Why We Need a New Network Architecture to Connect Data Centers | Data Center Knowledge


As organizations accelerate their digital transformation efforts, they are increasingly turning to cloud applications and services running on servers in external data centers, including public clouds, hosted private clouds, and multi-tenant colocation data centers.

To provide the sophisticated connectivity and connection capabilities required, the many participants in this evolving cloud ecosystem require a new network architecture that not only connects edge and core cloud data centers, but also gives organizations more control over how they connect connect to cloud services and deploy new applications. Leveraging cloud data centers with rich connection ecosystems offers businesses several key benefits, including improved security, reduced transportation costs, higher performance, lower latency, and increased flexibility.

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Figure 1. The many participants in the cloud ecosystem require a new network architecture

Equinix’s most recent Global Interconnection Index and TeleGeography’s Internet Map forecast a 44% compound annual growth rate for global data center interconnect and project that interconnect bandwidth will be 15 times greater than Internet bandwidth by 2024. For network and data center operators looking to capitalize on this opportunity, three fundamental networking capabilities deserve careful consideration: data center interconnection, networking, and automation.

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Connect data centers to maximize fiber capacity at the lowest cost per bit

Cloud applications require moving large amounts of data between data centers, all of which must be replicated between primary, secondary, and tertiary data centers using synchronous and asynchronous backups. This applies to both on-site and off-site business continuity and disaster recovery, and often across regions.

This can be a challenge for operators. To do this, they must plan for greater network resiliency through regional and international route diversity, and deploy agile, scalable and resilient optical mesh networks and point-to-point DCI solutions that maximize fiber capacity and achieve the lowest cost per bit.

Connecting data centers in the cloud ecosystem

Equally important is the ability to connect data centers to multiple service providers, cloud providers, and ISPs. This includes routing traffic between multiple networks and connecting customers to cloud services, applications and workloads wherever they are.

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Rodney Dellinger, CTO and Head of Architecture for Nokia’s Webscale business

The routing of traffic from one network to another and between data centers of different operators is called peering. Peering allows two networks to connect directly and exchange traffic without having to pay a third party to carry the traffic across the Internet. In some cases, there are multiple networks, each connected to route traffic from source to destination. for example, from a customer office to an application running in a central cloud data center.

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To meet these connectivity requirements, implementing secure peering is a must for network operators, as is deploying data center gateway and IP routing solutions that provide comprehensive IP edge routing capabilities such as segment routing, traffic engineering and provide network-based DDoS mitigation.

Flexible and fail-safe data center connection through automation

Automating the connection and interconnection of data centers is the third critical enabler for enabling a dynamic cloud ecosystem. Today’s networks are static, layered and expensive, and need to be more integrated and automated to provide flexible and resilient connectivity between edge and core data centers. Automation of data center interconnection and interconnection needs to be streamlined and efficient, with the ability to leverage multiple infrastructures such as lighted or dark fiber, managed wavelengths, and multi-technology IP/optical networks.

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The benefits of network automation for customers are significant. It gives them the control to launch applications, access services, and ramp up workloads when needed to meet their needs anywhere, and they don’t have to go to the network operator and increase capacity in a specific data center or between data request centers.

By integrating customer web portals with network connection platforms, operators can automate the configuration, provisioning and provisioning of network resources to make the whole process as seamless as possible.

Operators play an important role in creating a highly connected data center infrastructure to deliver the next generation of cloud applications. By offering advanced data center connectivity capabilities built on a foundation of network automation, they can deliver exceptional experiences to their customers while enabling digital transformation and the digital economy.


Rodney Dellinger is CTO and Head of Architecture for Nokia’s Webscale Business and has spent 24 years in the telecommunications industry in a variety of roles, from network architecture and software engineering to leading business development and sales engineering teams.



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