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Carrier-Neutral Data Centers are the Key to Lower WAN Costs
November 09, 2017 | By John Hardie @ Apcela
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We are pleased to share with you all an interesting article contributed by John Hardie.


John Hardie

Entrepreneurial Sales Manager at Apcela



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Every year, the telecom industry invests hundreds of billions on network expansion, including $341B in 2016.  Not surprisingly, the outcome is predictable: bandwidth prices keep falling. 


As Telegeography reported, several factors accelerated this phenomenon in recent years. Major cloud providers like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook have altered the industry by building their own massive global fiber capacity while scaling back their purchases from telecom carriers.  These companies have simultaneously driven global fiber supply up and demand down.  Technology advances, like 100 Gbps bit rates, have also contributed to the persistent erosion of costs.


The result is bandwidth prices that have never been lower.  And the advent of Software-Defined networking (SD-WAN) makes it simpler than ever to prioritize traffic between costly private networks and cheaper Internet bandwidth.


This should be the best of times for enterprise network architects, right?  Not necessarily.


Many factors conspire against buyers who seek to lower costs for the corporate WAN, including:

  • Telecom contracts that are typically long-term and inflexible
  • Competition that is often limited to a handful of major carriers
  • Few choices for local access and Internet at corporate locations
  • Large effort required to change providers, meaning incumbents have all the leverage

In a sense, the largest telcos, companies like AT&T and Verizon, are trapped by their own high prices. Protecting their revenue base leads these companies to be reluctant adopters of SD-WAN and Internet-based solutions.


So how can organizations drive down spending on the corporate WAN, even while boosting performance?  


As with all markets, there is but one essential answer: Competition.  


The most competitive marketplaces for telecom services in the world are Carrier-Neutral Data Centers (CNDCs). Think about all the choices: long-haul networks; local access; Internet providers, storage, compute, SAAS, etc. CDNCs offer a buffet of networking options, and the carriers realize that competitors are just a cross connect away.


How much savings are available?  Enough to make it worthwhile for many large regional, national and global companies.  In one report, Forrester interviewed customers of Equinix, the largest retail colocation company, and found that they saved an average of 40% on bandwidth costs.


The key is to leverage CNDCs as regional network hubs, rather than the traditional model of hubbing connectivity out of internal corporate data centers.


The CNDCs like to remind the market that they offer much more than racks and power.  It’s true that these sites can offer performance benefits as well.  Internet connectivity is often superior. Many CNDCs offer private cloud gateways that improve latency and security.


But the savings alone should be enough to justify most deployments.

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