Agile DCI: The Key to the Data Center Operator (DCO) Market
As enterprises are seeing the benefits of the cloud, they are just beginning to move their IT resources to both multi-tenant and public clouds. As this trend accelerates, Data Center Interconnect (DCI) services will grow exponentially. To meet the requirements of that growth, Data Center Operators (DCO)s will need to deliver a DCI service with maximum flexibility to transfer data to cloud data centers, rapidly provision DCI services in days, and provide connectivity on demand.
Mitch Simcoe is Director of Global Consulting at Ciena. He primes the consulting practice for DC Interconnect services and multi-tenant datacenter operators.
If you’re working in Data Center Interconnect (DCI) services, then opportunity is about to come knocking. It’s all thanks to the growth currently experienced by DC Operators (DCOs), both in size and scope.
When you look at the data centers around the world, it’s DCOs like Equinix and Telecity that represent the largest group (>50%). That’s a significant share of the market, one that’s expected to continue expanding as Communications Service Providers (CSPs) sell off their data center assets to the DCOs.
Source: Ovum Global Data Center Analyzer 2Q-16
DCOs, also known as Carrier Neutral Providers (CNPs), are in the business of selling core space, power, and cross-connects to enterprises that wish to deploy IT resources outside of their private data centers. From a DCI point of view, the challenge for CNPs is the time it takes the Managed Service Providers (MSP) to provide connectivity, which is often months. For each additional month an MSP takes to deploy DCI services, the CNPs can lose $100Ks in revenue.
Today’s Challenges for Regional DCI
DCOs face several challenges when offering DCI services across metro areas, with typical networks operating at 1 Gbps or less and often based on IP/MPLS.
For example, if an enterprise in DC 1 wanted to backup 3 Tbs of content (the typical daily backup for a large enterprise) to a regional DC in a second metro, it would take over eight hours at <1 Gbps speeds. That kind of timeframe poses problems, as the enterprise’s data continues to change even during the backup. By the time the daily backup finished, the customer’s data would already be outdated.
So how can we address the limitations of today’s IP-based DCI networks?
By using a Data Center Connect Fabric Service, we can optimize our networks to meet DCI’s high performance application demands. A Data Center Connect Fabric Service:
- Provides any-to-any connectivity between data centers on the fabric, whether within the same metro or across metros;
- Offers direct connectivity to multiple public cloud services, such as Google, Microsoft, or Amazon;
- Rapidly turns-up service within days;
- Offers on-demand bandwidth from 1, 10, 40, and 100Gbps; and
- Uses low latency and in-flight encryption to meet performance and security concerns.
By using a Data Center Connect Fabric Service, DCOs experience revenue acceleration. Their customers’ connectivity needs can be addressed in days, a timeframe that aligns with the DCO’s internal mandate for turning up new data center core space, power, and cross-connect capabilities.
Additionally, on-demand bandwidth can now enable new, agile data center services that only need periodic DCI capabilities, such as business continuity and disaster recovery, or the Public Cloud data migration example previously cited.
Lead Applications for Data Center Connect Fabric
DCOs also want their customers to have access to connectivity via a self-serve portal where burstable DCI services can be activated on demand to address short-term applications such as data backup, disaster recovery, or data migration. These DCI applications demand the high-bandwidth, low-latency performance characteristics of the Data Center Connect Fabric:
- Offsite data backup – Includes high bandwidth for recurring off-hour backups and active-active data storage replication traffic.
- Disaster recovery – After a disaster has occurred, an enterprise must transfer all of its content from its backup location to its production environment. Similar to data migration, this content can be in the tens of Tbs and requires a high-bandwidth and high-performance DCI network to restore customer data.
- Data migration – As enterprises shift more of their IT resources to cloud data centers, they need to migrate their full dataset to initiate their presence. For a large enterprise, this can be in the tens of Tbs; using traditional <1 Gbps links to upload this much content to the cloud would require weeks. By leveraging an on-demand 10 Gbps (or more) connection via the Data Center Connect Fabric, could reduce this time to under an hour.
We’re at the very beginning of the adoption curve for enterprises to move their IT resources to both multi-tenant and public clouds. As this trend accelerates, DCI connectivity from enterprise data centers and between cloud data centers will grow accordingly. Therefore, to meet these requirements, DCOs need to deliver a DCI service with the maximum flexibility needed to transfer data to cloud data centers, the capability to rapidly provision DCI services in days, and the ability to provide connectivity on demand.