Connectivity is Key
Connectivity is the term used to refer to the ensemble of interfaces and connections that connect a data center to external networks. These can include the link to a company’s own network, a cloud or the World Wide Web. More specifically, the quality of a data center’s connectivity is pivotal in determining whether the services can be provided reliably, securely, without any time lag and at the required bandwidth.
Generally speaking, the more diverse connection options offered by a data center, the better. Some companies, for example, want to integrate the data center into their own Intranet – preferably via an encrypted connection. And in many applications, it is crucial that data packets move straight from one point to another, i.e. practically without a time lag.
If you want to understand why connectivity is truly important, you need to visualize the structure of data networks. Do you envision the Internet as being a network of roads where data packets are moving along like cars? Then you’re only partly right. On a network of roads, each car is equally entitled to seek out the quickest way to get from point A to point B. In the Internet, on the other hand, this kind of equality only rarely exists. There, it’s common practice for network service providers, typically large telecommunications companies with their own networks (“carriers”), to prioritize certain data for a fee so that they can get from A to B a bit faster.
These carriers negotiate any special rules either between themselves or directly with the (business) end customers. In this respect, the Internet is more like a network of roads where the owner of the infrastructure negotiates with the users of that infrastructure to grant certain advantages: Who’s allowed to drive how fast? Who’s allowed to drive on the shoulder in a traffic jam?
Even the connection to the large transatlantic underwater cables that connect the continents are subject to negotiations between the carriers and the operators of these lines. Important providers of cloud services like Google and Amazon lay their own underwater cables or join consortia that grant long-term guarantees for individual bandwidths.
Watch out for carrier neutrality
That clearly illustrates why connectivity is such a pivotal factor when selecting a data center, especially if you have complex requirements. Many companies that are primarily Internet carriers also operate their own data centers. It is not uncommon for them to block out other carriers, which means that their customers only get the carrier’s standardized connectivity. This might not pose any problems for private customers or when hosting smaller company websites.
Yet as soon as a customer has professional requirements, the carrier neutrality standard has prevailed: The data center doesn’t force the customer to use the services of a specific carrier to connect its servers to the outside world.
In its connectivity solutions, Green Datacenter AG combines the advantages of a top-notch data center with those of a high-tech fiber-optic carrier. It goes without saying that Green’s data centers are carrier neutral. The Green Datacenter in Zurich West is connected via six independent access points with up to 12 ducts. More than 30 carriers are present on site. Upon request, Green’s network specialists can develop other custom options that considerably enhance the connectivity universe:
- Green’s five data centers are connected to one another by the company’s own redundant fiber-optic ring. This is hugely advantageous for business continuity solutions that extend across multiple data centers.
- Internet access points with up to 10 Gbit/s and capable of meeting any requirements are available at different levels of quality for all parts of the offer – data center services, colocation and cages.
- An optional DDoS Guard also safeguards service availability in the event of a Distributed Denial of Service attack and can cleanse data volumes of up to 3.5 Tbit during an attack.
- Direct site-to-site connections are possible for company networks, both between individual company sites as well as to other Green data centers and between the data centers themselves. With encryption on request.
- Green currently has a dedicated, one-of-a-kind backbone link to China with a latency time of under 200 milliseconds (by comparison, the Internet’s “normal” latency time for this connection can be up to 400 milliseconds).
- Customers in the data center can also establish direct connections of between 10 Mbit/s and 10 Gbit/s to providers such as AWS, Google and Azure in order to shift data securely and swiftly into the cloud.
Dieter Brack has been Head of Presales at Green Datacenter AG since 2012. He has a 25-year career in the ICT industry, where he has worked as a technical consultant and solution designer for various global and national companies.