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Planning data centre connectivity for the next two to three years can be a challenging task. The maturation of cloud services and overall changes in the cloud, content and communications market make it difficult to gauge long-term growth in bandwidth demand.

IDC expects cloud software will grow to surpass $112.8 billion by 2019 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.3%. Goldman Sachs is forecasting the cloud infrastructure and platform market will grow at a 19.62% CAGR from 2015 to 2018, reaching $43 billion by 2018.

Managing new growth and anticipating demand are critical in choosing data centre connectivity partners. While pricing might be top of mind for managing budgets, there are a few more things to consider when selecting partners that can support your long-term objectives.

Here are five things to ask when planning your data centre connectivity:

  1. How fast can my partners react to changes in demand and the need to scale?
    Agility is the biggest differentiator a connectivity partner can have within the digital ecosystem. It is an easy thing to say but partners must have proven scalability end-to- end with guaranteed performance. To effectively support cloud, content and communications, connectivity partners have to be flexible and fast without diminishing Quality of Service (QoS) and Experience (QoE).
  2. How many relationships will I need to manage?
    As the digital ecosystem becomes more complex, it is important to simplify relationships and try to find efficient connectivity solutions. Procurement can be time and resource-intensive but by choosing the right partners you can maximise connectivity options without adding complexity to your operations.
  3. What options do I have for connecting cloud service providers?

    The emergence of cloud enablement platforms is accelerating and simplifying cloud connectivity. If you are connecting to major cloud platforms your partners should be able to offer you a platform that delivers on demand bandwidth matched with online self-service and automated provisioning. 
  4. How comprehensive are my partners SLAs?
    Cloud services and applications are becoming increasingly demanding and the network must be able to deliver the performance they require. Partners should be able to offer guaranteed end-to-end QoS and QoE with the data and network analytics to support comprehensive SLAs. It is critical that QoE is measured and end users are experiencing services without diminished quality or service interruptions.
  5. How prepared are my connectivity partners to support future needs?
    Connectivity partners should be ready to change and adjust to new technology trends and the deployment of new networking services. As networks evolve towards a software-defined future, be sure that your partners are on this path and are ready to deliver software-defined networks (SDN) when you are ready.

As the digital ecosystem evolves, there are new criteria for choosing data centre connectivity partners. If you ask these questions in addition to network coverage and cost, you will have a greater insight into a partner’s ability to serve your needs in the long term. The stronger they are in these areas the stronger your foundation for growth.

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