How Does Deploying Colocation Hubs Optimize Network Performance?

Steve Madden

In this blog series, we examine the pressing questions enterprises have about colocation and interconnection as they navigate their digital transformation. In the first blog, we answered the question, “How should colocation fit into your data center strategy?” In this blog, we’re going to look at how placing high-speed, low-latency interconnection at distributed digital edge control points enables you to optimize network performance and leverage controls for greater security.

Many traditional enterprise network backbones can’t keep up with the pace and scale of digital business. These companies have learned theyneed to be physically proximate to people, locations, clouds and data to deliver an appropriate user quality of experience (QoE) and quickly integrate diverse data types, applications and information sources. They also need to fortify their applications and data against increasing cyberthreats.

As a result, businesses are increasingly turning to carrier-neutral, data center interconnection to meet the growing demands of digital business. By doing so, they can leverage distributed colocation hubs strategically located in digital edge control points to:

  • Reduce bandwidth costs by localizing traffic in multiple locations
  • Connect applications in multiple locations to improve user QoE
  • Interconnect multiple networks and clouds at each point
  • Ensure data security and compliance without backhauling traffic to centralized data centers

In the Gartner Report, “Colocation-Based Interconnection Will Serve as the ‘Glue’ for Advanced Digital Business Applications[i],”Gartner Research Vice President Bob Gill describes the relationship between digital business and colocation-based interconnection as follows:

“Digital business is enabled and enhanced through high-speed, secure, low-latency communication among enterprise assets, cloud resources, and an ecosystem of service providers and peers. Architects and IT leaders must consider carrier-neutral data center interconnection as a digital business enabler.”

We agree with this assessment and also see that once our customers have established distributed digital edge control points to optimize network performance, they tend to extend their corporate networks into these colocation hubs, develop more flexible configurations, leverage policies and controls, and create location-to-location corporate backbones. The benefits of this strategy include increased bandwidth, reduced latency, greater cost efficiencies and the flexibility to re-wire your topology at will. You can also improve network security at the edge with services like VPN termination and malware protection.

A distributed network topology for greater network optimization

The Global Interconnection Index, Volume 1 shows that interconnecting to network providers to rewire network topologies for digital is the No. 1 use case for both enterprises and service providers. It’s estimated that by 2020, the total installed Interconnection Bandwidth capacity connecting enterprises and service providers to network providers will make up 68% and 71% (respectively) of the total mix of interconnection use cases, which also includes connecting to cloud and IT service providers. This investment in bandwidth to privately exchange data between businesses and network providers is vital to competing in a growing global digital economy.

By distributing your network topology across multiple digital edge control points, you can establish what we referred to in our last blog as something akin to a “forward operating base” (FOB), to use military parlance. An FOB gives you control at the local level and allows you to begin taking steps toward greater digital transformation.

Doing this on a reliable, globally distributed, colocation-based interconnection platform gives you the consistency and flexibility you need to match the control functions with the traffic types and place them at the same location. This allows you to optimize performance, reduce costs and guard against cyber-attacks. For example, placing malware controls at a control point adjacent to a large population of users enables you to handle attacks locally instead of inefficiently backhauling in a centralized model.

By transforming your digital edge on Platform Equinix® using proven Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA™) best practices as prescribed in the IOA Network Blueprint steps below, you can:

  1. Localize and optimize traffic at the edge, closer to users for greater QoE
  2. Segment traffic flows for multicloud and partner network integration and to isolate digital service flows, and start placing controls at all levels to improve network security at the edge (eliminating the need to backhaul traffic to a centralized data center)
  3. Deliver multicloud connectivity across local cloud providers, accessing SaaS services as needed, to reduce spend and increase choice
  4. Offload public internet traffic at the edge and leverage internet peering to directly route traffic, while adding control and reducing risk
  5. Connect to digital ecosystems for digital commerce and/or data exchanges

To architect for the digital edge, you need to bring the WAN and LAN together and create a digital edge node as illustrated in the diagram below. Each node is tailored for network and traffic types that must be localized, segmented and optimized at specific locations. Build the nodes in step function, as described above, and deploy them in strategic metros where there is density in users, traffic and data. You can directly connect the nodes to reduce topological distance and optimize bandwidth.

By deploying a distributed, colocation-based interconnection platform at your digital edge, you can integrate and manage the applications and data required for digital business. You can also optimize network performance for greater user QoE, lower network costs, increase your choice of network, cloud and SaaS services, and better scale to fortify against cyberattacks on a global basis.

In our next blog in this series, we’ll answer the question: “How do colocation and interconnection enable hybrid cloud?”

In the meantime, please check out the IOA Network Blueprint.


Steve Madden
Steve Madden Vice President, Global Segment Marketing