The pitfalls of cloud connectivity

The continuous shift of business-critical data, applications and processes to external cloud infrastructures is not only changing the IT operating concepts (public, private versus hybrid) for CIOs but also the network architectures and integration strategies deployed. As a result, the selection of the location to host your IT infrastructure has become a strategic decision and a potential source for competitive advantage. Frankfurt is playing a crucial role as one of the leading European cloud connectivity hubs.

The digital transformation lashes out

The digital transformation is playing an important part in our lives today. For example, an estimated 95 percent of all smartphone apps are connected to services hosted on servers in data centers located around the world. Without a direct and uninterrupted connection to these services, metadata or other information, apps are not functioning properly. In addition, most of the production data, needed by the apps, is stored on systems in a data center, with only a small percentage cached locally on the smartphone.

Many business applications are being delivered from cloud infrastructures today. From the perspective of a CIO a reliable, high-performance connection to systems and services is therefore essential. This trend will only continue to strengthen. Crisp Research estimates that in the next five years around a quarter of all business applications will be consumed as cloud services. At the same time, hybrid IT infrastructure solutions, using a mix of local IT infrastructure connected and IT infrastructure located in cloud data centers, are also becoming increasingly popular.

Data volumes: bigger pipelines required

The ever-increasing data volumes further increases the requirement of reliable, high-performance connectivity to access and store data and information any place, any time. Especially in case business-critical processes and applications are located on cloud infrastructure. For many companies today, failure to offer their customers reliable, low-latency access to applications and services can lead to significant financial and reputation damage, and represents a significant business risk. Considering that the quality of a cloud services depend predominantly on the connectivity to and performance of the back end, cloud connectivity is becoming the new currency.

Cloud connectivity is the new currency

“Cloud connectivity” could be defined technically as latency, throughput and availability:

In simple terms, cloud connectivity could be defined as the enabler of real-time access to cloud services any place, any time. As a result, connectivity has become the most important feature of today’s data centres. Connectivity means the presence of many different network providers (carrier-neutrality) as well as a redundant infrastructure of routers, switches, cabling, and network topology. CIOs are therefore increasingly looking at carrier-neutrality as a pre-requisite, facilitating a choice between many different connectivity options.

Frankfurt is the perfect example of a cloud connectivity hub

In the past 20 years a cluster of infrastructure providers for the digital economy has formed in Frankfurt, which facilitates companies to effectively and efficiently distribute their digital products and services to their customers. These providers have crafted Frankfurt as a the German capital of the digital economy delivering a wide range of integration services for IT and networks, and IT infrastructure and data centre services. More and more service providers have understood that despite the global nature of a cloud infrastructure, a local presence is crucial. This is an important finding, as no service provider that is seriously looking to do business in Germany, can do so without a local data center. Crisp Research predicts that all major, international service providers will build or expand their cloud platforms in Frankfurt within the next two to three years.

Against this backdrop, Crisp Research has researched the unique features of Frankfurt as an international hotspot for data centres and cloud connectivity. The whitepaper, titled “The Importance of Frankfurt as a Cloud Connectivity Hub” is available for download now:

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.