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Cloud On-ramps and Beyond: Expanding Connectivity To Increase Flexibility and Competitiveness

Andy Bastick, Senior Director, Product & Partner Marketing, Digital Realty
February 10, 2023

Over the past decade, enterprises have pushed for the fastest possible connections between their IT stacks and the immense computing power offered by the major public cloud computing providers. Such ultra-fast connectivity is becoming even more important as businesses and governments make more use of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and high-performance computing – all of which generate huge volumes of data.

The preferred choice for connecting directly to cloud providers comes via ‘on-ramps’. These link enterprises’ systems to cloud providers, and are typically available at co-location providers, such as Digital Realty.

What is cloud on-ramp

Cloud on-ramps remove the need to share data over the public internet, making them inherently faster and more secure. However, on-ramps are no longer the only choice and are becoming part of a more complex connectivity picture that’s requiring enterprises to reimagine their IT infrastructures.

For starters, enterprises increasingly want to connect to more than one public cloud provider to access a wider range of services and increase resiliency. Analyst group 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, has found that 79 percent of enterprises believe that having access to multiple cloud providers is an important factor whilst deploying new data platforms, and that adopting a hybrid cloud strategy is essential for their business to be successful. So, while cloud on-ramps are a vital component of the connectivity puzzle, enterprises may also require other solutions with more flexibility and a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Another consideration is Data Gravity, which lies at the intersection of IT and the laws of physics. In earlier eras of computing, data tended to be created in various locations and hauled back to centralized data centres for processing. Cloud on-ramps support this process, providing dedicated, low latency connections to the clouds.

Today, more data is being created in more locations, driven by inputs, from consumers’ mobile phone apps to Internet of Things sensors in the field. Our research suggests that by 2024, the world’s top 2,000 enterprises (as defined by Forbes) will be storing an extra 622 terabytes of data every second across just 53 metropolitan locations.

This data is also being held and processed locally in a wider range of applications to enable enterprises to be more responsive to customers and better meet compliance obligations. For instance, Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the United States’ Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act are making it harder for enterprises to ship data across national borders.

But all this data has a ‘gravity’ to it that slows enterprises down, raises security concerns, and restricts the competitive advantages that can be gained from data analysis. Data is also becoming trapped in silos across enterprises with international reach.

To overcome this problem, these large businesses and governments need to redesign their technology infrastructures with a greater focus on how data is generated, stored, and processed. They need infrastructure that enables them to connect to a wide range of business locations and partners – including major cloud providers – while keeping data close to where it was generated and within mandated geographic boundaries.

At Digital Realty, we’ve been working hard to address these challenges for the global 2,000 companies and other customers. To support multi-location and multi-platform global connectivity, we launched ServiceFabric™.

Combined with PlatformDIGITAL©, our global data centre platform, ServiceFabricTM enables companies, technologies and data to come together, on-demand. It achieves this by combining software-defined networking and a new, purpose-built physical backbone network to give customers fast, secure, and flexible connectivity.

This new solution enhances the options available to enterprises, enabling them to build on other key parts of the modern connectivity puzzle, including on-ramps to the cloud and a robust ecosystem of technology and solution providers that when combined, builds out their data-centric architecture, bringing flexibility and enabling a competitive advantage for the enterprise.

Learn more about ServiceFabric™ Connect.