Telemarketing services, healthcare facilities, customer service centers, financial institutions and similar businesses all rely extensively on VoIP. The service's popularity is soaring thanks to its low costs and easy integration with users' networks — particularly with the rise of cloud-based software.
Most businesses never consider the network behind their voice services. When shopping for a VoIP provider, their provider's data centers are probably one of the last things on their minds. But this shouldn't be the case. The success of any hosted VoIP service relies on the dependability of its data centers.
Today, nearly every company in the world employs cloud-based services. Third-party providers offer most of these services, eliminating the need for organizations to maintain their own data centers. But this fact doesn't diminish data centers' importance. On the contrary, vendors must run massive data centers from which to provide cloud services to clients.
This fact extends to hosted VoIP and other voice services. Most VoIP providers run their own data centers, which house the hardware necessary for their services to function. These centers run all day, every day to make sure companies have uninterrupted access to voice services. As the popularity of cloud-based VoIP services booms, so to will the demand for data centers.
VoIP services — and the data centers that support them — offer a seamless solution for businesses who rely on both voice communication and their data network.
For example, telemarketers need instant access to their prospects' information when doing cold calls. They must be able to rely on their network's speed and reliability at all times to access a detailed database while on the phone. The centers behind their data composition are responsible for this instant access and seamless communication — and the more data centers available, the better. When shopping for a new provider, companies in voice-dependent industries such as this would do well to research the data center network behind it.
Why place such an emphasis on multiple data center locations? While some might dismiss this number as unnecessary costs, hosting numerous centers plays a crucial role in the success of both cloud-based voice services and the companies that use them for several reasons.
If a VoIP vendor only has one data center managing phone systems for all customers, they have just a single point of failure within the entire system. If their data center malfunctions, all companies relying on the provider for their phone lines would be without services until the problem resolves. This costs an average of more than $160,000 per hour of downtime, and businesses who depend on phone communications as the backbone of their industry can't afford the expensive interruption.
Instead, multiple data centers ensure organizations still have access to their system even if one center is interrupted.
A single VoIP provider can manage voice services for thousands of companies. If they do so while using only one data center, they risk network overload. Since many businesses operate on the same nine-to-five workday, demand for services often soars during these hours.
Peak times can lead to network congestion, slowing services or even bringing them to a complete halt. But if the vendor operates numerous data centers, they can route calls to another to reduce congestion and increase efficiency.
Just as having multiple data centers is essential, so is carefully planning their locations. A single natural disaster such as an earthquake can completely wipe out closely clustered centers, leaving the businesses that rely on them without service for days or weeks at a time.
Instead, vendors should operate data centers as far apart as possible. That way, if a natural disaster strikes one location, other areas remain secured. Most reputable VoIP providers operate several data centers in locations across the country or even around the world.
The farther data has to travel, the longer it will take to reach its destination. If data centers are clustered in a specific region, organizations in other states or countries might experience audio delays.
These delays could be awkward and inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst. They may also cost businesses a significant amount in time and money — the average worker wastes around 21 days every year due to slow technology speeds or inefficiencies, according to a 2016 U.K. study.
Due to factors such as these, companies clearly can't risk choosing a voice service provider indiscriminately. The backup plans a provider makes impact nearly every facet of the organizations who depend on them.
Before deciding on a vendor, businesses would be wise to research the success of the data centers backing them up.
Kayla Matthews writes about data centers and big data for several industry publications, including The Data Center Journal, Data Center Frontier and insideBIGDATA. To read more posts from Kayla, you can follower her personal tech blog at ProductivityBytes.com.