Data centers ensure connectivity in our digital society

The role of connectivity in our society

These days we can’t imagine to be without internet. Thanks to digitization, society is using many digital services such as business applications, financial transactions, sharing data, purchasing via webshops and many other services. Both individuals and companies use a wide range of online applications that require digital connectivity on a daily basis. By connectivity we mean all connections that are necessary to realize the transfer of data.

Society is becoming more dependent on the digital infrastructure because more and more services are being delivered digitally. This makes the digital infrastructure an important foundation of the digital economy. A solid digital infrastructure is therefore a precondition for establishing connectivity within the digital economy. Within the Netherlands alone, there are hundreds of thousands of kilometers of cables to facilitate connectivity to the internet. Connectivity is not only facilitated by physical cables; the internet is based on a network of internet exchanges, internet providers, hosting and cloud providers and data centers.

The business importance of connectivity

Connectivity has become a basic need, because we want and need to be online at all times. Companies have different requirements for connectivity than consumers. The speed of connections is especially important for consumers. For businesses, the reliability of connectivity is very important, because failures and outages can lead to high costs and reputational damage. Read more about the impact of downtime.

Companies are increasingly using the digital infrastructure for their services and internal business operations. They attach more value to the quality of internet connections: a stable connection in order to guarantee continuity. It’s also a crucial factor to least possible latency(delay) when sending data. Over the period of 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). More real life applications are being developed, such as livef video streaming, virtual reality, big data and Internet of Things. This not only requires more bandwidth, but will also place additional demands on connectivity in the future. This will increase the demand for security, capacity, continuity, reliability and low latency.

The importance of continuity

Connectivity is an important aspect when it comes to business continuity. Downtime of a network or application can have major consequences for business. For example, if a company’s website is unreachable, it could easily lose millions of euros, depending on the industry and company size. A malfunction of an internal business application can also have major consequences if the work cannot be carried out or if the data is lost.

Redundant connectivity is therefore of great importance for stable business operations. If there is a malfunction on the NL-IX or AMS-IX, all providers that are connected to it will go offline. If a company always wants to be online, the internet connection must also be redundantly. You should then choose a data center where you can connect to multiple Internet Exchanges, such as the DE-CIX, NDIX, NL-IX and 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. This had major consequences for companies that were connected to the AMS-IX. During maintenance work, an error was made by an employee, as a result of which the internal routers and switches became overloaded and certain websites were not or badly accessible.

Data centers and connectivity

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 transmit data via cables that converge in a data center. The data is processed and stored within data centers. They provide continuity so that the digital economy can continue to run 24/7. Data centers are a crucial part of a constant internet delivery; they are designed to assure their customers that the risk of downtime is basically reduced 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. Data centers are therefore essential for the digital economy in this supply chain, because they act as a distribution hub for data.

Network connections from a data center

Redundancy is an important factor when considering whether company servers are housed in a data center or in their own business premises. It is important to see how many network providers, Internet Exchanges, Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and cloud providers are present in the data center.

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 therefore important to spread risks and choose a data center that offers connections with multiple providers. Because there are possibilities to connect with multiple providers, more security is created.

The choice of multiple carriers also provides flexibility and cost efficiency. One is not dependent on one provider and one can look for the best price / quality ratio. You can also switch between multiple providers in order to take advantage of more efficient routing routes offered by competing providers at any time.

It is also important for companies to have a good download and upload speed. For example, to be able to use internal applications or VoIP services. A reliable and fast internet connection offers advantages to companies because it can save costs and time. Employees will perform better when business applications are fast and stable. A fast connection allows internal and external business processes to run smoothly, ensuring innovation, profitability and most important, satisfied customers.

It is also possible to have a direct fiber optic connection to the business premises from a data center. Such a private fiber optic connection offers many advantages:

  • there is a direct connection to the data center;
  • data does not flow via the public network, but via a private line;
  • agreements about the provision of services in the event of a malfunction are recorded in an SLA;
  • possibility to reserve more capacity;
  • future-proof.

With a business fiber optic connection, a company is assured of an optimal connection to the internet and your valuable data is safe from the outside world. In addition, fiber is scalable, so companies are prepared for future developments that will require more bandwidth and further growth of their data traffic.