Whether the requirement is Internet connectivity for cloud based applications or links to a private WAN, most organisations now recognise the importance of a carrier neutral data centre. However, while most companies typically only review their WAN provider every three to five years, a relationship with a data centre is likely to last even longer. So having more choice of providers at the data centre is important, as otherwise the choice of new provider for the WAN will be potentially limited.
While it will be possible for the new carrier to connect to an existing service within the data centre, the process will not be straightforward and you are more likely to incur additional costs – costs that may undermine the business case associated with the carrier decision. Ensuring the data centre has a broad range of Tier 1 and Tier 2 providers on board is key to avoiding either additional costs or constraining carrier options further down the line.
Indeed, during the typical life of a data centre relationship an organisation’s connectivity requirements will evolve in line with business changes – from your company looking to add cloud services to the managed services provider expanding into new markets. Hoping that the data centre will add carrier relationships during this time may be a little risky – especially when it comes to those critical Tier 1 relationships that add resilience.
The truth is that once a data centre is in place, adding new physical connections is far from easy: it incurs all the cost, complexity and legal ramifications of digging up roads to lay fibre. So, if a data centre today only offers two physical connections into the building, the likelihood is that two is all it will ever offer. And that may be fine; it will still enable a number of Tier 2 carriers to offer a variety of services across the infrastructure – but it does limit a company’s options in the longer term.
Every data centre offers multiple Tier 2 carrier options. Few, however, are able to offer multiple Tier 1 carriers. As a result, this means that the connectivity is still reliant upon a single fibre provider – typically BT. Without diverse fibre connections, the back-up options are limited: any damage to the underlying cable network – for example, damage during road works - will take out every Tier 2 connection that is simply using the same last mile from BT. In order to achieve full resilience, look for a data centre with multiple Tier 1 carrier options and diverse entry points into the building as well as Tier 2 carrier services.
From resiliency to cost, choice to quality of service, accurately ascertaining the true quality of the carrier relationships on offer from a data centre today should be an essential component of your data centre decision making process.
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