Connectivity is critical to connecting with your data.

Is it the first item on your checklist?

A number of criteria must be considered when selecting a secure data center to support your organization’s digital goals. Of course, your evaluation list will include important requirements such as physical security, power and cooling systems, and geographical location, among several more.

In the past, organizations treated the data center as another physical location much like a branch office. Connecting to the data center meant adding just another node or two to the corporate WAN, such as an MPLS or ethernet circuit.

But over the past decade or so, the role of the data center has changed. Companies now employ a workforce that needs to connect from anywhere in the world with 24×7 always-on services. The use of cloud services in addition to colocation, means more thought is required when selecting connectivity solutions.

For example, Cargill with over 1,500 sites around the world, asked some very important questions at the start of their company’s recent network transformation efforts:

“What happens if most apps are out in the cloud rather than in the data center and the cloud is treated as a third-party? Do you manage the cloud in the same ways as you manage the data center? What about security?

The boundary between the enterprise network and the public internet is going to blur even more. If most applications are out in the cloud, why do you need MPLS? In the future, we may need a very different kind of network.”

Early adopters have moved an abundance of their applications and data to the cloud; however, the majority are proceeding more cautiously and are implementing hybrid cloud solutions. Some of their data or their applications are hosted by cloud service providers and the rest are kept in colocation data centers. Hybrid cloud implementations mean establishing and managing connectivity that must move up on the requirements list.

In order to keep up with rapidly changing demands, you will need flexible solutions to connect to your data — both in the cloud and in the data center.

Here are 4 key points to consider:

  1. 1/ Carrier-Specific or Carrier-Neutral Data Center

Carrier-specific data centers are usually owned and operated by telecommunications service providers (telcos) or internet service providers (ISPs). Data center customers are typically obligated to purchase connectivity services directly from them.

Carrier-neutral data centers, on the other hand, do not have a ISP or telco preference. You are free to subscribe to services from any of the ISPs or telcos connected to the facility. Many of these data centers will cite the number of carriers in use by other customers in their facility and often even list their providers’ names. This information will help you with preliminary research.

  1. 2/ Available Connectivity Services

You may only need a L2 or L3 connection for the first phase of your move into a data center — but what’s next? Do you need dedicated or shared circuits? Will your current carrier offer the types of connections you will need when you move different applications and data to the cloud?

More carriers mean more choice. What do phase 2, phase 3, phase X look like? Is your present carrier an innovator or a more conservative provider? Does their approach match your business evolution?

  1. 3/ Physical Routes

Be sure to ask about physical routes from the communication service provider’s points-of-presence (POPs) to the data center. You want to reduce unplanned downtime from a wide variety of sources. Having two different service providers helps protect you from major outages in one carrier’s network.

The physical routes the cables follow are important, particularly to guard against physical damage such as careless excavation. There should be adequate physical separation between the physical routes into the data center.

  1. 4/ Contract term and costs

Carrier-specific data centers often bundle colocation and connectivity services. While this arrangement may be convenient for your accounts payable department, tying these two different services has some downsides: scalability, evolution, and cost.

When you need to scale your connection, how easy it is to add more bandwidth? If you need a different kind of service in the future, can you cancel your current contract and subscribe to a different service better suited to you needs? Are you getting the best price for connectivity?

When you have a choice of carriers, you not only have different service type options: there are more options for pricing and contract term length. If you expect your needs to change in the short- or long-term, separating the colocation and connectivity contracts will make your organization more agile.

Focus on Flexibility

Given the long-term commitment associated with trusting a data center service provider with your critical infrastructure and data, selecting a facility offering the greatest flexibility will ensure it meets your current requirements and that it can painlessly accommodate unknown, future needs. HypertecDCSoffers secure, reliable data center services designed to maximize availability, efficiency and scalability of your IT and cloud infrastructure.

If you wish to further explore  Hypertec DCS servives in depth or discuss how you can boost your data center throughput. Talk to a Hypertec DCS specialist.