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The Open Cloud Exchange: Deployment Options to Accelerate Digital Transformation

Many enterprises find that a hybrid model with the right mix of colocation and cloud accelerates their digital transformation initiatives – emphasis on acceleration!

According to Gartner, 69% of boards of directors say that the effects of the pandemic crisis, the economic crisis and the social crisis are accelerating digital business initiatives. Further, the Gartner survey reveals that the “recession has driven the need to overhaul costs and streamline operations.” 

CIOs and CTOs are looking for solutions that accomplish these objectives. The Open Cloud Exchange® (OCX) fits the bill. The OCX provides enterprise-class connectivity services and automation that allow interconnection between businesses, managed service providers (MSPs), service integrators, network service providers and major public cloud service providers (CSPs) – all at high speed and through a single point of control. Virtual private connections can be set up in minutes, enabling enterprises to streamline business transactions, data delivery, new market expansion, customer service and more, while reducing costs.

Interconnection Deployment Use Cases

This second blog in the OCX series describes deployment methods. The most common way to join the OCX is first to colocate some or all of your data center operations in a CoreSite facility and order a one-to-many OCX port on our Ethernet switch fabric. Consider these interconnection scenarios:

  • Connection within a single market. Set up individual or diverse (redundant) connections to another OCX participant or a public cloud provider (AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud) within one market. A multicloud architecture also can be supported if you need connections to multiple CSPs. This model can be deployed in one or more markets – the same setup in New York and Chicago, for example. 
  • Diverse connections between regions and markets. Let’s say your organization has colocated in CoreSite’s Denver data center and uses AWS. Through a single port in Denver, you can obtain cloud region diversity by ordering an Ethernet virtual connection (EVC) to AWS in Denver (US West–2) and Chicago (US East-2). Automated connectivity allows real-time provisioning for multiple CSPs and cloud regions. 
  • Intermarket connectivity. Examples of this use case: (a) Connect your deployments in two or more markets by standing up virtual circuits to create a WAN between or among your deployments; (b) Tie together multiple market deployments such as those you set up in the first scenario that operate within a single market. For example, Azure in New York and Azure in the Bay area; and (c) Connect to the nationwide OCX ecosystem. Enterprise A in Los Angeles can connect to enterprise B in Denver or to content providers, MSPs or other OCX participants.

You also can combine use cases or design your own. In all OCX deployments in which you want to connect to a CSP, you connect directly, securely and reliably via “native onramps.” If you work with a colocation provider that doesn’t have native onramps, your data is likely traveling via the internet or a software-defined networking (SDN) provider to reach an onramp within a CoreSite facility. This approach causes unnecessary design complexity.

What to Consider Before You Deploy

Not sure how to deploy? Discuss your situation and objectives with a CoreSite solution architect. Together, you’ll figure out the right levels of redundancy and resiliency for optimal hybrid and multicloud environment. Conversations often touch on:

Cloud connection strategy. You may use cloud(s) for general computing, for bursts or seasonal activity, analytics, AI or even redundancy by duplicating operations with CSPs. Because CSPs are best in class in certain areas, different parts of your organization may be better served by different CSPs – and this approach may have cost advantages. For example, Google Cloud analytics for research and development, Azure for storage and another CSP for compute power. Also, keep in mind:

  • Availability of CSP services varies by market and region. If you’re using a CSP that limits services in one region, intermarket connectivity gives you access to the full service suite of that CSP.
  • Moving data into the cloud can be expensive, which is why a hybrid approach makes sense. Set up your own servers and storage in a CoreSite facility and use cloud on demand for bursts. This prevents overbuying and overspending. 
  • Data sensitivity and industry regulations affect data location choices. Some data must be kept on-premises or in a colocation facility and can’t be moved to cloud. A hybrid approach streamlines these decisions.

Deployment location. Some enterprises colocate initially without private cloud connectivity. Given the rapid rate of cloud adoption, however, it makes sense to colocate in a facility where you’re close to native onramps and can implement OCX interconnection quickly. 

Cost. Intermarket pricing through the OCX generally is more cost effective than carrier, SDN or other options. Cloud egress costs, for example, are significantly lower through private cloud connections compared to using the internet. The bulk of cost – as much as 95% – relates to CSP utilization. 

Flexibility. Bandwidth is a business choice, and as an OCX member, you can change it as needed and provision on a month-to-month service. 

Management. The OCX allows you to manage all of your hybrid environment connectivity in one place. Consider how much time and labor you’ll save compared to managing service providers and CSPs separately. 

Interconnection Best Practices 

As you evaluate deployment options, lean into best practices. We encourage using two ports on the OCX for redundancy. You may not be overly concerned about redundancy if your traffic isn’t mission critical, but some enterprises prefer to avoid a single point of failure. We also recommend connecting to clouds in multiple regions to minimize the impact of an outage. To encourage this practice, some CSPs provide higher service level agreements (SLAs) compared to SLAs in single regions.

Your colocation and interconnection decision will be better for the time you spend to “dot Is and cross Ts.” You’ll find that OCX deployment options simplify and accelerate digital transformation, streamline operations and lower cost – all desired outcomes to you and board members.

For an OCX overview, read the first blog in the OCX series: “The Open Cloud Exchange: What Is It and Why Use It?” To learn about more about the OCX, watch this short video. Stay tuned for additional blogs that cover how to deploy the OCX, how to choose a colocation and interconnection provider, and FAQs. 

Matt Senderhauf | Vice President, Interconnection Strategy
Matt is VP of Interconnection Strategy at CoreSite and has more than 11 years of data center and telecommunications industry experience.