A major transformation is happening in the IT space – creating a new profitable revenue stream for companies once only known for connectivity services.
It pays to be a trendsetter
While enterprises traditionally deployed IT resources in their own private data centers (DC), they are now deploying new resources in Multi-Tenant DCs and into Public Cloud DCs such as Amazon, Google or Microsoft (News - Alert). A combination of three cloud types is where enterprises will land – a trend called Hybrid IT or a Hybrid of Cloud IT.
Enterprises are seeking a solution that provides the best of both Public Cloud and Direct Connect models. Referred to as “Multi-Cloud”, this approach provides flexibility and manageability of connecting to many cloud providers with the high performance and security of the direct connect model.
Migration of content (typically 50 Tb or more) is a key challenge for Enterprises seeking the benefits of the shift to the Cloud. Due to the current limitations of IP based networks some cloud providers have resorted to a manual transfer of content onto one or more hard drive devices, which are then shipped by truck for upload onto the Cloud Provider’s DC. While this approach reduces transport time from enterprise to Cloud DC, much of the heavy lifting falls onto the enterprise. And the time involved is cumbersome.
Another approach uses technology innovations that enable the network to deliver dynamic services allowing an enterprise to request on-demand 10/40/100 Gbps high performance connections. Delivered via a dedicated DC interconnect network, these services can handle short term but high traffic applications such as data migration to the cloud. A DCI service featuring a DC Connect Fabric would reduce the migration time to the cloud by 90% from weeks to minutes.
Data Center Interconnect Players
There are three types of data center players in the market for DCI service:
- ICPs (Internet Content Providers) such as Google (News - Alert) and Microsoft represent about 5.4% of total DCs globally, yet these players contribute a significant amount of DC Interconnect traffic.
- Carrier Neutral Providers (CNPs) such as Equinix (News - Alert) and Telecity, represent over 50% of global DCs.
- Multi-Tenant DC (MTDC) Operators are in the business of selling space, power and cross-connects to enterprises looking to deploy IT resources outside of their private DCs.
Cost and scalability - Challenges for regional DCI
CNPs are challenged by the time it takes for the Managed Service Provider to provide connectivity - which can take months. For each month of delay, the CNPs can lose $100Ks of revenue in their core space, power, and cross-connect business. CNPs are also looking to enable their customers to request connectivity via a self-serve portal as well as burstable DCI services that can be activated on-demand to address short term DC applications such as data backup, disaster recovery, or data migration.
Typical networks for DCI between metros tend to be based on IP/MPLS and are 1Gbps or less. For example, if an enterprise in DC 1 wants to back-up 3 Tb of content (typical daily backup for large enterprise) to a regional DC in a second metro, it would take over 8 hours at sub 1Gbps speeds. This timeframe is problematic, as the enterprises’ data continues to change even during the backup, so by the time that the daily backup is complete, the customer’s data is already out of date.
DC Connect Fabric service - a solution
A DC Connect Fabric service that optimizes the high performance applications of DCI, DC Connect Fabric offers solves the cost and scalability challenges. Such a service would need to provide:
- Any-to-any connectivity between DCs on the fabric whether within the same metro or across metros
- Direct connectivity to multiple public cloud services such as Google, Microsoft or Amazon
- Rapid turn-up of service in Days
- On-Demand bandwidth from 1, 10, 40 and 100 Gbps
- Low latency and in-flight encryption to meet performance and security concerns
Applying this service to our back-up example, back-up can be performed in 45 min - a 91% reduction over the 8 hour window required via an IP network. Risk of loss is reduced for should there be failure, only 45 minutes of changes are impacted versus 8 hours.
Benefits for CNPs and Enterprises
Revenue acceleration is a key benefit to CNPs using this approach. Enterprises connectivity needs can be addressed in days. And, CNPs assets are utilized more effectively. On-Demand bandwidth enables new agile DC services for DCI capabilities as needed such as business continuity, disaster recovery, or data migration.
Enterprises gain flexibility and speed. Connectivity into a DC Connect Fabric provides flexibility to connect to the greatest number of multi-tenant and public datacenters. This allows enterprises to move their IT resources to the DCs with most economical terms for space, power and cross connect.
Lead applications for the DC Connect Fabric
DCI applications that demand the high bandwidth, low latency performance characteristics of the DC Connect Fabric include:
- Offsite Data Backup
- Disaster Recovery
- Data Migration
- Live virtual machine migrations
- Content Distribution
- Load balancing
- Storage Area Networking
The accelerating trend for enterprises to move IT resources to both multi-tenant and public clouds is driving growth in DCI connectivity from enterprise DCs to cloud DCs. To realize profitable returns, managed service providers will need to deliver a DCI service that provides maximum flexibility to cloud DCs, rapid provisioning of DCI services, and connectivity on an on-demand basis.
Edited by Maurice Nagle