The increased demand for cloud computing and rapid expansion of data is leading to growth in the data centre market, which is estimated to be worth over £240 billion by 2027.
But the exponential growth in volume of data does not guarantee automatic success in the data centre business. The market is extremely competitive and it’s become harder for data centres operators to stand out from the crowd.
The need for a more open and agile ecosystem
While a significant portion of storage, compute, and application hosting has moved to the public cloud, not everything has moved. Many organisations have either held back from migrating highly bespoke or legacy workloads out of their private data centres and some have even reversed migrations back from public to private clouds.
But as is the way with any kind of legacy network asset, the challenge is ensuring accessibility of the incumbent infrastructure in a way that doesn’t hinder growth or agility.
Traditionally, data centres were standalone facilities, with access constrained to the private corporate network. But in a world where ecosystems have become cloud-centric, the focus is shifting these data centre ecosystems from closed and limited to open and agile.
At the same time, with enterprises increasingly adopting a multi-cloud strategy, there is pressure on data centre operators to provide access to a wider pool of cloud providers than ever before.
The role of data centre interconnection
Data centre interconnection, sometimes just referred to as DCI, is the mechanism for connecting one cloud or data centre to another, and is helping to facilitate the transfer of large volumes of data worldwide.
Data centre operators that don’t have the right infrastructure pieces in place will struggle to respond to the rising demand for bandwidth and access to the cloud.
Businesses locked into a private-only, or single data centre, environment will struggle to grow in markets where they don’t have a point of presence or the right partnerships.
It used to be the case that it was too complex, time consuming and expensive to shift data between data centres.
In the past, the focus has been on increasing capabilities within the data centre and from the data centre to the business. But today, multiple data centres and multiple public clouds now need to talk to each other, so businesses need to deploy data centre interconnection that is flexible and agile.
Availability of bandwidth, latency and security are some of the key network challenges facing data centre operators as they look to interconnect enterprise customers to clouds, other data centres and the wider digital ecosystem.
The move to NaaS
The emergence of technologies such as Software Defined Networking (SDN) and the move to a Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) model mean it is no longer as costly or complex to interconnect data centres and manage network connectivity.
The NaaS model removes the limits on traditional data centre interconnection by giving data centre customers – be it enterprises, content providers, network operators or SaaS providers – the ability to control and manage their network connections in real-time through a self-service portal.
Furthermore, the simplified user experience offers real-time visibility into network performance across the entire data centre ecosystem. This means businesses can continually adapt and optimise network connectivity with granular and real-time control over bandwidth to meet changing needs of their business.
With the move to NaaS comes a more efficient and cost effective way for data centre customers to move large volumes of data between their data centres and the cloud.
With IT costs rising, data centre operators also need to help enterprise customers keep control of their cloud costs – particularly when it comes to egress charges (the fee that most cloud providers charge customers for retrieving data from the cloud).
NaaS enables enterprise customers to directly connect to cloud providers worldwide. These private connections not only bypass the public internet and deliver a more reliable and consistent networking experience, but also significantly reduce egress charges.
NaaS is a really compelling proposition for data centre customers that have temporary requirements for transferring large volumes of data to the cloud as they can use a NaaS platform to create short-term private connections between their data centre and cloud provider. Likewise, the NaaS model is well suited for things like network redundancy, enabling customers to avoid paying for and maintaining redundant connections.
Some NaaS platforms also provide multi-cloud networking solutions that enable businesses to interconnect between different cloud providers and cloud regions, helping business accelerate their multi-cloud strategy.
Ultimately, NaaS ensures data centre customers are no longer restricted to a single data centre environment but are instead tapping into a flexible, fluid and intelligent networking model that grows with their future needs.