Society is becoming more dependent on digital infrastructure, which is becoming a critical foundation of the digital economy since most services are delivered online. A solid digital infrastructure is a precondition for establishing connectivity within the digital economy. Within the Netherlands alone, there are hundreds of thousands of kilometers of cables to provide internet connection. Connectivity is facilitated not only by physical cables; the internet is based on a network of internet exchanges, internet providers, hosting and cloud providers, and data centers.
Companies have different requirements for connectivity than consumers. While for consumers, speed is usually the deciding factor, for businesses, connection reliability is more critical because failures and outages can lead to high costs and reputational damage. Read more about the impact of downtime.
Companies are increasingly using digital infrastructure for their services and internal business operations. Quality of internet connections is of utmost importance: a stable connection guarantees continuity. It’s also crucial to have the least possible latency (delay) when sending data. Throughout 2016-2026, it is expected that the average requested bandwidth will continue to increase exponentially by about 40% per year (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, 2018). Use cases such as live video streaming, virtual reality, big data, and the Internet of Things require more bandwidth and place additional demands on connectivity in the future, which increases the demand for security, capacity, continuity, reliability, and low latency.
Downtime of a network or application can have significant consequences for a business. For example, if a company’s website is unreachable, it could easily lose millions of euros, depending on the industry and company size. An internal business application malfunction can also have negative consequences if it prohibits regular work or if data is lost.
Redundant connectivity is vital for stable business operations. If there is a malfunction on the NL-IX or AMS-IX, all connected providers might go offline. If a company wants to be always online, the internet connection must also be redundant. It would be best to choose a data center where you can connect to multiple Internet Exchanges, such as the DE-CIX, NDIX, NL-IX, or the R-IX. If an emergency occurs, the data traffic can be routed over alternative paths.
For example, on May 13, 2015, there was an incident on AMS-IX – during maintenance work, an employee made an error, resulting from which the internal routers and switches became overloaded, and many websites became very slow or inaccessible.
Data centers are an essential part of the digital infrastructure. A data center can be seen as part of the ecosystem of providers of various digital services. Networks cables converge in a data center, where data is then processed and stored, providing accessibility and continuity so that the digital economy can run 24/7.
Data centers are a crucial part of constant internet delivery; they are designed to reduce downtime to zero. As a result, the data center sector has grown into an entire industry of great economic importance. Without data centers, there would be no digital connectivity since they act as a distribution hub for data.
To enjoy optimal uptime, one can connect from a data center to different carriers (or network providers). If multiple carriers are offered in a data center, this is also referred to as a carrier-neutral data center. If a company is dependent on one network provider, there is still a risk of downtime. It is vital to spread risks and choose a data center that offers connections with multiple providers.
The choice of multiple carriers also provides flexibility and cost efficiency. Without the dependency on only one provider, a company can look for the best price/quality ratio. You can also switch between multiple providers to take advantage of more efficient routing offered by a different provider.
Companies also need to have a good download and upload speed – for example, to use internal applications or WebRTC services. A fast and reliable internet connection saves time and money, with business processes running smoothly while employees perform better when business applications are fast and stable.
It is also possible to have a direct fiber-optic connection to the business premises from a data center. Private fiber-optic connection offers many advantages: