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Interview: Exploring Colocation and Connectivity

August 4, 2015

“No man is an island,” according to the first line of the well-known poem by John Donne. Ideally, the same principle should apply to your data center or colocation facility. A site that is not connected to service provider networks or is far from the major Internet and cloud exchanges is one that is unlikely to be able to fully support your business operations. Your data center partner should have easy access to multiple connectivity options capable of powering anything from a development and test environment to an e-commerce platform.

Recently, I sat down with Matt Plessing, our Director of Product & Quality Management for Colocation and Connectivity, to get his perspective on what today’s organizations expect from data center connectivity.

Q: What would you say is unique about how Digital Realty delivers connectivity services to its clients?

A: Digital Realty can provide data center, colocation, and connectivity solutions to meet virtually any business requirement. We have a widely recognized and extensive global reach with more than 22 million square feet in over 125 markets on four continents. However, through in-depth discussions with our clients, we also recognize that our customers have diverse connectivity needs that may involve connecting to some providers outside our data centers. This realization led us to deploy our metro fiber network in key markets, which allows our customers to choose from numerous cloud and network service providers both within their primary data center as well as through a proximate data center that can be seamlessly accessed through our Extended Cross Connect and Digital MetroConnect services. Our data centers are not just buildings through which carriers run their pipes. Digital Realty now has a complete suite of connectivity products, called DIGITAL GlobalConnect, that can be adapted as needed to meet the specific business needs of our customers. This combination of size and agility is part of what makes Digital Realty unique.

Q: Say I’m shopping for a data center environment. What are the first few items on my checklist?

A: Data centers are not just for data storage – they’re also for handling the workloads of your business over IP networks. So you’ll want a connectivity-rich environment, one that extends outside the data center to reach many potential carriers. Proximity to cloud providers and your main markets, as well as ample choice among service providers, are likely going to be near the top of your list. We have more than 1,000 network service providers in our portfolio to help our customers connect from anywhere.

Q: What follow-up questions would I have about connectivity?

A: You might want to know the carrier list for the building or even something really specific such as how a service provider is coming into the building, like the fiber route paths they are taking and the overall fiber diversity, etc. We can help with that information, but we’ll also want to have a conversation about your business requirements and how we can meet them. For example, we’d want to know: Do you have a specific cloud provider in mind? Are you looking to migrate workload to multiple cloud providers? Do you need access to cable landing stations for international transport many of which are accessible through Digital Realty facilities? Once we know the answers to these questions, we can help get you the connectivity you need.

Q: Let’s say I have multiple locations all over the map. How could Digital Realty help me get those different sites connected?

A: We have invested heavily in our metro fiber network, which allows us to get you connected to service providers that might be outside your chosen data center, e.g. via a carrier hotel or Internet Exchange. We also provide direct connections from one data center to another, whether these data centers are Digital Realty data centers or not. Each customer is unique, so our approach is very pragmatic, and very open. Sometimes, it might make more sense to connect you to an outside network service provider than for us to handle your services directly. With our footprint and our partnerships, we have a significant expertise and agility in finding the right connectivity setup for each of our clients.

Be sure to check out our Global Connectivity Solutions page to find out more about how Digital Realty can meet your connectivity needs.

– Roxy Gribben, Sr. Director of Marketing (@RoxyGribben)

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