By Roger Keenan, managing director of central London data centre, City Lifeline
When the modern internet came into existence in the mid-eighties, nobody could have predicted the impact it would have on the world. An incredible two billion people now use the internet in some form, while the number of web pages in existence grows by 60 per cent every year with any business worth its weight now trading online.
Cloud adoption has now become the norm, with 70 per cent of businesses either using or considering a hybrid cloud solution. With customer demand unsurprisingly rising alongside this, data centres need forward thinking network providers to work with. Below are four elements key to creating the perfect data centre network.
In the ever-growing world of business, data centre scalability and network scalability are key. A truly scalable network has the capacity to handle the exponential growth in data exchange which we are witnessing through cloud computing. This is just as important for small start-up businesses as it is for the most well-established companies – if a network is unable to grow alongside a data centre then the company will likely be left out of pocket as it is forced to constantly update or change its technology.
For business goliaths, having a scalable network alongside their data centres will ensure that any large spikes in traffic can be handled without the worry of potential downtime. Where would Facebook or Amazon be if their data centres and networks weren’t able to deal with the huge levels of growth they have experienced since they were founded? Planning for growth should be at the forefront of all business models, so a network or data centre which doesn’t offer scalability is working towards failure.
The ability to offer a flexible approach to business life has been a real key topic over the past twelve months, and this is equally as important in the world of cloud computing.
Not only does the cloud enable employees to work in a flexible manner, mobile devices and traditional desktop computers are now equally adept to perform business critical activities, but there must be flexibility of the data centre and network itself.
A day is a long time in business and as such data centres and networks must be created with customer needs in mind. For example, retailers will find their website hits increase hugely during the Christmas period and any businesses which undertakes large marketing campaigns should be prepared for increased traffic. Therefore, if an end-user, service provider or data centre requires a change to its network its vital that this can be actioned as soon as possible – the longer such changes take, the more likely it is that a business’ reputation will be tarnished.
3. Fast Network Changes
Cloud computing has resulted in service providers changing their service level agreements to offer quicker turnarounds than ever before. If a business needs to change from a 10GB/sec network to a 100GB/sec data centre network connection for example then full flexibility would mean this could be actioned and completed to a very short timescale.
Long gone are the days when a network customer has to wait a week for their request to be carried out – businesses will always look to use the network provider who can offer the best service in the quickest time possible, and rightly so.
With the way the industry is moving, any data centres or network providers not offering a fast provisioning service may soon be forced into doing so, or risk being left behind by forward thinking businesses listening to exactly what their customers want.
The final piece of the puzzle is ensuring networks are as resilient as possible, ensuring connectivity remains intact even during equipment failure, power outages or other unforeseen circumstances in the data centre or on the network.
A fully scalable and flexible network that can’t guarantee connectivity around the clock is worthless, especially with figures showing network downtime costs 80 per cent of SMBs at least £11,500 per hour – a potentially crippling loss.
High quality networks and data centres use redundant systems which take control seamlessly when a component fails, ensuring the customer never feels the impact of the fault as no downtime is experienced. To fail in this respect would be hugely harmful for a business’s reputation and the financial impact of even short term downtime can be impossible to recover from.
Future proof networks
Combining all of these components will deliver a ‘future proof’ network which businesses can rely on, which is vital in a world where the customer always comes first. For example, C4L listened to user frustrations before creating its coreTX network for data centre installation and this is an approach which should be utilised by all data centre and network service providers. The data centre of the future will have fully scalable, flexible and resilient networks on-board which create an environment where connectivity is an enabler to business growth, not a bottleneck. After all, this is what all business leaders crave.