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digital business growthThe cloud is more than just another means of delivering IT services. As cloud computing continues to evolve, it’s starting to have a profound impact on how digital business processes are deployed and how companies ultimately operate.

A new study published by Equinix, a provider of Internet Exchange and data center co-location services, finds that private interconnects are growing at nearly twice the rate of the public Internet. The study forecasts that at this rate private data exchanges will generate six times the volume of global IP traffic by 2020. The primary source of all that traffic is from business applications being interconnected via those exchanges.

The pull of data gravity

Driving this trend is the need to overcome the laws of physics. Contrary to popular belief, location does matter in the cloud. Cloud applications that are located either in an Internet Exchange or at most one network hop away experience much better performance than applications residing in an on-premises data center. Because of that issue, almost every IT organization is trying to figure out how to get a modern cloud application deployed as close to an Internet Exchange as possible. From there many of them wind up also connecting those applications over a virtual private network directly to various services provided by multiple public clouds. That approach allows the internal IT organization to retain control over their application and data while being able to invoke, for example, additional public compute resources whenever needed.

Of course, as more of those applications get deployed next to an Internet Exchange, the forces of data gravity make their presence known. Developers of digital business applications that need to be integrated with other applications have to eliminate as much network latency as possible. Otherwise, the application programming interfaces (APIs) they have so carefully crafted wind up timing out. Before too long, more and more cloud applications start to concentrate in fewer data centers. This accounts for why there’s so much money being spent on building new data centers close to an Internet Exchange, while data centers located more than two network hops away are being sold at rock bottom prices.

Digital business opportunities

Getting the deployment of cloud applications just right requires more expertise than the average internal IT organization has at its disposal. Savvy organizations are tapping managed service providers (MSPs) to help them navigate all the nuances of deploying cloud applications that for the most part are extremely latency-sensitive. Based on the Equinix study, it appears the demand for that expertise won’t be slowing down any time soon.

Obviously,the cloud has generated more than its fair share of hype over the past five years. But if MSPs look beyond the sound and fury, it’s also becoming apparent that the economic impact of all those applications in the cloud is starting to add up. MSPs that can connect the dots between IT architecture and digital business applications deployed across a hybrid environment spanning local data centers, co-location facilities, and public cloud to drive those process are going to be worth way more than their weight in gold.

Photo: Khakimullin Aleksandr/Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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