4. Performance and availability are critical: As with any other service provider, your NSP also needs to provide a superior SLA on the key metrics of performance and availability. The NSP needs to be able to integrate network and data centre services and should understand the importance of offering network options to fit both standard applications and more demanding business-critical applications.
5. Talk to your current network services partner: It is always a good policy to check first with your current service provider if they have the capability to provide upgraded service requirements as your needs evolve. Your current bandwidth services provider may also be able to offer you cloud services; and your data centre colocation vendor may also be able to leverage bandwidth partnerships. Do check with your current services provider on the width of their offerings and what their roadmap for the future is likely to be.
6. Plan for disaster recovery: As we are all aware, network and data centre outages are inevitable. Being prepared is the only option and, in this, cloud services can be your best friend. Look for an NSP that offers replicated VM and storage services for immediate access, in case the primary location becomes unavailable.
7. Make sure your network is intelligent: Going forward, we will begin to see NSPs add Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) capabilities to standard network offerings. Thanks to software driven networking, NSPs will have the ability to intelligently increase network performance as required depending on the application's requirements. Make sure your NSP can provide a "performance-on-demand" operation for greater network agility and efficiency.
Choosing an NSP can sometimes seem daunting but as with all partnerships, a little groundwork and establishing parameters upfront can lead to a network that truly supports your business growth.
Karl Horne is Chief Technology Officer, Asia Pacific, Ciena
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