Global Strategies: Communications and Network Design Considerations

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This is the third article in a series on Creating Data Center Strategies with Global Scale.

In order to have a viable global network it is critical to closely examine the various communications providers offering in various locations. The ability to have a fully meshed network that can fail-over traffic in the event of network service outages or localized catastrophic failure is crucial. Carrier diversity via multiple providers in both the local loops, as well major network nodes bear careful scrutiny. In the event of a local failure the distance to the next closest data center in the event of a network failure should be factored in determining multiple cross coverage geographic locations.

The distance from the client to the data center impacts the performance of the system due to data communication systems latency (the time it takes for data packets to travel though the network). Therefore, while a good global network design should try to maximize the geographic coverage for every site, practical limits come into play in order to achieve a good response and data throughput to the end user, whether to a desktop, laptop or mobile device. This needs to be determined by your IT systems department and then factored into the trade-offs for location availability and costs.

The ability to incorporate replication of critical data (either real-time synchronous or delayed asynchronous) between sites may mean the difference between nearly seamless “business continuity” or the need for “disaster recovery”, in the event of the loss of a facility. The lead time and availability of high bandwidth fiber optic services may be limited in certain regions and lead times may be far greater than typically experienced domestically. Be aware that even when dealing with major global telecom providers they are also subject to local government authorities and bureaucratic delays, as well local “last mile” issues, especially in newly developed or remote sites.

While there may be some economic advantages offered by some developing areas, the need and cost for logistical support in more underdeveloped or remote areas, should not be underestimated. The availability of high bandwidth fiber optic services may be limited and lead times may be far far greater than typically experienced domestically.

The next installment will be on “Ten considerations in building a global data center strategy.” You can download a complete PDF of Creating Data Center Strategies with Global Scale by clicking here. This series is brought to you courtesy of Digital Realty.

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