Data center connectivity gains are commonly associated with colocation plans, and the WAN is often the part of the network that benefits the most. The WAN connection is notoriously difficult to upgrade because the costs of adding new infrastructure are prohibitive for WAN service vendors, such as telecoms. The result is a situation in which subscribing to more expensive service plans is similarly problematic for businesses. Instead of adding more capacity to WANs, organizations will often work to optimize their WAN systems. This is one area where data center colocation services really pay dividends.
Four major ways that working with a colocation provider can support WAN performance improvements include:
1. Putting a CDN into place
A content delivery network is a specialized WAN link that is devoted to supporting a specific type of content. This can be used to host data pertaining to a particularly information hungry Web app, a website that is accessed by a large number of users or similar content. Using CDNs to support enterprise video or external video strategies is fairly common at this point because the network solution can be refined to meet the specific routing and traffic management needs of the high-bandwidth content.
CDNs are a fairly specialized network service that can supplement your existing WAN setup, but they are widely considered an excellent way to ensure effective performance for key Web solutions.
2. Maximizing routing potential
Routing information through the WAN is a complex and difficult matter, but there is one simple rule of thumb – having data move the shortest physical distance possible is almost always ideal. This is one area where colocation solutions really pay dividends. Colocation providers generally build their facilities in locations with prime access to the large operator networks that crisscross the country and the rest of the world. This means that your data will not only get onto those networks through a relatively short path, but that colocation vendors will often have access to multiple operator pathways.
This diversity for access means that colocation vendors are able to not only choose the route that is the shortest distance, but select an alternate pathway if the shortest one is so clogged with data that the transmission will be slowed. The result is a situation in which the initial routing choices impacting WAN performance are made in such a way that functionality is maximized.
3. High-performance interconnects
The distance data must travel between the location where it is stored and the major operator networks that transmit it over long distances can be a major performance bottleneck. This is one issue that colocation providers work hard to overcome. The first step in this process is building facilities in close proximity to operator networks, but that is only part of the solution. From there, colocation vendors build out high-performance interconnect systems that ensure data can get to the operator network with incredible speed.
A good interconnect will usually feature a fiber-optic cable connection and superior data transit speeds to local telecom services in a cost-efficient way. The result is a situation in which data moves from the colocation facility to the operator network extremely quickly and with minimal disruption.
4. Service diversity
Many telecoms have different quality levels when it comes to their infrastructure in various regions. Where one telecom has built out fiber in one area, another may only have basic copper networks. A carrier-neutral colocation provider offers organizations the opportunity to mix and match their telecom services based on which vendor in the area makes the most sense. A colocation facility may have access to network links to a bunch of different telecom systems in the region, making it easier to take advantage of whichever setup makes the most sense based on where data has to travel.
Dealing with WAN challenges through colocation
Optimizing the WAN is becoming more important than ever as organizations move more data through the cloud and support more employees who are accessing information using smartphones and tablets. The WAN therefore needs to handle more information and get that data to a wider range of destinations, and businesses can only afford to pay so much for this flexibility and performance. Hosting core systems in a colocation facility, or even using the colocation plan as a hub for diverse cloud services, gives businesses a foundation upon which they can maximize the value of their WAN services.
A colocation plan does not necessarily cover every facet of WAN optimization that an organization can consider. However, it does offer a variety of data center connectivity solutions that, when combined, lay the groundwork for a high-performance, cost-efficient WAN setup that can help companies get a competitive advantage in their industry. The colocation industry got its start offering robust connectivity services to industries like automated trading, and these connectivity solutions can help your business now.