The move to cloud-based computing has been an ongoing goal for many IT teams across the UK. Indeed, the Cloud Industry Forum recently found in its fifth annual UK cloud adoption survey that more than four in five UK organisations have formally adopted at least one cloud service, and many more have it on their priority list for the year ahead. Looking to 2017, many of Gartner’s predicted trends will rely on a cloud computing infrastructure, for example, the Mesh App and Service Architecture (MASA).

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With much more data being stored in the cloud, the type of data itself will inevitably become more varied. Some organisations may elect to only be storing non-critical data in the cloud, whereas others may feel more comfortable about using services to hold more sensitive data. When making this decision, the location of the cloud services is an important factor. Services hosted in Tier 3 and 4 data centres, may be more appropriate for business-critical data, whereas back-up and archive platforms are more suited to data centres which prioritise value for money over the speed of access and resilience.

No data centre is made equal so it makes sense that businesses take advantage of their individual qualities to build more efficient and cost-effective data centre estates. In essence, they should become a ‘pro-locator’, matching the data or service to the most appropriate facility. The barrier to doing this, however, has been connecting these locations together in a way that delivers the level of data access and reliability which is typically offered in a single data centre.

Data centres with a network edge

To overcome this hurdle, it is vital to pick data centres which are connected to an ultra-resilient, high capacity network. If inter-site connectivity is at a good enough standard, enterprises can take advantage of the sweet spot which each data centre operator has specialised in – whether that be a communication hub or for financial exchanges.

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But, what does an ultra-resilient, high capacity network actually look like though? Here is a checklist of the qualities an IT team should look for:

  • 100Gbps capable optical wavelengths
  • Sub 1ms latency
  • In-life circuit moves between connected data centres
  • Rapid provisioning – ideally within a week
  • Flexible contract durations and negotiable set-up charges
  • 24/7 support

As if it were a single portfolio

A best-of-breed network with these attributes can become a differentiator for enterprises in creating their own bespoke data centre portfolio. Dubbed ‘pro-locators’, enterprises which distribute their IT estates between data centres in this manner, can take advantage of a number of different data centre qualities, which drive down cost and maximise network effectiveness. In a nutshell, the ability to utilise this kind of technical, operational and commercial flexibility is fundamental for today’s savvy enterprise IT managers to establish a truly competitive advantage that can be seen on the bottom line.