Carrier neutrality: dispelling the myths

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Carrier neutrality is a buzzword in the data centre industry. It’s often thrown around alongside colocation and connectivity and is one of many items that needs to be crossed off on the corporate check list when choosing a data centre provider. But if you work, or have ever ventured in to the data centre environment, you’ll probably be aware that whether a data centre can be considered truly ‘carrier neutral’ is an area filled with contest.The problem is that everyone has their own definition of carrier neutrality. There’s a perception that a data centre provider can’t be carrier neutral if it’s owned by a carrier. By its very nature, the relationship will be biased right? Wrong. As long as that data centre provider allows any customer to use any carrier within the data centre, then it is carrier neutral. It’s not just the definition of carrier neutrality that’s up for debate, it’s the number and diversity of carriers too. Many data centre carriers claim to have 100, or even 200 carriers available within their data centre. But are these really all carriers? Often what you’ll find is that many of these are service providers and while carriers provide the telecommunication network or connection in and out of the data centre, service providers do not. Also, how many carriers do you really need to support your business requirements? My guess is around half a dozen max, so don’t be drawn in by impressive numbers. What’s really important is a data provider that has the right carriers and the right connections. A provider that will help grow your business and provide a resilient and secure infrastructure. This also means looking at the entry points and fibre networks to and from the data centre. So before you make any rash decisions, take a second to step back, look beyond the numbers and focus on the access to the carriers from the data centre. After all, it doesn’t matter if your provider has a number of carriers, if these are provided through a single point of entry then there’s also a single point of failure on which the reputation of your company rests.For more advice on choosing the right ‘carrier neutral’ data centre, read our top tips article here.

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