Business continuity strategies today depend on cloud solutions that can be accessed 24/7 at all company locations, regardless of any incidents, outages, or data center downtime. To truly secure data flows and create resilient connectivity, a multi-X strategy is needed – for clouds, for data centers, and for connectivity providers. Multi-X strategies enable the secure connection between company facilities, networks, clouds, and data centers without the risk of a single point of failure. Dr. Christoph Dietzel, Head of Global Products & Research at DE-CIX, explains the three main steps to increase the resilience and flexibility of company data infrastructure, whilst mitigating the risk of vendor lock-in.
1. Multi-Cloud Strategy: Minimize risk while pushing innovation
The use of the cloud is proving to be indispensable in all industries. Among other things, customer expectations for speed and performance are pushing digital enterprises to create a modern, agile, scalable, and efficient environment which can only be achieved through cloud services. However, if data is stored in just one cloud, there is a risk of cloud concentration. Being dependent on and having a close relationship with only one cloud provider can lead to a single point of failure in the case of disruptions or incidents – in this case, you may no longer have access to business-critical data. To counteract this over-dependence – something which is already becoming mandatory in some sectors – services can be selected from multiple cloud providers. This also offers the advantage of making it possible to choose the best specialist cloud services for different use cases. However, it’s not only important to book the cloud service itself, but also to think about robust connectivity to the chosen cloud services. A multi-cloud strategy is best supported by using secure, automated, and resilient interconnection services via a Cloud Exchange. Stable and secure connections are offered to a variety of providers in a distributed infrastructure – building a strong multi-cloud strategy and ensuring diversity. A further step required is the enablement of cloud-to-cloud communication, thus simplifying the spreading and orchestration of workloads across multiple clouds. Ensuring connectivity across multiple clouds may be complex, but the approach can be simplified through an API and by making use of an online portal for the booking and scaling of cloud connectivity and the synchronization of data between clouds, which can be automated more efficiently. This minimizes risk while pushing innovation. A one-stop shop like the DE-CIX Cloud Exchange simplifies exactly this process, making the management of a multi-cloud strategy less complex.
2. Multi-Location: Create highly resilient geo-redundant connectivity
In the same way that using a single cloud provider can leave your data vulnerable to connectivity outages, operating from just one physical location can also result in a single point of failure. To mitigate the risk of localized disruptions (such as a flood or a power blackout), it is important to make use of data centers in multiple geographical locations. Having only one data center housing connections to all the carefully curated clouds defeats the purpose of having a multi-cloud strategy. By designing geo-redundant data infrastructure, your capacity to store and process data will not be affected by localized incidents or natural disasters.
But geo-redundancy goes even further. In addition to selecting data centers in multiple locations, it is also important to ensure that the network pathways between company headquarters, branches, manufacturing plants, and the chosen data centers also follow distinct, non-overlapping routes. Having only a single circuit transporting data between a company location and a data center results in vulnerability to network disruptions – when the roadworks down the street accidentally cut a fiber, for instance. Once again, it is necessary to ensure that connections are redundant and follow different pathways, so that in the event of outages along one route, connectivity can nonetheless be maintained between locations via alternative routes. Geographic distribution and the selection of network pathways must be prioritized to ensure the resilience of connectivity for critical company data.
3. Multi-Provider: Make the connection as robust as possible
Just as with the multi-cloud strategy, spreading the risk between multiple network operators, carriers, and data center operators eliminates another potential single point of failure. Diversity is required when choosing who will host and transport critical data – sourcing services from multiple network operators, carriers, and data center operators increases resilience and reduces the risk of a crippling outage. Taking a multi-provider approach has the further advantage of reducing the risk of vendor lock-in. Here, having redundancy on the provider level makes sure that no single operator can hold your data hostage, and gives you the freedom to change providers as and when it is strategically important to do so. By taking a carrier and data center neutral approach to infrastructure through a multi-provider strategy, it is possible to ensure uninterrupted access to critical data regardless of incidents in the real world, as well as allowing you to reap the rewards of much greater flexibility.
Multi-X strategies provide resilient and robust connectivity to keep critical data available, accessible, and flowing – however, implementing a multi-X strategy can be time-consuming and complex, entailing agreements with multiple infrastructure partners. DE-CIX, the leading operator of carrier and data center neutral Internet and Cloud Exchanges, can take the pain out of implementation: Offering high-quality interconnection services and dedicated connections to clouds, bookable through a self-service portal, with automated implementation. DE-CIX, together with its hundreds of partners around the globe, is accessible from more than 600 cities in 100 countries globally, and the DE-CIX Cloud Exchange provides access to the large global cloud service providers as well as specialist local providers. From simple and secure cloud connectivity to the creation of interconnection ecosystems, DE-CIX helps you to make interconnection easy. Anywhere. This is the strength of taking a cloud, data center, and carrier neutral approach to designing enterprise infrastructure: a multi-X strategy on all levels, with redundancy across all infrastructure and providers, creates the greatest possible resilience for critical data pathways.