The importance of digital infrastructure connectivity in the UK continues to be a hot topic on the news agenda. Acknowledging its growing demand, the Government’s Connection Voucher scheme, published on 1 March 2017 has helped connect over 42,000 businesses by providing access to superfast broadband.
Additionally, Whitehall has announced the establishment of a new Business Connectivity Forum, chaired by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The group aims to promote stronger collaboration between business organisations, local authorities and communications providers to develop solutions to the challenges faced by businesses in accessing fast, affordable, reliable broadband.
Yet much more must be done to ensure that the UK’s digital economy remains competitive on the global stage. It’s clear that digital disruption is forcing all industries to evolve at a rapid pace. From financial services to the manufacturing, technology and retail sector – industries are starting to produce huge volumes of data which can be harnessed to positively improve business profitability and productivity.
With global data traffic set to reach 71 billion GB per month by 2022, it’s not difficult to see why data centres will play an even more important role in digital infrastructure connectivity.
They are the hubs through which the world’s most valuable information passes and the very foundation on which the digital economy itself is built.
By that token, the geographical location of a colocation data centre can make all the difference – this is especially important for businesses who want to operate at the digital edge.
Enterprises value service providers that offer a broad spread of data centres, especially in major metropolitan areas. Take the city of Manchester in the UK for instance – it is perceived as a perfect data centre location as it sits at the intersection of the highly-resilient “figure-of-eight” fibre optic network while being a comms hub to other big cities in the country and abroad.
Our recent acquisition of IO UK’s data centre operating business in February – the LD10 International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centre is tethered to other data centres on the Equinix Slough campus, allowing low-latency connectivity to key markets from London such as 30 milliseconds to New York and 4 milliseconds to Frankfurt.
Furthermore, LD10 enables our customers to operate on an expanded global platform to process, store and distribute larger volumes of latency-sensitive data and applications at the digital edge, in closer proximity to end-users and local markets.
However, it’s good to keep in mind that while location is crucial, it’s only one part of the puzzle to improve digital infrastructure connectivity.
The cloud factor
Equally important to the quest of better digital infrastructure connectivity is interconnection with customers and partners across their digital supply chain. As new cloud business models emerge, businesses are becoming increasingly interdependent. Companies are connecting to multiple clouds for different business applications, partners, businesses and customers to exchange data and gain a competitive advantage.
At Equinix, we have seen several trends emerge because of the explosion of data. Most significantly, the demand for public and private cloud infrastructure has continued to increase because data needs to be stored and processed.
Many companies large and small are working on their cloud deployment strategy as it’s a necessary solution to the challenges of rising data analytics demands, the need for low-latency networks and access to major cloud service providers in global markets.
Raising the bar with interconnection
We’re seeing a lot of companies deploy their IT strategies via our Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA™) which provides them with a high-performance neutral location where they can access our global footprint of over 175 data centres in 44 different markets through a secure, private and low-latency interconnection model.
In this interconnected era, digital infrastructure connectivity is key for enterprise performance and the capacity, speed and scalability of this connectivity will be the deciding factors for business success or failure.
Yet, I can confidently say that the core element to improving digital infrastructure connectivity in the UK is knowledge transfer and collaboration between business and Government.
Location and geographical reach will undoubtedly have an impact on digital infrastructure connectivity and interconnection is certainly the future of data exchange. But regardless of where you are in the world and how many parties you connect with, digital infrastructure connectivity is not a challenge that can be tackled alone. The faster you realise this, the sooner you will benefit from huge performance and efficiency advantages.