The strength of networks depends on data center interconnect

CIOs and CTOs should be spending the money to upgrade their networks.

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The demand for effective networks has skyrocketed in recent years, with companies all around the world trying to scale their data networks to accommodate the increasing number of users and devices that rely on them.

The result has been a scramble to modify often outdated technology, creating stop-gap measures that resolve problems in the short-term but are likely to create issues down the road.

Many CIOs and CTOs miss the opportunity to truly upgrade their networks by taking shortcuts, and while there may be some initial savings, the long term costs could be astronomical.

The not-so-secret tool of forward-thinking CIOs

That’s why a number of companies are beginning to proactively invest in upgraded networks through improving their data center interconnect. Technopedia defines data center interconnect as, “a technique used in enterprise IT infrastructures that have multiple owned or partnered data centers. Typically, data center interconnect is achieved by connecting data centers through a VPN, leased lines or the Internet. Once connected, these data centers can use all or selected IT resources from within the network.”

One of the reasons data center interconnect is starting to be recognized as a critical issue for companies is that it significantly increases bandwidth capacity, meaning companies can deploy data at faster speeds and with greater efficiency. Partnerships between network providers and companies looking to outsource their network capabilities are also driving the change.

Tim Dixon, CEO of InterOptic, a leading data center interconnect provider explains, “The accelerated rate of technology advances has created an unyielding demand for more data to be delivered to more locations. At the center of this new reality is optical data center interconnect, the critical hardware needed to move all these 1s and 0s to their destinations inside the data center and across the Internet.”

The advancement of new hardware and software, combined with field execution of data center interconnect is opening up new possibilities for bypassing data bottlenecks.

Data center interconnect prevents bottlenecks and creates new opportunities

Data center interconnect optimization is critical because it allows companies to expand their data networks without experiencing significant outages or bottlenecks. Companies can’t always anticipate their networking needs in advance. Unexpected growth, or new technologies can often create a strain on outdated hardware. Upgrading to the latest transceivers, fiber optic and other data hardware is the best way to prevent these kinds of delays.

Dixon details the problem, “One of the biggest blind spots we see with large IT network installations is not accounting for the exponential growth and complexity of how their hardware will be utilized. It is the ticking time bomb that only a few are thinking about.”

In order to prevent these blind spots from turning into interruptions to the business, companies need to anticipate growth and upgrade their networks accordingly. The cost of upgrading may be steep, but the cost of a service interruption could be far more expensive.

OEM hardware is failing to keep up

Out-of-the-box hardware configurations aren’t keeping up with the rapid pace of change.

Companies are discovering that  standard equipment from Cisco and Huawei provide the capacity they need, but not the functionality. Most CIOs are hesitant to walk away from OEM’s. But, outside vendors are able to solve data center issues much more quickly by implementing custom white box solutions.

Dixon explains the shortcomings of most OEM’s, “OEMs are not optical experts, nor are they incentivized to offer anything other than forced upgrades at exorbitant prices.” Dixon also shared that a way around these costly upgrades is by seeking, “white-box-friendly components from reliable and cost-efficient sources.”

By looking outside of the traditional vendors, companies can engage interconnect experts capable of improving their networks at a more competitive price point.

Domestic firmware can unlock cost savings

White box solutions often involve overseas hardware. One of the major concerns of any data-driven operation is information security. Most executives are well versed in the numerous ways a company’s information can be phished due to faulty passwords and lapses in software security. But, there are also potential threats that can come from inadequate security measures within hardware.

For example, transceivers manufactured in regions with lower security expectations may have security flaws lurking in their firmware that could result in a breach later on. While hardware from abroad is essential to managing costs, making all the firmware domestically can help ensure that there are no compromises when it comes to the security of your data center interconnect.

For CIOs considering the future of their networks and data center interconnect, it is essential to forecast a realistic picture of their data needs in the coming years. Even if you don’t see a surge in demand, it’s important to build a network - using shortcuts that reduce the need for new hardware – that can handle an unexpected surge created by changing business rhythms.

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