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When Selecting a Data Center Provider, Keep an Eye on the Edge

As your data becomes more distributed, how do you select a data center partner who can keep up with data delivery demands?

As your business and user base become more distributed, there's a lot more data to keep an eye on. You need to deploy technologies that can keep pace with today’s digital demands. This means working with the right kind of data center partners, service providers who can keep up with your business.

Today, organizations across all verticals and sizes are looking for better ways to control and distribute their data. Many have turned to cloud. Many others are now looking at deeper cloud services to differentiate.

A lot of companies are working hard to create better architectures around data distribution and content delivery networks. They are actively working to optimize data delivery.

In October 2000, IDC estimated that the US content distribution market will increase from $10 million in 1999 to nearly $1 billion in 2004. A recent MarketsandMarkets report showed that the global CDN market size is expected to grow from $4.95 Billion in 2015 to $15.73 Billion in 2020. That's $10 Million in 1999, and $15 Billion by 2020.

This rate of growth indicates that many SMBs and enterprises are trying to control data and how it’s being delivered. A good data center partner can help your business grow; an even better partner can help your business evolve. This is why many organizations are looking for data center and cloud partners who can take their data to the edge, and beyond.

Read more: How Edge Data Center Providers are Changing the Internet's Geography

Keeping an Eye on Data at the Edge

In working with a data center provider, it’s important to create good SLAs, make sure they can support your business and grow with the overall market trends. It’s also important -- especially if you’re a growing business with numerous locations and distributed users -- to ensure that your partner can properly manage all of your data.

With that in mind, here are a few things to look out for when working with a data center partner while focusing on keeping your data agile and at the edge:

  • Ethernet services, data center interconnects, and cloud providers. Your data center isn’t a closed building. In fact, a good data center partner provides interconnects, good Ethernet services, and a way to actually integrate with other cloud providers. That said, some cloud and data center providers already offer some type of CDN services: Amazon, Azure, Internap, Level 3, Rackspace, and several others. Furthermore, your telco can help you with CDN as well. BT Group, AT&T, NTT, Telefonica, Telus, and Verizon all offer ways to create CDN capabilities. You can also create your own CDN platform by leveraging systems like OnApp, Aryaka, CloudFlare, and others. However, you need to work with a data center provider to ensure your data can be distributed economically and cached effectively. Just being able to can send data across into another data center isn't enough. Work with your data center provider to ensure that CDNs are (or at least can be) built into the contract.
  • Looking into edge and CDN capabilities. As mentioned earlier, there are already data center providers who can offer very powerful CDN options. Amazon CloudFront, for example, has servers located in Europe (United Kingdom, Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain), Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and India), Australia, South America, as well as in several major cities in the US. The service operates from 55 edge locations on five continents. Similarly, Microsoft Azure CDN has 38 points of presence worldwide. From there, you can create your own management capabilities. When working with a CDN provider or partner – make sure you can control the data that’s flowing in and out. In some cases, native CDN management might work. If that’s not enough, look for technologies which offer easy management integration via methods like REST APIs, for example. Similarly, you’ll also find powerful management options with open source code available in C#/.NET, Python, PHP, Java, Ruby, and others.
  • Creating optimization around heavy data distribution. If your data is heavily distributed, don’t work with a data center partner that has only one or two locations or a fledgling CDN offering. It’s critical for you to deliver the data as efficiently as possible while still keeping costs down. Remember, CDNs are designed to help businesses operate better and to improve overall user experiences. Furthermore, it all heavily depends on the type of content you’re trying to deliver. For example, platforms like Yottaa are designed for web and mobile data services optimization. Others, like Aryaka specifically aim to create powerful WAN optimization solutions aimed at data delivery and distribution. The point here is that technologies around data delivery and CDN offerings has grown. Depending on the level of distribution, the size of your organization, and your overall requirements – selecting the right data center provider will always revolve around three specific points: your users, your business, and your data. If you have a global organization, work with a data center provider ready to take on massive data distribution requirements. However, if you’re a smaller or mid-market organization working in specific regions, work with a data center provider that can deliver data to your markets.

Your data center(s) house your critical applications, user environments, and business tools. Today’s IT ecosystem has become the lifeblood of business. Moving forward, there will be more growth around data, the requirement to deliver this data economically and efficiently, and more requirements around QoS/QoE technologies. Good data center partners don’t just offer solid internal services and IT services. They look for ways they can bridge your infrastructure with other cloud services. If your partner is too stringent and closed off from other cloud offerings and partners, you might need to look for an alternative, fast. Those data center providers which embrace their place as data distribution points will be the ones who help win in this very competitive digital market.

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