Skip to content Skip to footer

Data centres & dark fibre: a match made in the cloud

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

Reliance on data centres has come from increased dependence on internet-based services. The amount of data created each year is growing faster than ever before.

According to JLL, in 2020, every human on the planet was making 1.7 megabytes of information each second. By 2025, the amount of data generated daily will reach 463 million terabytes.

Most digital platforms are hosted in a data centre, and cloud-computing runs over the internet for everyday services like storage, networking, software and analytics. Integrating systems requires a flexible and scalable approach to maintain daily operations, which will inevitably increase demand over time. With this in mind, analysts suggests that the UK data centre sector will grow at an annual growth rate of 86% from 2021 to 2026.

Businesses rely on infrastructure providers to connect them with their data and data centres to provide services to their customers.

Servers running software need an ultra-low latency connection to provide the processing, memory, local storage, and network connectivity that drive applications required by end-users.

Low latency is critical for users; the lower the latency, the better the experience. This also applies to business networks; high latency can disrupt (or even stop) the transmission of data across a business and stunt productivity or growth. To address this, data centres provide networks that utilise dark fibre. A vital factor of these dark fibre networks is that there are no other users, minimising the latency and ensuring seamless data transmission.

Moreover, in managing business-critical data and applications, data centre security is critical in its design, facilitating and supporting the everyday workings of business applications and activities that include:

●      Email and file sharing

●      Productivity applications

●      Customer relationship management (CRM)

●      Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and databases

●      Big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning

●      Virtual desktops, communications and collaboration services.

To adequately support businesses utilising data centres, the internet infrastructure of the data centre needs to be reliable. The infrastructure needs the lowest latency traffic, offering the highest forms of security for any sensitive data while also providing speeds for upload and download that can be upgraded as usage increases over time.

The power of dark fibre

Dark fibre is fibre optic cabling that lies unused within telecoms. It has no users or traffic running through it. The user of the dark fibre chooses the hardware used to ‘light’ the fibre and manages the network from end-to-end.

If this form of fibre is leased or bought from a provider, the purchaser must deploy and manage the equipment needed to ‘light’ the fibre. As difficult as this may seem, it is beneficial to the user as the contention rate within the fibre is minimised through the low level of users.

Advantages of dark fibre vary. It gives businesses control of their IT estate, managing capacity and scaling it to daily usage. Companies can remain self-contained with dark fibre’s near-limitless capacity. Users will need to upgrade the technology for greater bandwidth, making them self-sufficient and not reliant on speeds given by fibre providers.

This form of fibre also provides Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM), which splits different wavelength signals across the fibre. It is the technology of choice as it increases bandwidth by letting other data streams be sent out at the same time over one fibre network – great for businesses that have more extensive data demands, such as data centres, banks or media companies.

This option is ideal for businesses that manage sensitive information or real-time data, such as financial or retail-based companies. It can help with security, but it can also assist with future technologies or those looking to use the cloud or VoIP technologies. Moreover, users won’t share the connection with anyone else, improving security over the dark fibre networks.

Ultimately, dark fibre solutions offer flexibility and give users the freedom to deploy and manage whatever technology is paramount to them or their business model, providing complete control over configuration.

The connection to the cloud

Storing files in the cloud makes a business dependent on internet services to operate efficiently. Similarly, the cloud is dependent on the data centre’s connectivity, and a slowed connection at any point inhibits productivity.

The reliance on the internet makes the connection between data centre networks a priority to the infrastructure design for continued productivity. Internet delay or outage due to high contention or slow speeds generally results in downtime, loss of business, added costs, and lots of stress and scrambling until the outage is resolved.

The impact of a data centre internet infrastructure can be enormous. The infrastructure needs to consider bandwidth speeds, users over the internet connection, and network security. By utilising dark fibre infrastructure, the data centre lends itself to the earlier noted benefits of a dark fibre connection – mainly the speeds, the uncongested network and the ability to fully manage and upgrade the capacity of the network when it is needed.

The marriage of data centres and dark fibre infrastructure aligns perfectly. The dark fibre network provides everything the data centre needs; functionality, speed, reliability, low contention, security, and the ability to manage a network when needed.

This symbiotic relationship offers a superior infrastructure that results in more reliable data centres that will provide consistency as we move to a more cloud-based approach for businesses as time and technology advances.

Richard Auld
Richard Auld
Head of Carrier, Data Centre & Solutions Sales at Glide UK

You may also like

Stay In The Know

Get the Data Centre Review Newsletter direct to your inbox.