP marketplace.
By offering multiple connection options to colocation data center customers, ISPs have a strong competition incentive to keep their prices low and provide better services.
If customers are not pleased with their current ISP within a data center, it’s a simple matter of switching providers without disrupting their operations. Furthermore, not all companies require the same level of ISP connection from their data center. Organizations that make extensive use of edge computing with internet of things (IoT) devices or streaming content can’t afford to be stuck with subpar connectivity. A carrier neutral facility gives them the opportunity to select the provider that most closely meets their business needs.
The costs of selecting a single carrier data center go beyond price. With only one carrier to “choose” from, colocation data center customers can easily fall victim to not just price increases, but also reduced bandwidth and service reliability, which could lead to costly downtime. Furthermore, the costs of relocating to a new data center must be taken into account.
Even if a single-carrier data center’s ISP offers a good price initially, future increases could force an organization to make the expensive switch to another (probably carrier-neutral) data center. By going carrier-neutral the first time, they can avoid the hassle and expense.
In today’s data-driven economy, maintaining service uptime is critically important to most companies’ business operations. Carrier-neutral data centers offer a level of ISP redundancy that simply isn’t possible with their single-carrier counterparts.
By connecting multiple carriers to critical IT systems, organizations can ensure that even in the event of one carrier’s service outage, the other carrier can keep systems up and running and connected without a hitch. More importantly, by blending multiple ISPs together, carrier-neutral data centers can provide superior security to protect customers from crippling DDoS attacks and other cybersecurity threats.
This level of service redundancy ensures that companies will be able to keep their operations up and running even under duress. It also protects them from the threat of data loss, which can devastate an organization financially and inflict irreparable brand damage.
Since these facilities also allow colocation customers to access services over a single cross-connect, there are far fewer links in the connectivity chain. This contributes to better overall uptime reliability.
As organizations grow, they need service partners who can scale along with them. The options provided by a carrier-neutral data center allow companies to always match their needs with the ideal ISP, both in terms of service and physical infrastructure.
In a data center deployment, the physical arrangement of cables, routers, and servers can make a difference in performance. The basic principles of networking may be similar across facilities, but single-carrier facilities may not offer the same benefits in terms of edge computing, direct connections to cloud providers (like Azure ExpressRoute), single cross-connect options, or MSP bundled services.
With a carrier-neutral environment, companies have all the options they could ever want at their disposal whether they’re just getting established or looking to grow rapidly. With all the advantages offered by carrier-neutral data centers, single-carrier facilities are finding it increasingly difficult to compete; some are even choosing to make the switch, offering limited carrier-neutral services to customers.
For organizations looking to maximize their colocation investment, however, the best option remains a true carrier-neutral data center built from the ground up to provide the freedom needed to build the most reliable and cost-effective IT infrastructures.