Why is Data Center Connectivity Important? – Data Center Fundamentals


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It's a game that’s won and lost on speed. The faster information can be delivered from a data center, the more valuable the data center can be to people outside its four walls. Customers Don’t Like Slow Delivery Times Imagine you run a logistics company. The success of your business depends on how quickly you deliver packages. As your operation grows, you build warehouses to swap packages on and off trucks that are going to different areas. Sometimes trucks have to stop at multiple warehouses to get everything they need to take to their destination. Ideally, your trucks can take interstate freeways directly to each warehouse instead of slogging through dense downtown traffic or winding through miles of dirt farm roads. Fast roads directly to a warehouse are better than slow roads that require a roundabout route. Traveling on slower roads or taking roundabout routes ultimately compounds into slower delivery times. Customers don’t like slow delivery times. This is what data center connectivity is all about. You probably caught on that the warehouses in our example are data centers. The packages are information. The roads are the connectivity, the focus of this article. The data center industry is usually accomplished via fiber optic cable lines. And just like the roads, if we want to get traffic where it needs to be as quickly as possible, it’s better to use the fastest, lowest traffic, and most direct route possible. We’ll still need to make stops every now and again to pick up packages or data, but the concept remains the same. The Importance of Connectivity In simpler days of the internet, one computer would talk directly to another and get everything it needed. And a delay of several milliseconds would not cause an issue. Today, companies are using increasingly complex systems to support their customers' needs. It’s not uncommon for a company to spread their IT workload between cloud, colocation, and in-house. Within those buckets, they may have a multitude of microservices spread across different servers. As the number of points of communication increases, so does the importance of keeping those communications as fast as possible. From a user experience perspective, all this operational speed is typically taken for granted, until something goes wrong. In terms of user experience, human factor studies have consistently shown over 30 years that delays of 1 second interrupt the user's flow of thought while delays of more than 10 seconds loses their attention. Users consistently bemoan the slow speeds of websites and apps. In the earlier days of the internet, it was understood that as companies were growing there would be some hiccups. Twitter’s fail whale, which indicated a service outage, even became a cultural icon. However today, as consumer choices on the internet proliferate, a slow load will ultimately become a no-load as customers go elsewhere. All the more reason to focus on speed.