Saturday, 4th July 2020

Multi-Service Ports: Enabling Transformation with a Flexible Foundation

By Prasanna Caliaperoumal, Deputy Director, Product, Epsilon.

Be it putting together multi-region enterprise resource planning (ERP) software or accessing a number of public clouds, the demand for networking is ever-growing and rising rapidly. It is resource-intensive to manage multiple connectivity services and to move at the speed of today’s market.

Enterprises, managed service providers (MSPs) and systems integrators (SIs) are being challenged to connect and optimise applications and data in a transforming market. They need the flexibility to change and adapt while efficiently managing an increasingly complex ICT ecosystem.

Worldwide spending on digital transformation will reach $2.3 trillion in 2023 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.1%, according to IDC – becoming the majority of ICT investment. On top of this, the number of devices connected to IP networks will be over three times the global population by 2022, according to Cisco. Networking today has to be ready to adapt with this rapid change.

The answer is a multi-service port, a networking model where multiple services can be connected via a single port. It brings simplicity to connecting the world and into the cloud.

Choosing a Multi-Service Port Provider

Not all multi-service ports are equal. The ability to access multiple services from a single port is offered by a number of providers but underlying infrastructure and business models can vary. If an organisation’s objective is to complete their digital journey with simplicity, efficiency and flexibility, it will need to look at the details.

While price can be a driver for decision making, the right multi-service port will offer long-term value as well as near-term cost reductions. It just depends on what provider an organisation selects. There are several key differentiators that separate one multi-service port from another:

·End-to-End Set-Up and Support – The port provider should offer a comprehensive end-to-end service that includes cabling within the data centre to set-up a port. They should be hands-on and include set-up as part of their service. Otherwise, they are offering a port but not all of the steps it takes to get started.

·A Comprehensive Service – A multi-service port should support last mile connectivity. A truly end-to-end solution includes the last mile and enables the management of the network all the way to an office premises. Some providers will offer multi-service ports but leave the last mile for the organisation to sort out themselves. If the port provider isn’t supporting set-up or the last mile, they aren’t delivering simplicity.

·The Ecosystem – The ecosystem has to offer access to hundreds of data centres as well as world-leading internet exchanges (IXs) and cloud service providers (CSPs). Network reach should go beyond developed markets and offer a depth of connectivity in developing markets. It should be able to support the organisation no matter where it needs to be present and offer direct access to multiple clouds and IXs.

·A Carrier-Grade Network – Network infrastructure underpins all of the services offered via a multi-service port. A provider should have an MEF-certified carrier-grade network with scalability up to 100Gbps. A carrier-grade network ensures that applications and data are delivered reliably and consistently. It should also offer scalable bandwidth options from 1Gbps, 10Gbps and 100Gbps. Scalability and reliability ensure the organisation has a long-term connectivity partner that is ready to grow with its demands.

·Port Portability – Organisations should be able to move their port across different locations on the provider’s network. They shouldn’t be locked into one location and required to buy another port if all they want to do is move it. Port portability removes risk for the organisation and enables them to maximise the value of the port they have on the network. As demand changes, the port can be moved, offering new efficiency and simplicity.

·Networking Expertise – Port providers should have a proven track record of developing and optimising network infrastructure to support applications and data. It ensures that every step of the way the organisation has a trusted partner that understands how to deliver high-performance networking across the globe.

A Flexible Future

The action organisations take today to build flexibility, adaptability, and simplicity into their network will pay off with the freedom to grow and adopt new applications and services in the future. The first step is using a multi-service port to build a flexible foundation that is ready to adapt to changing demand.

Multi-service ports ensure networking is optimised to serve the entire value chain and ready to serve the demands of the future.

By Steve Miller-Jones, VP edge strategy and solution architecture at Limelight Networks.
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