By Darren Watkins, Managing Director, VIRTUS Data Centres,


It is fair to say that Big Data is a big deal. IDC states that the big data business analytics market will hit $203 billion by 2020, a growth driven by the availability of data, a new generation of technology and a cultural shift towards data-driven decision making.  And as we consume and connect more and more geographically dispersed devices and clouds, our appetite for network connectivity and bandwidth becomes even stronger.

This is why connectivity is king. Connectivity between data, the data center and public clouds is critical if companies are to make big data meaningful.

The result is that connectivity is essential to the complete data center solution, so providers have been re-thinking their business models, from offering space and power to a new model of bandwidth, resilience and a range of connectivity options.

Data Center Connectivity

connectivity-eBusinesses today expect and require low-latency and reliability from data center providers, with zero tolerance for downtime. Some providers have made it their mission to develop innovative networking services that deliver ultra-resilient solutions. Forward looking data centers have made the investment to introduce a fully diverse multi sub-duct network, so carriers can easily interconnect and businesses can cross-connect to a multitude of public clouds. Having every fiber owner/reseller in a data center means that every other possible carrier or related supplier is just a cross-connect away, providing limitless connectivity to the rest of the world. It is the depth of fiber assets in a data center that make this possible, not the breadth of individual carriers.

Cross Connections to Public Clouds

virtushaysdc0088A cross-connect replaces the public internet connection between a user and cloud provider with a dedicated, private network, allowing peer-to-peer connections. This is one of the main factors driving the demand for connectivity. Nevertheless, enterprises remain in the very early stage of the shift to cloud. The uptake will be driven by businesses developing digital ways of working as mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT) become the norm. These technologies will shift bandwidth needs and applications toward the edge of the network and closer to customers resulting in ever-more complex relationships between systems and applications. We will end up living in a hybrid cloud world made up of traditional, private cloud, managed cloud and public cloud architectures.

Connectivity to the right carriers is critical if cloud is to work. This ensures that multiple public clouds can be accessed, which will increase performance. The term for this is “on-ramp to cloud.”  Companies should be aware that while some data center providers can build the best high-performance computing platform and a facility that is cost-effective to run, without connectivity provisioning on-ramp to other clouds, businesses won’t be able to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy.

Cross-connects offer several benefits. They are dedicated to one organization, so the network bandwidth and latency remain stable. Also, they increase cloud reliability and the connection is more secure because no other users pass traffic across that connection.

Emerging Ecosystems

Some data centers are offering carrier-neutral super connectivity to their services to enable potential cloud users to recognize that highly-connected hubs will save time and money connecting the required clouds together. They are building on their investment in super connectivity by developing marketplaces or internal sales hubs for clients and vendors to meet and select products and services resident in the same data center. As these hubs grow, they become more attractive to software, content and service providers that can connect to collaborative services and be in the same facility as their potential clients. The success of this will only further enhance the data center’s position as the connectivity broker between IT services, internal and external clouds.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Big dData are what truly drive the need for connectivity. As organizations begin to understand that data analytics helps them to become more relevant and innovate, the demand for data will only escalate. For all of this to work seamlessly, devices need to communicate with each other. As a result, more industries will inevitably use public cloud to gather invaluable data, which will consequently increase the demand for more space and compute power. In turn, even greater importance will be put on data centers — their efficiency, total cost of service and connectivity — which will be in increasing demand as the exponential rate of data continues to grow.  Whether it is wireless or wired connectivity, it is the need to exchange data that makes connectivity the absolute defining factor in the future of the interconnected world.

About the Author

Darren Watkins began his career as a graduate military officer in the Royal Air Force before moving into the commercial sector. He brings over 20 years of experience in telecommunications and managed services gained at BT, MFS WorldCom, Level 3 Communications, Attenda and COLT. He joins the VIRTUS team from euNetworks where he was Head of Sales for the UK, leading market changing deals with several large financial institutions and media agencies, and growing the company’s expertise in low latency trading.