Have you ever dated someone but didn’t get along with their friends? Or gone passive-aggressive when you order a burger and Coke and the server asks if Pepsi is okay?
At best, package deals can ruin your meal. At worst, they can stick with you an overpriced, underperforming product that threatens your bottom line. We all hate package deals we don’t want. But oftentimes, there’s little we can do about it.
Fortunately, for data centers that’s not the case. At least it doesn’t have to be.
For companies looking to outsource their data center operations, it’s useful to divide the prospective providers into two categories: neutral and non-neutral providers.
Put simply, neutrality means the provider does not compete with any of the companies colocating at its data center. Typically, the term is used within the context of carrier-neutrality – the data center and its colocation clients are not tied to any one carrier. More recently, cloud-neutrality has grown in importance, as cloud providers increasingly see themselves offloading workloads to colocation providers.
In contrast, a non-neutral data center binds clients to a single carrier or cloud service provider. To illustrate the pitfalls of non-neutrality, imagine that you are going to the shopping mall to buy a new smartphone. But the mall operators already signed a contract with Apple and Rogers, guaranteeing them premium floor space and excluding their competitors. You expected the mall to give you a variety of options, but instead were stuck with just one.
Non-neutral DCs are often owned by network service providers who will restrict access to their network. Canada actually lags the United States when it comes to cloud and carrier neutral options, with our telecom oligopoly among the main culprits. Today, ROOT is the only cloud and carrier-neutral DC in Canada.
Neutral facilities offer a host advantage centered around the principle of a customer’s freedom to pick and choose services within the data center ecosystem. Here are just a few:
- Cost efficiency: A truly neutral DC will allow for interconnection between multiple telecommunications carriers and cloud providers. Colocation clients are able to choose providers based on price and performance in a competitive marketplace.
- Flexibility: Likewise, enterprises will have access to a range of carriers and cloud providers in one place. Firms can pick and choose not only based on price but service levels. Equally important, neutrality gives enterprises a backup plan. Moving to a data center means significant sunk costs. Neutrality brings the peace of mind of being able to exit any business arrangement without having to make the more drastic move of migrating data centers.
- Mutually beneficial for clients – and providers: The benefits of a neutral DC don’t stop with traditional colocation clients. “For providers of cloud, hosting, infrastructure, connectivity and other services, being part of a community and offering services in the context of a neutral marketplace will help them rapidly develop new partnerships and service delivery models,” writes Interxion in a recent white paper.
- Redundancy: Redundancy typically refers to backup power supplies within the context of avoiding downtime. But while colocation providers are responsible for redundant power supply, a carrier failure is out of their hands. This is where carrier-neutral redundancy comes into play. By employing multiple carriers within the data center ecosystem, you are conforming to IT best practices and safeguarding your most important systems.
Ultimately, carrier and cloud-neutral data centers like ROOT are specialists who excel in one field – colocation – while providing the avenue for broader cloud, hosting and infrastructure business arrangements. Just as you don’t want a shopping mall to choose your smartphone for you, go with a data center that allows you to pick and choose providers that are right for you.