Why Should I Choose a Data Center? (Part 3 of 5)

By Randy GoodsonBlog

Internet Connectivity

Let’s face it…you’re going to have to start using the “Cloud” sometime.  With all the computer world adding more and more critical services in a cloud computing environment, Internet connectivity needs to be reliable.  In today’s world, Internet connectivity is everything to a business.  It has gone from being something nice to have to a mission critical service that most companies can’t exist without.  And, with the newest trend leaning toward moving stuff to the “Cloud,” when it comes to your Internet connection, the bigger, the better and the more, the better.  I won’t be breaking down this week’s post into the three locations as I have in the past few weeks, because the same issues can happen at all three locations.

Let’s talk about bandwidth first. As I said earlier, the bigger, the better. The more bandwidth, the faster your applications will be.  Even with bandwidth coming down in price over the last several years, it is still expensive to get a significant sized Internet pipe.  It really doesn’t matter where you are located; although, the more rural locations tend to be a bit behind the major metropolitan areas when it comes to having the technology in place to provide major bandwidth.  If you’re looking for very high-speed Internet connectivity, you will need to have network equipment that will support the speeds.  Whatever piece of equipment you place on the Internet connection (router, firewall, traffic shaper, etc.), it will need to have an interface on it that will support your desired speeds.  Most of these devices are incrementally more expensive as you increase the size of your Internet pipe.  Not to mention the fact that each of them comes with their own idiosyncrasies when it comes to administering them.

So, what about Internet connection redundancy?  I know that Internet connections NEVER go down and that service is ALWAYS available, so we don’t have to worry about an outage.  However, what if I want to have more than one connection just in case?  Even in a rural setting, there is a good chance that there will be the possibility of multiple Internet Service Providers.  And, you can use this to your advantage. Using multiple providers can increase your uptime; and, if done correctly it can increase your bandwidth.  But, if you want to do this, once again, you are looking at some fairly advanced (and expensive) equipment.  Not only will the equipment be expensive, but the configuration, administration and maintenance of said equipment will not be cheap.  A company will need to have an intimate knowledge of advanced routing protocols, such as BGP in order to combine multiple Internet connections and route your traffic appropriately. And, all the redundancy in the world doesn’t mean squat if all of your Internet connections come into your facility in the same conduit. One small miscalculation from Johnny Backhoe can take out your entire business in one fell swoop.  So, you will need to make sure that your Internet connections come into your facility from different direction and different locations.  If this does not already exist, the build-out can be quite costly.

What if, for some reason, you want a specific carrier to supply Internet connectivity? In some cases, the desired provider may not be available in your area. That leaves three choices, forget about the particular provider, transport your connection to a location where the provider exists or convince the desired carrier that it would be in their best interest to build-out the infrastructure that you need.  In any case, there will be inconvenience; either in cost or in changing providers.

Of course, my suggestion would be to move your stuff to a data center and let them handle all of this.  Any data center worth a hoot is going to have redundant Internet connections from multiple providers coming from multiple directions.  If Johnny Backhoe makes a mistake, there will still be Internet connectivity because of the separate connections.  They will also have the necessary equipment already installed and configured in order to provide the required bandwidth and redundancy.  There will not need to be any additional cost incurred on your part in order to meet your requirements.  Maintenance won’t be an issue either, as the data center will have a Network Engineer on staff that will be able to ensure that the connections are properly cared for.  And, there is a very good chance that the data center will already have any Internet Service Provider that you would like to use.  If they don’t it’s easy to negotiate that into the contract and let them incur the cost of getting it in place.  Once again, the CFO is going to be very happy with you.  In fact, the CFO may just give you a raise with all the money you’re saving the company. 😉

Join us next week when we discuss 24×7 staffing and your network needs.