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Drive Business Transformation with Colocation Networking

January 19, 2015

It used to be that networking was considered an incidental part of colocation. It’s what got you between your collocated assets. That’s changing now as technological advances are making networking a primary reason for employing colocation — and a potential driver of business transformation. Here are a few things to know in order to tap into benefits ranging from reduced costs and latency to greater functionality and flexibility.

Three Types of Networking

Colocation networking can be broken down into three categories: access, intra-colocation and inter-colocation.

  • Access refers to networking between your users, Internet users and/or your data center and your colocated IT assets. It’s typically been provided through the Internet using IPsec or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)-based Internet protocol (IP) private virtual networks, or through Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) for dedicated services. However, the use of Ethernet can reduce costs because it provides a better price per Mbps than traditional time division multiplexing.

Ethernet also offers benefits because it is “many-to-many” as opposed to a fiber circuit, which is point-to-point, or MPLS, which is any-to-any. That means you can buy Ethernet service and then use the bandwidth for different services — and even for different cloud services providers (CSPs). This can be more expensive at lower speeds, but the flexibility, cost savings and consistent, predictable performance that Ethernet offers makes it a smart investment.

In addition, using Ethernet for colocation may enable you to more fully take advantage of colocated compute and storage resources, as well as the hosting, cloud, peering and network connectivity options accessed there.

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  • Next up is intra-colocation networking. This encompasses peering among companies and networks, switching between them and the direct connections to the cloud and hosting.

There’s ecosystem peering, which is the connection of enterprises to each other, often within the same industry, via fiber cross-connect or high-speed switch. Network proximity and high bandwidth result in lower latency, which makes exchanging large files more cost effective.

Then there’s network peering, which allows you to connect to multiple network providers to improve performance, resiliency or cost savings.

Finally, there’s cloud and hosting direct connect. This allows for a direct connection to enterprise-connected routers, or to colocated compute and storage assets, driving latency and costs out of the connection. A direct connect also enables you to directly connect your colocated assets to a CSP for low-latency hybrid connections. This could be between a private cloud located in the data center and the public cloud. Or, it could be between individual compute or storage assets and a public cloud. Either way, you gain the benefit of a hybrid cloud solution without the complexity and costs of building a private cloud.

  • Intercolocation access is the use of high-speed connectivity between two or more colocation centers. Among the applications that can benefit most from it is disaster recovery. Increasingly, companies want to locate their DR assets in more remote colocation facilities to avoid natural disasters that may be common to their local geographies.  Within a certain distance, this could allow for synchronous replication. Over a greater distance, you could get asynchronous replication.

Transform Your Business

A blog post can’t begin to cover all the information that’s available about colocation networking.  But hopefully it gives you a glimpse at some of the potential benefits — and helps you to understand that when it comes to colocation networking, it’s no longer business as usual.

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