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What Makes a Data Center an Ecosystem?

As demands for performance and capacity have increased, the data center has changed. Central to that change is interconnection between the customers.

In most cases, the relationship between data center operators and their clients was that of just provider and customer. The data center provided space and resources (electricity, security, etc.) to customers who were responsible for connecting to their own carriers or procuring direct connections to cloud platforms. For the most part, customers tended not to interact with each other, so it didn’t really matter who the other customers were.

As demands for performance and capacity have increased, the data center has changed. And central to that change is interconnection between the customers in the data center. In essence, the interconnected data center looks less like an apartment building filled with strangers, and more like an ecosystem whose inhabitants depend on and interact with each other. Indeed, it is the interconnectedness of this ecosystem that makes it so valuable.

In a vendor-neutral, interconnected data center, network providers, telecoms, cloud platforms, and enterprises not only house their infrastructure but, more importantly, seamlessly connect and exchange traffic with one another. When customers can connect directly to networks and cloud providers sharing their colo environment, it lowers their costs. It does so, first and foremost, by eliminating local loop charges and bypassing the public internet. The interconnected ecosystem also greatly decreases the distance that data has to travel, significantly reducing latency and increasing performance. Also, directly connecting customers reduces potential points of failure, thus improving reliability. Finally, this ecosystem can scale virtually indefinitely, accommodating each tenant’s need for flexible, cost-efficient growth.

Who Are Netrality’s Ecosystem Partners?

Netrality has carefully cultivated an ecosystem in our interconnected data centers that serves the needs of our customers as well as the needs of the communities where we are located. In addition to the many enterprise clients located in our buildings, our ecosystem features four major players: 

Network Providers

Network providers form the basis of this ecosystem. These companies own and sell internet infrastructure and related services. The list of providers we host includes many names widely recognized – ATT, Comcast, Verizon – as well as others who may be not as broadly known, but serve hundreds of thousands of customers around the country, such as CenturyLink, Cogent and Midco

These companies serve as an integral part of our ecosystem due to the size and reach of their networks. Netrality is an ideal partner because we can provide direct access to multiple dark fiber, metro, and long haul transport providers. In this way, Netrality not only plays host to an ecosystem, but is an active participant in it.

Internet Exchanges

Sometimes content or data originating on one network has to travel onto a network owned and controlled by someone else. Internet exchanges allow for this kind of data transfer. They do so via peering, which allows them to hand off traffic between each other’s customers without having to pay a third party to carry it across the Internet for them. For this reason, internet exchanges serve as another valuable member of our ecosystem. 

Internet exchanges not only help network providers save money, but they can also help expand connectivity to underserved areas. Specifically, they can exchange traffic with smaller ISPs in order to reach regional end-points. Ultimately, internet exchanges help all ISPs reduce cost, latency and create redundancy. 

Internet Exchanges which have extended their fabric to Netrality data centers include NYIIX, PhillyIX, KCIX, Midwest IX, and STL Regional IX.

Content Delivery Networks

Content is king, so they say, but seamless content delivery can be a royal challenge. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) arose to address this challenge by setting up groups of geographically distributed and interconnected servers capable of providing cached content from a location closest to the end user. The primary goal of a CDN is to improve web performance by reducing the time needed to transmit content and rich media to users’ internet-connected devices.

CDNs look to Netrality as an ecosystem partner because our interconnected data centers put them in close proximity to cable, ILEC and cellular networks in key markets. Built-in redundancy and direct on-ramps to the cloud allow CDNs in our ecosystem to reliably deliver services to their customers locally and throughout the U.S. CDNs that connect to the cloud at Netrality’s data centers include Akamai and Cloudflare.

Managed Services Providers

Last but not least, managed service providers (MSPs) – that is, organizations that remotely manage a customer’s IT infrastructure and/or end-user systems, typically on a subscription model. MSPs stand and fall with the services that they can provide their customers. By being part of Netrality’s robust ecosystem of carriers and network providers, MSPs can offer their clients unparalleled performance and connectivity. MSPs currently part of Netrality’s ecosystem include Contegix, Connectria, InterVision, Meriplex, and Sungard.

To learn more about Netrality’s ecosystem and how you can become a part of it, contact us.

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