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Data Center Connection Diversity
Multiple diverse connections are what you need to ensure availability of your bandwidth services.

By: John Shepler

When you are running a data center or collocating your servers in a colo data center, the reliability of the data connection is critical to the availability of your services. Any one single piece of equipment and any one data line can fail. To ensure that no link failure will take you down, you need more than just several separate network connections. You need multiple diverse data connections.

Multiple vs Multiple Diverse Connections
The difference between multiple connections and multiple diverse connections is in where those connections go to. If you simply have 3 Fast Ethernet or OC3 links to a single service provider, you’ve only gained a small amount of protection. Especially within the colo facility, it’s relatively unlikely that only the network cable for a particular feed or the interface circuits on both ends will fail. It’s more likely that something more catastrophic will take down the entire connection with that provider.

If you are in your own facility, you’ve got the same concern only multiplied. A service provider within a colocation facility probably has multiple incoming connections. The line that comes to your building is likely a single connection that runs for miles underground or overhead. There’s lots of opportunity for a natural disaster or someone doing construction to break that line or multi-pair bundle.

Strategies to Protect Your Bandwidth Service Availability
So how do you protect your interests for services that absolutely can’t afford to go down even for a few hours? In addition to the usual server redundancies, you need to get multiple data line services from different providers coming in on different routes. It does you no good to contract with three separate vendors only to find that they are all bundled in the same copper or fiber optic cable. In fact, you don’t even want them sharing the same trench or poles, if at all possible. The ideal situation is to be fed by unrelated suppliers coming from different geographical directions. The only place they’ll be in proximity is within your facility.

This requirement is common for large colocation data centers that host hundreds or thousands of companies. Within the colo center, you can typically order service from several carriers who will individually provide lines to your racks. For your own facilities, you’ll need to do your homework to ensure that your are, indeed, getting diverse data connections.

How to Find Multiple Diverse Connections
Sounds like a lot of work to find and evaluate multiple providers who will serve your business location, doesn’t it? Fortunately, there’s help available from a telecommunications service broker who routinely works with dozens of service providers offering everything from point of sale wireless data connections, through the popular T1 lines and DS3 connections, on up to OC3 and above SONET fiber optic services and Ethernet at the GigE and 10GigE levels. You can save yourself a lot of grief and a lot of time by letting the broker work with the available carriers to meet your requirements. What’s that extra service going to cost you? Nothing. Nothing, at all. It's free for all serious business applications.

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