Connecting the dots: Bandwidth as a business model

Few developments have affected businesses in the past few years as much as the burning desire for bandwidth. As enterprise environments expand, complications are inevitable. Proper information storage and security are increasingly vital as more businesses transition to data-driven initiatives. They're also becoming harder to attain. Many organizations find themselves caught in a tangled web of carriers, data centers, service providers and connectivity requirements. A lack of interoperability between services and poor communication among stakeholders can make undoing these knots an expensive and resource-intensive slog. It induces broadband rage and burns a lot of bandwidth in the process.

Optimizing connectivity needs to be a foremost concern in today's business model. In theory, it means providing enough bandwidth to create sufficient breathing room for all locations and stakeholders. In practice, an organization needs to centralize its connectivity support. Data Center Knowledge contributor Bill Kleyman recently discussed some fundamental changes in information technology that should compel companies to consider building their business model around their data center network. 

"Business used to establish their practices and then create their IT department. Now big (and smart) businesses are approaching data centers and technology from a completely different angle," Kleyman wrote. "These visionaries see that the future revolves around complete mobility and true device-agnostic connectivity."

Examples Kleyman highlighted included cloud-based data distribution models, which support expanding application development and processing environments. He also observed that new ways of computing, such as virtualization and software-defined networking, place more emphasis on minimizing granular infrastructure management and centralizing IT. Complexity in digital compliance and data governance can also be assuaged by a centralized connectivity platform.

Looking at bandwidth as a business model involves seeing technology as a critical role player rather than simply as a means to get things done. Connectivity infrastructure can and should contribute directly to bottom-line thinking. Paring down the number of service providers to a basic carrier-agnostic data center model can provide more bandwidth integrity and fewer headaches. 

How to choose a colocation provider

Colocation is an advantageous infrastructure model for any company concerned about supporting its data storage needs. Among the variety of data center, server placement and management options available, it's the one that directly marries an organization's desire to maintain control over its equipment with its need for better network and security support.

In a colocation environment, an organization leases data center space for servers it owns. The data center provider offers server racks, power, bandwidth and physical security. The organization retains control over server management, unless it chooses to outsource these needs to the provider as well. 

Simple, right? Because the colocation business is booming, it attracts a lot of upstart providers. Not all of them offer the same level of service. That's just the reality of the situation. Additionally, one provider's solutions may be right for one organization and match up poorly with another's needs. Misfiring on this selection can be a costly decision, not only in wasted capital expenses but potentially down the road if business continuity is affected, according to ComputerWeekly. 

Determining the most pressing concerns is a company's first step. For example, a company with its central location in an area more susceptible to natural disasters should look for a colocation facility in a safer area. Connectivity is another issue. While every business wants to stay online, some may be able to afford less than 99.999 percent uptime ("five-nines uptime") in exchange for a more cost-effective colocation plan. A financial services firm or federal entity may need to pay a premium to ensure servers are always available. It's simply a matter of weighing financial costs with the price of availability.

Security is a near-universal concern, while many organizations may be dealing with increased complications related to industry compliance, according to Data Center Knowledge contributor Bill Kleyman. A company needs to make sure its colocation provider is certified for adherence to compliance standards. A variety of physical and facility safeguards can provide additional protection, which may be the way to go if a company's colocation center is in a more populated area.