Leveraging Data Center Interconnect To Address Future Internet Demand: Ryan Perera, Country Manager, Ciena India

Leveraging-Data-Center-Interconnect-To-Address-Future-Demands:-Ryan-Perera,-Country-Manager,-Ciena-India

Ryan Perera, country manager, Ciena India

India has emerged as the third largest Internet market in the world thanks to the phenomenal growth of smartphones and mobile app adoption. Increasing popularity of over-the-top services, such as messaging apps, online gaming, and video streaming have further led to explosion of Internet content in the country.

Today, India boasts of having the largest user base of Twitter and the second largest user base of Facebook. Data from KPCB further says that India has more than 70 million You Tube users. With the ongoing expansion of 3G and rollout of 4G networks, Internet consumption is only going to increase.

Couple this with the aggressive migration of the enterprise segment to cloud-based services, and emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), it is easy to see that the bandwidth demand is only going to intensify. Further, data consumers inherently expect the content to be delivered instantaneously with high quality and from anywhere, anytime and on any device.

These activities will demand highly scalable, secure, and reliable data centers to hot and serve accessed content and applications. In an effort to enhance the customer’s end-user experience by cutting down latency and localizing content delivery, service providers are forced to open more and more data centers in metro areas closer to end users.

India is following the global trend of having data centers closer to the customer to decrease latency and improve the user’s experience. So, it is not surprising that data center providers are beginning to deploy data centers in country. A case in point is Microsoft, which has recently brought online three cloud data centers in India to improve performance of Azure services for its business customers in the country. Amazon Web Services has also recently announced plans to build cloud data centers in India this year.

Indian data centers are undergoing a major transformation to support a paradigm shift in traffic patterns, bandwidth increases and proliferation of apps. Buoyed by positive sentiments in the economy and driven by government initiatives like Digital India and Smart Cities, the Indian data center infrastructure market, comprising server, storage, and networking equipment, was worth $2 billion in 2015, according to a recent Gartner report.

These data centers need to be interconnected in order to provide seamless scalability, reliability and to host content closer to the user while increasing application performance. Data Center Interconnect (DCI) has emerged as a key factor in ensuring successful delivery of content. To put it simply, if data centers are not connected, they cannot provide ubiquitous application services to end-customers.

However, there is a strong need to modernize DCI so the providers are able to efficiently provide real-time content with minimum latency to the end consumer. As well, the network that interconnects user-to-content and content-to-content ultimately dictates the overall user experience.

Innovative Solutions To Overcome Interconnect Challenges
Unless modernized, the obsolete DCI solutions can hold back the data center providers with potentially negative consequences. Currently data center operators face a number of challenges, such as access to fiber plant and route diversity, limited space, limited power availability, security issues and increasing cost.

Fortunately advancements in technology bring huge advantage to the data center providers to effectively address these challenges:

Distance: Latency is dependent on the distance between the two data centers. Data centers must have a connection with the lowest possible latency to maintain an acceptable user experience. Technology breakthroughs in Digital Signal Processing (DSP) empowers networking equipment providers to introduce packet-optical platforms capable of compensating for various fiber impairments. It lets large data flows to be carried over several kilometers over different fiber types, without compromising speed or performance.

Capacity: The networking equipment connecting the data center must be capable of providing reliable, high-capacity connections that is scalable as the requirement increases. Coherent optics has emerged as technology of choice of modern service providers looking to scale connectivity into the gigabits and even terabits level as demanded by many data centers.

Security: Information stored in data centers is usually business-critical and confidential. Data center providers need to take extra measures to ensure reliability and security of the information. While disk encryption has been deployed by the service providers for many years now, businesses are now insisting on in-flight encryption for enhanced data protection from the time data leaves one data center to the time it reaches another.

Operations: An efficient interconnection between two data centers has to be rapid and reliable. The manual network operations are generally slow and error-prone. Today’s data centers need to be dynamic in nature and should be geared to address continuously changing and often, unpredictable requirements. Technology advancements allow automation of operational tasks through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and associated applications, which allow end-users to create custom applications to address day-to-day operation requirements without any intervention.

Cost: Even as adoption of new interconnect technology is a must for data center providers; they need to ensure that network costs don’t increase exponentially and that they remain financially viable. Technical advancements enable data centers to reduce cost at several levels. Automation enables data centers operators to bring down their operational cost. Agile and efficient scalability further leads to a drop in the CAPEX/OPEX for the data center operators.

The Indian market is fast adopting global culture where end consumer expects access to content anywhere, anytime, and with high quality. This can be made possible only with efficient data center networks, which are scalable, secure, reliable and easier to manage. As the demand for content increases the Indian data center operators would do well to adopt new technological approaches to meet their current and future DCI requirements, which will help them to reduce operating costs, enhance agility and flexibility.

Ryan Perera, country manager, Ciena India

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