By Nick Tanzi, President and CEO – GPX Global Systems
In the last few years, we have witnessed transitioning in the corporate enterprise sector from in-house data hosting to outsourcing. The outsourcing of data itself has evolved from pure-play colocation to cloud-based services (pay-as-you-go model) to hybrid model. While it took a while for some of the industries to warm up to the idea of cloud based services, the benefits have been far too compelling to overlook. Different cloud models such as multi cloud and hybrid cloud are now witnessing exponential growth. This growth has also brought about a transformation in the way data centers are perceived and utilized by the enterprises. In this regard, ‘Enterprise Edge Node’ has proven to be the emerging and the most valuable option available for enterprises in their digital transformation journey.
Enterprise Edge Node
For any third-party data center, the value it offers is dependent upon the number of networks and cloud service providers housed in the data center. The enterprises benefit immensely from colocating in a carrier-neutral and cloud-neutral data center offering diverse connectivity options and a highly-robust and highly-connected ‘Interconnection Ecosystem’.
To leverage interconnection services with a multitude of network partners to choose from, enterprises usually place their Network Edge Nodes at such a third-party ‘Edge Data Center’. This allows them to make use of the numerous connectivity options available via a direct Cross Connect owned and operated by the Edge Data Center operator.
The Enterprise Edge Node creates the bedrock of the connectivity platform that corporate enterprises use to develop safe, reliable and highly scalable private, public and hybrid cloud architectures. Typically, Enterprise Edge Nodes placed in a carrier and cloud neutral Edge Data Center comprise of networking equipment belonging to the enterprise customer. The enterprise gets round-the-clock access to their infrastructure colocated in the Edge Data Center, enjoying the access to a multitude of network and cloud providers available inside the same facility.
Benefits of Enterprise Edge Node at Edge Data Centers
Enterprise Edge Node within an Edge Data Center is highly beneficial for the corporates as they get various benefits that typical data centers are not able to offer them:
❖ Dedicated private connection to cloud: Since the Enterprise Edge Node are colocated in Edge Data Centers, a number of major Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) provide the option of cloud connectivity via a dedicated private connection that doesn’t use the public internet. Some of the leading CSPs that offer this capability are – AWS Direct Connect, Microsoft ExpressRoute, Google Dedicated Interconnection, Oracle Fast Connect, IBM Cloud Direct Link, Salesforce Express Connect, Alibaba Express Connect.
❖ Open Cloud Exchange: Since the Edge Data Center infrastructure enables businesses to connect to multiple CSPs, it is making the Cloud Exchange architecture popular by the day. In an ‘Open Cloud Exchange’ scenario, companies can connect to different CSPs using an easy single one port route. The data center operator builds the Cloud Exchange in house and offers it as a service to its clients (e.g. CoreSite Open Cloud Exchange, GPX Open Cloud Exchange, Equinix Cloud Exchange etc).
❖ Interconnected Ecosystem: Edge Data Centers offers the ability to connect one or more carriers and implement a highly reliable, scalable, and secure network interconnecting an enterprises on-prem infrastructure to their infrastructure colocated in the Enterprises Edge Data Center.
The ongoing pandemic situation has made businesses pay a greater attention to a reliable and enduring network connectivity. As we have seen in the last few months, business operations have primarily shifted online in the wake of the global shutdown. Processes like remote working, virtual education, online meetings etc., have become pivotal to daily operations.
Corporate sector has accepted the inevitability of the ‘New Normal.’ There is no likelihood of things returning to the pre-pandemic ways. Hence, the focus now is on creating infrastructure to support remote workforce. One of the core components of the new strategy is to ensure that the employees are able to remotely access the organizational data securely and reliably. Internet outages or security concerns can hamper the operations significantly. Hence, the business enterprises are now expediting cloud adoption via a multi cloud and hybrid cloud strategy.
RBC Capital released a report in April 2020 wherein 70% of the respondents had stated that they were either in the process of or planning to connect to cloud service providers. More than 60% of them are already using or planning to use network-as-a-service platforms within the next one year.
The other notable trend is the decline of on-premise infrastructure usage as the companies move to private cloud, public cloud or SaaS. Such usage now stands at 36% whereas it was reported to be 42% in the previous year. In the next five years, this segment is expected to drop below 30% of the market and that is a great news for the third-party colocation data center operators.
The IT infrastructure needs and trends have changed and the pandemic has ensured that the ‘New Normal’ is not reversible. This is driving enterprises towards cloud deployment and focus on factors such as easy and faster transition, scalability, reliability and security of the cloud infrastructure. This push is leading to a faster growth of the cloud than anticipated previously. The Enterprise Edge Nodes colocated in Edge Data Centers are becoming increasingly popular. Features such as access to multiple CSPs by using Open Cloud Exchange and also the multi-network connectivity through Telcos, ISPs, Internet Exchanges (IXPs), Content Deliver Networks (CDNs), Software Defined Networking (SDNs), and content providers will be the leading components of the new digital transformation.
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