A Network Pivot: Shifts Driving Network Aggregation

Given the present global health situation with more workers and students being pushed into at-home working environments, great demand for network and bandwidth is coming from more locations at the edge. This means that now more than ever, data centers and network providers must focus their attention on sufficient connectivity solutions for the last mile. This post, originally published on Independent Data Center Alliance, discusses the changes we are now seeing in interconnectivity, network aggregation points, network services, and more. From Independent Data Center Alliance:


“From the perspective of the edge, Carspecken kicks off the conversation by noting that what’s happening here with IT infrastructure in the midst of a pandemic is “a compelling event colliding with a paradigm shift.”  In essence, data that has traditionally found its way through Tier 1 markets is now trying to find its way into more regional or often overlooked markets — especially as online learning becomes the ‘new norm’.  This means networking customers are trying to make sure that they can deliver plenty of bandwidth and applications to their students, which now means a focus on the last mile.  The network emphasis has shifted from commercial and business focused networks to residential networks because Work from Home (WFH) and distance learning has shifted users from the office to their primary residence.


On the other end of this conversation, Brown speaks from the perspective of commercial real estate needs as viewed from his data center facility.  What he reveals is that despite this paradigm shift, his facility in New York City has not remained idle.  Instead, the data center has seen opportunities come into the funnel that otherwise may not have occurred.  This has meant existing customers fortifying their computer infrastructure to take on the demand for more network capacity and speed — and, for many this was a reactional overnight pivot that.


Koblence, also from the New York City market with a colocation facility in Chicago, confirms that a lot of traffic is starting to come into the residential markets mentioned by Carspecken.  In his eyes, it’s a natural progression that helps solve for the challenges of aggregation by allowing that traffic to stay as close to where it originates as possible.  From his experience working with small and medium-sized businesses looking for high-touch solutions, Koblence reports a large shift from customers that have traditionally had a significant amount of infrastructure in their office that now has to be remotely accessed by all of their customers.  So, shifting critical infrastructure that was in a commercial office into a data center environment or potentially deploying a cloud or hybrid cloud solution has been a major change here.


Morey has noticed this shift in infrastructure allocation first-hand.  Having experienced the pandemic’s impact on network aggregation through Bluebird’s 10,000-mile fiber network throughout the Midwest.  He harkens back to March, when the company experienced a huge jump in network utilization that has only continued on an upswing.  This has been the overarching impact of the pandemic — increased utilization by companies and individuals needing to stay in touch with critical tasks, shared data, groups of people and more.


No matter the changing demand, discussions like these only highlight the fact that data center operators understand their crucial role in customer network enablement.  It’s incumbent upon these providers to not only recognize changes across networking demands, but to create solutions that enable global transitions like the one we have recently seen.”


The last mile that connects business premises has 68% of network cost, 82% of network downtime, and 99% of its complexity.  No one provider has network everywhere. Unitas believes that an interconnected fabric that aggregates service providers into a network of networks along with platform automation of the service lifecycle can solve the enterprise’s access connectivity challenges. Unitas’ Cloud Connectivity Marketplace platform provides automated design and quote to millions of locations globally, searching commercial building addresses and providing a real-time response of available near and on-net connectivity services. Unique intelligence recommends the optimal design for price and performance of available access technologies and bandwidth.  Enterprises, SaaS providers, and data centers can build the most cost-effective and reliable connectivity options between people and data, simplifying enterprise cloud adoption and enabling distributed work environments.


Click here to learn more about the Cloud Connectivity Marketplace from Unitas Global.

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