Building a data networking solution isn’t what it used to be. The days of relying on a few servers in an office closet or basement are rapidly coming to an end. Today’s organizations need much greater flexibility and power from their networks, which is why more of them are turning to colocation data center networking solutions instead of investing the capital resources in building out their own network infrastructure.
Colocation data centers provide organizations with the ability to build complex networks to support their digital services and manage various forms of data that are critical to business operations. Carrier-neutral facilities offer a wide range of choices when it comes to selecting internet service providers and cloud computing platforms, allowing companies to select the networking partners they need to connect with their customers. These connections provide a higher level of flexibility and reliability than is often possible with a private data center or in-house data networking solution.
Building a network in a data center environment is also an investment in future growth. When organizations are forced to scale their existing network due to increased demand, they often need to do so quickly. Adding servers or expanding capacity in a colocation environment is much faster and easier than building out an entirely new IT infrastructure such as a new data center facility. It’s also much more cost-effective. More importantly, when a new application is launched, there’s no guarantee that consumers will embrace it. In many instances, organizations need to spin up capacity to launch a service and then retrench if it fails to catch on. Considering Gartner’s estimate that only about 1 in 10,000 mobile apps become financially successful, having the ability to scale capacity up or down as needed could mean the difference between developing and launching multiple products over time or betting the company’s future on a single application.
Many organizations rushed to transition their networks to the public cloud over the last decade, but several of them quickly discovered that there were significant downsides to embracing a pure cloud solution. Setting aside the risks of vendor lock-in and a cloud provider shutting down, they found that uptime reliability often wasn’t sufficient to meet their data availability needs and the lack of control and visibility over their data exposed them to compliance liabilities. However, there was no denying that cloud computing platforms offered incredible advantages, especially to smaller companies that wouldn’t have had access to the enterprise-level development tools and computing power that public cloud services can provide.
Data center networking provided an ideal solution in the form of hybrid cloud architecture. A combination of private and public cloud, hybrid clouds store mission-critical (and compliance sensitive) data and applications in colocated servers that are accessible through a private cloud network. That private network is then connected to a public cloud service, allowing data to transition seamlessly between the two environments. This provides companies with the control and visibility they need over their data while still allowing them to access the expansive computing power and functionality of leading public cloud platforms.
Sometimes, one cloud just isn’t enough. As cloud service providers become more ubiquitous, organizations often find themselves depending upon multiple applications to meet their business needs. One department might need to access a CRM sales platform while another needs to use software development tools. Traditionally, companies were forced to connect to these services over a public internet connection, which was often limited by bandwidth and latency constraints.
Colocating servers with a data center, however, allows them to leverage software-defined network solutions that provide a direct on-ramp to a variety of cloud platforms. Multi-cloud services such as Megaport open up a wide array of possibilities for growing companies, allowing them to build customized networks that meet their specific needs rather than cobbling together services over less reliable connections.
With new Internet of Things devices hitting the market every day, more data is being gathered at the edge of networks than ever before. If companies aren’t able to meet their users at the edge with fast, low latency services, they’ll risk losing them to competitors. That’s why they’re pushing processing workloads to a combination of IoT edge devices and edge data centers rather than relying upon centralized cloud networks to manage data.
By building networks that incorporate data center locations closer to end users, companies can reduce latency and overcome the “last mile” problem. The improved computing capacity of IoT devices also makes it possible for them to virtualize storage on the edge, allowing data to move faster and more freely than ever. While this expansive architecture brings some security concerns along with it, edge computing is also helping to realize the potential of IoT devices.
Another advantage that comes from colocating servers in a data center is the ability to establish direct connections to other servers in the same environment. With cross-connect cabling, companies can make lightning-fast connections to another firm’s servers. Since these connections bypass the public internet entirely, they are highly secure and allow partners to easily and safely share data and other assets. In the event that a service provider stores servers in the same data center, companies can plug directly into those servers to all but eliminate latency.
Uptime reliability is a critical differentiator in today’s high demand economy. Losing access to data due to provider downtime or an unexpected distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack can have a devastating impact on a company’s revenue and reputation. By building their networks within a connectivity-rich data center environment, organizations can bundle services from multiple providers to deliver blended, redundant connections. Should one provider become unavailable for any reason or is being used by hackers to launch a volumetric cyberattack, connections can be rerouted to ensure that data remains available and services are not disrupted. Blended solutions like vXchnge’s vX\defend can also provide burstable bandwidth to handle spikes in network traffic to ensure that users will always be able to access services when they need them most.
Given the many advantages of building a network within a colocation data center environment, it’s hardly a surprise that the traditional enterprise data center is gradually being phased out. The high costs of building and maintaining these facilities are simply too great for companies that need to retain network agility in a highly competitive economy. As networking demands become more complex in the future, carrier-neutral data centers will surely play an even more vital role in data networking.