What global firms are looking for in IT (part 1)

The article below is a translation of the original:
Doing It Right: What global enterprises are looking for in IT infrastructure (part 1)

Frustrated with circuit issues? Five points every IT manager should keep in mind when choosing connectivity for their office.

What should an IT manager consider when choosing a telecommunications company for his critical systems and internal network? Most IT managers prefer to avoid risk and possible service issues. This article offers tips to help IT managers smoothly select a circuit in a trouble-free manner.

1. Quick recovery from incidents.
Network services are not immune to failures due to equipment deterioration. Service failures may also be caused by natural disasters or other unexpected circumstances. Therefore, you need to make sure that the telecommunication company you select has a redundant configuration to guard against network failures and is able to quickly deal with any failures that occur.

The most important thing is to have redundancy in the network configuration. This type of configuration allows for automatic switching to a separate path when a failure occurs, making it easy to quickly identify and isolate the portion of the network that is impacting the service. Ideally, it is best to choose a company that owns and runs a data center, network facility, or another similar facility. Such a company can collect and guarantee the quality of many different types of data on an end-to-end basis, as well as manage these services centrally, and therefore is able to centralize problem resolution, identify root cause and bring about a quick recovery. It might take a long time to fully restore impacted services, but it should not take long to investigate the cause of problems. To ensure quick recovery from failures, choose a company that offers a comprehensive range of services and is capable of quickly determining the causes of problems.

Colt provides unified network, data center, and voice services.
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2. Ease in increasing bandwidth
Next, select a company with connectivity services based on Ethernet technology. The provider should be able to offer comprehensive support from service design through implementation on relatively new technology. A company that originated from Ethernet has newer equipment and devices, allowing it to perform work faster and more efficiently than a company that has no choice but to use equipment for legacy solutions such as SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy: an international standard of a high-speed digital communications system using an optical fiber) and TDM (Time Division Multiplexing: dividing a communication line into a specific length of time in order to facilitate the receipt and transmission of data for each period).

As we enter the era of cloud services, we cannot predict how large the capacity of communication data will be. One important point for avoiding circuit problems and delays is the ease of increasing bandwidth, something that requires compatibility with SDN (Software-Defined Network) or a similar technology. As mentioned in a separate article, the availability of SDN is one of the important points considered when selecting connectivity.

Providing Ethernet services with multiple options in both burstable and guaranteed bandwidth configurations.
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3. Ability to circumvent ruptured submarine cables
Submarine cables are located on the seabed, and every effort is made to avoid rupturing them, however cable cuts do occasionally occur. To guarantee quality and address problems such as packet loss, it is best to choose a telecommunications provider that is able to immediately re-route over an alternative submarine cable system if their main route becomes damaged. If you are thinking about procuring an international network, you should choose a company that offers a diverse range of submarine cable and terrestrial routes.

4. Low latency
Do you require a low latency network? There are many different causes of latency. One factor is the fiber length – the longer the fiber distance, the more time it takes for packet processing, resulting in latency. This can be avoided by carefully considering network latency in the design process. When designing a network, the carrier should choose a route that is physically straight and is least likely to entail circumvention. If the circuit being provided is for a network service that operates on a global scale, the interexchange channel (known as backhaul) portion connecting the submarine cable landing station to the carrier’s backbone line should be given a design that accommodates a low latency network.

5. Flexibility in contracts
Many carriers provide service contracts on an annual basis, such as a one-year contract. However, as we enter the cloud era, contracts should be made more flexible to accommodate bandwidth changes, and in the future, people will increasingly prefer pay-as-you-go or short-term contracts. This is another reason for avoiding long-term contracts and instead choosing a company with which you can establish a relationship in tune with the needs of the times, such as shorter contract terms. Be careful about signing contracts that run too long, because they put you at a significant disadvantage when problems occur. If the cloud service you are using is charged on a pay-as-you-go basis, so should line utilization. The strength of SDN and the ease of boosting the circuit speed allow for service contracts that are independent from the actual underlying circuit, and make it easier to cancel contracts in the early stages because the use of the line infrastructure is on an end-to-end basis. Choose a company that is able to offer a flexible service that utilizes short-term contracts.

Summary: Avoiding problems and possessing a vision of the ideal future of the industry
The major carriers are evolving their approaches to adapt to the growth of WAN services for public cloud connections.

Explaining his vision of the ideal future of a telecommunications company, Masato Hoshino (Vice President of Product Management, Colt Technology Services) made the following comment: “In terms of large-scale solutions and large-scale systems, we are completely in the cloud era. In entering the cloud era, the question inevitably rises as to why contracts for circuits should remain on an annual basis. Many enterprise-related clients are drawn to the cloud, so carriers should better adapt themselves to contract types that are better suited for the cloud era. Possessing and operating its own end-to-end telecommunication equipment, Colt can offer short-term contracts, while also being able to handle the traffic bursts that are expected to occur in a cloud.”

Today carriers find themselves forced to respond flexibly to keep up with the shift to clouds. The ideal telecommunications carrier in the cloud era is one that is Ethernet-based, capable of identifying causes of failures, able to offer low latency, able to circumvent subsea cables issues, and able to offer flexibility in contracts. Satisfying these contemporary requirements should be the criteria by which IT managers select their telecommunication provider.

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