Carrier-Neutral Connectivity at a Colocation Data Center: What It Actually Means

The advantages of multiple telecom carriers in a colocation data center.

In 2006, the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens called the internet a “series of tubes,” prompting a flurry of ridicule and memes. His metaphor may not have been the most graceful, but it wasn’t entirely off-base when taken in context.

Stevens had been describing Netflix’s then burgeoning business model on the web. And easy as it may be to picture his “series of tubes” as plumbing or a playground for hamsters, the internet is indeed made up of a lot of cabling infrastructure that businesses rely on to transfer mammoth amounts of data between internet endpoints.

For businesses attempting to operate their own data centers, the question of how to connect to this “series of tubes” can get complicated quickly. The owners of said tubes are typically internet service providers and large telecoms. Connecting a data center to one or more of their networks usually comes with some cost and complexity. For example, enterprises frequently allot more bandwidth than they need out of fear of under-provisioning, consequently driving up overhead. Conversely, frugal enterprises might under-provision only to find themselves scrambling to procure and deploy more bandwidth.

Enter colocation data centers. As with cooling and power infrastructure, colocation providers ease the process and lower the costs for connecting to a major network. Bandwidth is available on premises, providing the tenant more flexibility as they manage their own connectivity provisioning.

That said, not all colocation data centers are equal in their networking capabilities. And if there’s only one thing you take away from this post, it’s this: Work with a carrier-neutral colocation facility. 

What is an actual carrier-neutral colocation data center?

“Actual” is the operative word here. If you’re reading this blog, you’ve likely come across the term “carrier neutral” and you may know it to mean any colocation data center that supports connections to many carriers.

Carrier-neutral connectivity shouldn’t come at a substantial added cost to your organization. Even if that cost seems reasonable, it can add up quickly over the course of years. This is particularly true for hybrid IT environments and in organizations with multiple remote branches that will require connections to many networks.

Core benefits of carrier-neutral connectivity

Competitive pricing is the most immediate benefit delivered by carrier neutrality. Colocation tenants can often find lower network connectivity prices since there’s more ISP competition. The carriers basically have more reason to keep their prices down and offer better service in a facility that has multiple options.

Flexibility is another core differentiator of carrier-neutral colocation facilities, particularly as it pertains to data center interconnect (DCI). Colocation data centers aren’t just connecting to networks, but also to other data centers—for instance, in the cloud. The majority of enterprises (nearly 60 percent) now have a hybrid cloud strategy, according to Rightscale’s 2019 State of the Cloud Survey. Carrier-neutral colocation data center services make it easier to share resources among multiple facilities and hand-off workflows as needed. This interconnection of IT helps simplify load balancing across resilient, multi-point digital ecosystems.

Last, but not least, carrier neutrality has potential to improve uptime and overall IT reliability. Connecting mission-critical IT equipment to multiple carrier networks ensures that, if one of those carriers experiences an outage, the others can continue to support the connectivity needed to keep systems online. This level of redundancy makes IT ecosystems less dependent on a single carrier, and consequently, much more resilient against downtime.

Work with a flexible, carrier-neutral colocation provider

The benefits of carrier neutrality are indisputable and, in fact, modern businesses would be doing themselves a disservice by locating in a facility that lacks connectivity options the top wholesale colocation providers deliver as part of the package.

If the internet is indeed a series of tubes, Sabey Data Centers is dedicated to making it easier for you to access more of them. Contact us today to learn more about the importance of carrier neutrality.

Will Your Data Center Support Growth?Scaling a data center is one of the most challenging tasks an organization can face.

Recent Blog Posts