By Claire Sangster, Head of WA Sales
The way organisations share data from everywhere to everything and everyone is a critical component in the virtuous, interconnected business circle of data, applications, systems, clouds and people. Your connectivity architecture is the fabric that binds all these elements of hybridised IT infrastructure and strategy together.
Over the last couple of years digital transformation has accelerated dramatically as businesses struggled to meet a new set of risks and opportunities exposed by a global pandemic. The trend towards flexible, agile deployment of new and changed IT architecture has been the catalyst for huge investment in cloud migration and Hybrid IT (where physical and virtual infrastructure work in harmony).
Change begets change
Resources companies have ramped up remote operations to bank safety and productivity returns. Financial services companies worked hard on new ways to engage with customers who could no longer access services physically and retailers had to bolster their web sales capability to keep the tills ticking over and maintain brand awareness when an online presence is all they had.
Every industry has been impacted by this accelerated dependence on technology to support future requirements of teams, customers and supply chains. As the volumes of data being captured, stored and analysed explodes, the value of flexible, scalable virtual infrastructure managed as a service compounds.
Horses for courses
If we look at the most pressing concerns of business from a connectivity point-of-view in a post-pandemic recovery phase, it is being able to introduce the right type of service for the specific task at hand. Taking full advantage of precious data requires it to be shared securely, efficiently and at the lowest possible cost.
New technologies such as AI, remote operation centres, automation plus virtual and augmented reality are viable across vast distances with the help of new connectivity options such as sub-sea and terrestrial fibre networks, 5G and satellite services.
Many of today’s technologies are dependent on ultra-low latency connectivity services from the edge of networks, where customers and teams depend on real time interactions, back to the core where processing and data storage happens.
Similarly, collected data is often used in multiple locations by multiple applications. This leads to a complex array of connectivity use cases that can vary from one-off transfers of data from one cloud to another or to real-time management of autonomous assets exchanging huge volumes of telemetric data the production edge and remote operations centres.
Physical v. virtual
Long haul connectivity to remote sites or redundancy planning where primary and secondary infrastructure is at the ready are still going to be largely dependent on services based around physical fibre-in-the-ground assets. With the right level of fully redundant geodiversity, such services are reliable, cost-effective and fit-for-purpose.
However, where dynamic data transfers are required to connect clouds to locations and people, virtual services with the flexibility to be self-provisioned at the performance and duration required, are increasingly common because they are cost efficient, agile and convenient.
Every interconnection needs to be assessed on its merit to meet defined cost, performance, agility and convenience requirements. There needs to be the same attention to strategy and architecture as there is for the infrastructure you use.
In the same way that cloud has transformed how infrastructure is deployed in many circumstances, so too interconnection now comes in many forms with clear trends towards PAYG and self-service with minimal capital expenditure and no long-term commitments.
The last two years has changed everything for businesses and served to highlight that we can never be sure just what is lurking around the next corner. And, while no-one can be sure of exact future requirements, we can leverage strategy and services that give you the best chance of being ready for anything.
Proactively managed for availability
Interruption to connectivity services and the subsequent unavailability of data equates to missed revenue, lost productivity and/or reputational damage. You cannot let interconnection strategy be the weakest link in your overall resilience and risk management planning.
The good news is that carriers and managed network services providers are investing heavily in new infrastructure in order to meet the flexibility, resilience and security challenges inherent in complex interconnection architectures. What has changed is where they choose to deploy their own infrastructure hubs and hand-off services to partners and customers.
As cloud deployment accelerates and the criticality of data escalates, regulatory controls around data security and privacy tighten. Your connectivity services become an essential component in mitigating the risk of downtime. This is why more vendors and service providers are seeing the value of colocating within secure, sovereign ecosystems.
A recent report by Structure Research predicted that by 2025, hyperscale cloud and colocation will represent 49% of the market, compared to 28% for on-premises infrastructure. The same report found that in 2021 61% of infrastructure was on premise.
Data centres have become the termination point for all the subsea cables, terrestrial networks and new 5G, satellite and dark fibre services that are delivering the interconnection required to drive future transformation.
These carriers and clouds also serve as a magnet to the customers, suppliers and specialist IT services you need to connect with to build the unique hybrid environment and architecture that meets your specific business objectives.
As the trend towards cloud and colocated sovereign ecosystems accelerates, the evidence continues to stack up that your digital transformation is best managed from where you have immediate proximity to all the services driving it.
Centralising connectivity architecture around colocated sovereign ecosystems introduces performance improvement as well as taking advantage of physical security and infrastructure resilience delivered at scale, as a service.
Reach out to NEXTDC if you want to better understand how to ensure your interconnection strategy keeps up with your Hybrid IT and infrastructure strategy.