Data Bank - Home
January 25, 2022

Interconnection 101—Getting Back to Connectivity Basics

Making the World Go Round

By connecting data, digital workflows, and ultimately…people, interconnection technologies virtually make the world go ‘round. They’re a core service of most data center colocation providers that supports many-to-many connections among networks for rapid data exchanges as well as an on-ramp to cloud services.

In this blog, we kick off a year-long series about interconnection and data center connectivity—discussing their importance and their history. Throughout 2022, we will provide you with an understanding of the basic interconnection types, the business use-cases to which you can apply each interconnection option, and our solutions that help solve connectivity challenges.

Let’s begin with a brief review of why interconnection is so import today as well as some historical context.

The Importance of the Interconnection Conversation

With digital transformation accelerating market dynamics across nearly every industry, interconnection now plays a major role in helping businesses become more agile and responsive. The new breed of interconnection services from colocation providers enables unprecedented flexibility to distribute computing resources and move intelligence closer to the point at which decisions are made. Businesses can also go to market with new services more quickly and improve services in real-time.

Interconnection is also the fastest-growing segment of the colocation industry. That makes it an important conversation to have with your IT team as you plan the next generation of your IT infrastructure and how to deliver a modern experience to end-users, business partners, and customers.

To achieve this objective, you need to align your interconnection strategy to advanced cloud and digital workflow technologies such as Software-as-a-Service applications and edge computing, as well as 5G and Wi-Fi 6 networks. As an example, to improve the performance of a video service, you may need to join an Internet exchange to peer with broadband network providers. Alternatively, you might want to buy IP transit to connect with mobile network operators to ensure your application runs smoothly on wireless networks.

On the flip side, consider the risk of not utilizing all your interconnection options. You may lock yourself into a data center environment that’s too costly, can’t scale easily, or won’t deliver the performance your applications require. You might also lack the agility to migrate workloads among your various environments. Either scenario can force you to invest too heavily in your legacy systems—trying to get them to deliver the performance they’re simply not capable of.

Evolving from Distributed Networks to Secure and Cost-Effective Connectivity

The history of interconnection goes back to when data networks began to grow rapidly as the mass-market adoption of PCs transformed stand-alone boxes to connected systems sharing information through file servers and local area networks. Ensuing networking innovations in wide area networks along with standards such as Ethernet and TCP/IP led to the distributed computing model.

Then, as technology vendors enhanced switching and routing technologies, telecommunications companies deployed networks that circled the globe. This established the foundation for an even bigger transformation as the Internet linked millions of networks. While Internet service providers could easily connect to each other, they were not equipped to scale. This is when vendor-neutral data center environments emerged, where providers could peer with each other to exchange information.

Along with peering, direct cross-connects and Internet exchanges enabled private, high-speed connections that bypassed the public Internet. This provided more secure and cost-effective connectivity services over greater distances. Today, interconnection networks deliver anytime-anywhere connectivity—made possible by mobile, cloud, and social media technologies.

Up Next: Understanding Interconnection Types

Interconnection represents the umbrella under which many technologies operate to connect networks to networks. It’s important to know the difference between each type to select the right tool for the right job as you establish connectivity among your various data centers and networks. That’s what we will cover in the future blogs of this series.

To learn more about the carrier-neutral connectivity and exchange network ecosystem offered by DataBank and the best way to apply interconnection concepts to your data center environments, visit our website.