Exploding Internet Traffic Drives the Need for Multi-Facility Interconnectivity

The growth of social networking, web services and cloud applications has caused an exponential increase in data and network traffic. As a result, powerful data centers are needed to handle burgeoning infrastructure requirements.

In addition, organizations must configure solutions for disaster recovery and business continuity.  Ensuring ongoing operations in the event of a power outage has never been more critical.

Data center providers must respond to both demands – maintaining high performance levels in light of escalating network traffic and enabling customers to continue operations during a disaster.  Interconnecting multiple data center facilities helps accomplish these goals.

In the not-so-distant past, enterprise applications were not designed to be used in different locations without advanced infrastructure and complex software.  Fortunately, today’s data center interconnectivity solutions can extend a data network between geographically dispersed facilities.  By providing an efficient and reliable solution, data center interconnectivity has become a common business practice.

Evaluating Interconnection Options

Data center interconnectivity involves connecting multiple facilities across the wide area network using routing and transport technologies.  The result is a larger available pool of resources.

The goal for providers is to develop an interconnectivity solution providing the highest bandwidth, lowest latency and most efficient energy usage.  To this end, a variety of connection options exist for interconnecting data centers.

When connecting two or more data centers, the specific technology deployed will depend on the application and acceptable trade-offs.  Specific examples of high-speed connection options include MPLS and Optical Waves:

  • As the name implies, Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) provides a protocol-independent and scalable transport medium. Data traffic can travel end-to-end regardless of whether it’s based on ATM, Frame Relay, SONET, IP or Ethernet.  In the future, many network engineers believe MPLS will even replace these technologies.
  • In a colocation model, wholesale carriers provide Optical Waves connections at each site.  Because these connections appear as dedicated fiber cables, customer access to each site’s network infrastructure is fast and seamless.  Optical interfaces provide high-capacity transport within the data center and to other facilities, as well as low latency and reduced energy consumption.

Building Multi-Facility Interconnectivity

To get the highest performance, enterprises should be able to mix and match data center facilities. Full interconnectivity ensures reliable applications and global access to resources.

Configuring a customized solution to address disaster recovery and interconnectivity requires customers complete two steps:

  • Decide on Active-Passive, Active-Active or Combination Configurations. Active-Passive configurations use a recovery site for non-production applications. Active-Active designs use two sites for production applications.  A combination configuration would be Active-Active-Passive.  In this configuration, the first and second sites are used for production applications while the recovery site is used for non-production applications.
  • Select Interconnectivity between and within Metros.  Based on requirements, an organization must determine which data center provider can provide the lowest-cost and highest-speed city-to-city connections.

Multi-facility interconnectivity delivers significant benefits to enterprises. For example, it likely lowers the average cost for point-to-point connectivity between data centers.  It also creates added revenue opportunities by enabling customers to deliver services within other markets.

By selecting a proven colocation provider, enterprises can leverage these important advantages, as well as potentially improve the service quality to their own customers.  When connected to top-tier facilities, service delivery becomes more reliable and resilient.

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