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Direct Link Colocation: How Much Faster Is It?

Sam Youn, Sr. Director, Services Innovation Architecture & Engineering
July 12, 2017

Colocation customers have had an important choice to make for quite a while now. After they select their provider (or providers), they choose either a direct, private connection or a standard connection that traverses the public internet. A recent article from Data Center Knowledge likens this dynamic to driving on a graveled road vs. driving on a Nascar speedway.

So while it has long seemed obvious that a direct connection is the better, faster option, just how much better has never been quantified. That is, until the recent study Digital Realty undertook along with Krystallize Technologies. We commissioned this study because we know the value that a low-latency direct connection brings to businesses and we wanted to be able to show it with hard data.

Let’s take a quick look at what measurements were taken and the results they produced.

File-read latency is the time it takes for a packet requested to be transmitted and arrive back at the file system. In a comparative test the standard internet connection performed the task in .3 seconds while the direct link connection clocked in at .0044 seconds. That’s like the difference between a Tesla and a tricycle.

The second test that was performed was for file-read throughput, which measures how many kilobytes of storage are transmitted per second. In this test, the direct connection performed 55.4 times better, transmitting 22,904.26 kB/s compared to a speed of 413.76 kB/s using the public internet. Again, the difference is dramatic.

Finally, these tests were broken down into an overall view of application performance. According to the data collected, this means that a 5.5 MB unoptimized page will render in 0.3 seconds using the direct connection or 25.8 seconds when using the public internet connection. This, again, represents a remarkable difference in pace of performance.

This speed translates into all kinds of performance advantages for businesses who utilize direct link colocation instead of a connection via the public internet. And while security was not part of this study, it’s also true that using a direct private connection means you remain inaccessible for DDoS or other cyberattacks that operate within and target those using the public internet.

Want to learn more about Digital Realty’s Direct Link Colocation? Read an introductory blog post and download our new white paper.

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