Tapping Public Clouds with Private Interconnects

Friday Aug 25th 2017 by Arthur Cole
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To obtain the bandwidth and performance that they need for cloud computing, more enterprises are using private interconnects instead of the Internet.

Connectivity to the cloud and beyond has emerged as a major concern for the enterprise now that few organizations are relying solely upon their own data centers to support their IT environments.

Technologies like SD-WAN are making it easier to establish highly dynamic network architectures over the wide area, but many companies are looking for change on a more fundamental level. They are shedding public networks like the Internet in favor of private, dedicated interconnects to third-party resources. In fact, some industry watchers predict that private networks will outpace the public Internet in terms of bandwidth within a few short years.

Among them is data center operator Equinix, which recently released a report claiming that private interconnects will hold six times the data volume as the public Internet by 2020. Using data gathered in its Global Interconnection Index, the company says that digital transformation is driving demand for new ways to connect with partners, supply chains and customers. In the United States alone, interconnect bandwidth is expected to grow by 40 percent per year, hitting 1,800 terabits of consumed bandwidth per second by the end of the decade.

This outlook is backed by research from Markets and Markets that estimates the global Data Center Interconnect (DCI) market will reach $6.41 billion by 2023, representing a compound annual growth rate of 10.04 percent. Again, exploding data consumption and the continued migration of workloads to cloud-based resources is forcing the enterprise to build its own direct links to third-party infrastructure at a time when increased public Internet consumption is leading to slower, less-reliable connectivity.

We should look at the interconnect as the elevator of the cloud, says Information Age’s Nick Ismail. Without the elevator, skyscrapers would not exist. And without a fast, dependable interconnect, the cloud will not continue as a viable infrastructure model going forward. This is why WAN optimization has emerged as a top priority for the enterprise. Not only does a functioning cloud need bandwidth and throughput, but many of today’s applications also require little or no jitter, virtually zero packet loss and end-to-end encryption. It’s no surprise, then, that we are seeing rising deployments of SD-WAN over private interconnects at the expense of virtual private networks over MPLS links.

It won’t be long, however, before even today’s most advanced connectivity solutions appear quaint, argues Futurism’s Dom Galeon. Quantum networking is only about a decade away. It will give virtually all networks, including the Internet, a dramatic boost in speed, flexibility and overall performance. China recently launched the first quantum satellite and has reported the successful transmission of data using “entangled particles” that can provide near-instant communication over vast distances. Leading researchers like Jian-Wei Pan of China’s University of Science and Technology, estimate that a global quantum network could exist as early as 2030.

Networking has always been the circulatory system of the enterprise, and as such is in constant need of TLC whether in the capillaries on the motherboard or the aorta on the DCI. Like any organism, each time the data environment evolves to a higher state, it requires a more complex method of delivering nutrients to its constituent parts.

With the enterprise shelving public networks in favor of private links, it is assuming greater control over its health and well-being – and all the while laying the groundwork for its next evolutionary leap forward.

Arthur Cole is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years’ experience covering enterprise IT, telecommunications and other high-tech industries.

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