The trend of carriers entering the data center arena by opening ‘Carrier Hotels’ has been occurring for some time. Data center providers are now responding to this development by initiating the reverse. By creating their own long haul data center connections, providers will be able to offer communication services and become carriers themselves.
Data center service provider Equinix is building a 5,400km subsea cable connecting New York to London, collaborating with network provider Aqua Comms. The connection is scheduled to be operational before the end of 2015. The 52 Tbps cable will cross the Atlantic Ocean from Long Island, NY to the west coast of Ireland. The solution will include stubbed branching units for future landings.
This development gives the virtual data center an additional boost. The interconnected Virtual Metro Data Center of today becomes a Global Area Networked Data Center.
Data center providers were already linking their own data centers within a metropolitan area into a Virtual Metro Data Center. That way they enable their clients to use the carrier in one data center out of another data center. It then no longer matters where the client gets in. This now extended beyond the metro boundaries to cover an intercontinental area. It is a logical step towards further optimization of the investments made by the data center provider. It weakens, however, the role of the carriers as the data center provider governs the connectivity between the branches itself.
Will this be the end of carrier-neutrality? We believe that a carrier-neutral approach is as important as ever, especially for the ‘last mile’ between the data center to the enterprise’s premises, clouds and users, for avoiding vendor lock-in and also for getting the best price vs. performance. Carriers and data center providers will compete against each other even more than they already have. Changes in prices, technologies, latencies and bandwidths will accelerate. The end user should stay as flexible as possible to be able to continuously optimize the costs and quality of their connectivity, but the move by Equinix, being the market leader, makes It more difficult to find a carrier-neutral data center provider.
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