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Preparing Asia's data centres for today's web-scale demands

Fady Masoud, Senior Advisor, Product & Technology Marketing, Ciena | July 21, 2015
Data centre interconnect or DCI is bringing up new ways to speed up connectivity, resulting in greater efficiencies and lower latencies.

Fady Masoud, Ciena
Photo: Fady Masoud

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

In recent months there has been a tremendous acceleration in the number of new data centres appearing throughout Asia. In fact, the data centre market in Southeast Asia alone is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.05 percent from 2014–2019, driven mostly by increased demand for cloud computing and big data analytics, according to TechNavio, a research and advisory company. 

Responding to the increase in Internet users and stimulated by government initiatives such as Singapore's Smart Nation vision, Internet giants and local businesses are investing in data centres across key markets in the region so that they can rapidly create, replicate, and distribute content.

Businesses are migrating en masse to private and hybrid cloud operating models. Both internal and external customers of Asia's enterprises expect on-demand, high quality and real-time access to multimedia content via a multitude of applications across a wide range of devices. All that content lives in the data centre.

The network, in turn, must transport content between data centres with very low latency and high availability. Operational drivers such as data mirroring, disaster recovery infrastructure and business continuity needs also place demands on enterprise networks.

However, this massive growth of inter-data centre traffic driven by cloud and virtualisation service offerings is overtaxing today's network infrastructures. Backup and storage is ever the more time-consuming, taking days in some cases.

Some common challenges faced include:

Latency: Data centres often require a connection with minimum latency to maintain a proper flow of information and synchronisation between the server sending the information and the storage device saving it. Latency will ultimately dictate whether some applications can actually be run over geographic distances. When data centres that need to be connected are far apart, the latency increases as a function of the distance between the data centres and the network equipment that interconnects them.

Capacity: Very often, the aggregate size of application data sets entering or leaving the data centre can be very large resulting in considerable bandwidth challenges between data centres.

Security: Information stored in data centres is often business-critical and confidential, hence data centre network connections must be reliable, secure, and often encrypted in flight as well as at rest.

Operations: Manual network operations are labour-intensive, complex, slow, and can be highly error-prone. Minimising manual operations by automating frequent and recurring tasks is an operational imperative.

Cost: With expected traffic growth between data centres approaching 30 percent CAGR, network costs must grow at a much slower rate if a data centre is to remain financially viable into the future.

 

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