Connectivity: The Backbone of a Business

Colocation: Why SLA Agreements Are Smart For Business

Colocation providers refer to data center companies, cloud computing providers, or Internet service providers who provide businesses data solutions that are usually hosted in colocation facilities. Colocation providers eliminate the need for businesses to set up secure data storage facilities that require a sizable running cost.

Colocation providers give businesses the option to keep their data secure and to store it in their facilities for a low cost. If a company employs external colocation services, then they won’t have to set up a data storage facility which would require electricity, internet connection, air conditioners to keep the equipment cool, space to keep the equipment, and resources (a team) to monitor, save and protect the data. Also, colocation data centers sometimes provide cloud computing services and access to multiple Tier 1 Internet backbones, as they are located near Internet connecting points.

What’s an SLA Agreement?

Colocation data center companies and their clients need to draw up a service level agreement (SLA) which mainly highlights the type of service that will be provided, the terms of the agreement, information about percentage uptime, data monitoring and reporting guidelines, restraints, and escape clauses so no party can take unfair advantage. This agreement is drawn as per the instructions of both the provider and the client.

What Should an SLA Agreement Include?

Before securing or signing on an SLA, a business should inquire about what exactly the client entails, and what services they will accurately be receiving. The main points that are covered in an SLA, which the clients should know about before agreeing to, are:

  • Volume and quality of work
  • Guarantees
  • Speed
  • Efficiency
  • What the facility will be responsible for
  • Warranties
  • Response time

The aim of the document is to establish and legalize the mutual understanding between a colocation provider and client regarding the service.

How Does an SLA Agreement Protect You?

The primary requirement for a business seeking the services of a colocation provider is that they keep the companies data safe and accessible. Safety here is the number one priority, and the SLA exhibits how the provider aims to keep your data free of breaches. If a provider isn’t providing your data enough security or hasn’t specified the uptime percentage or maintenance guidelines, then it is better to opt for a different colocation provider.

It is necessary that a client should read the SLA carefully before signing it to avoid facing the ramifications later and not being able to do anything about it. That way if there is ever any dispute over services rendered or if the data already lost or stolen, you can hold the provider accountable.

To learn more about colocation services, check out our certifications and feature HERE!

Small vs. Big Cloud Providers: 4 Components to Making Strides in the Market

Cloud computing and infrastructure is a rapidly developing sector in the tech industry. The production side of this market has a variety of businesses providing this service to both local and international clients and companies.

The obvious key players include Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, and Google, all who have a significant share in the market. However, despite the massive hitters, there are others like the smaller niche providers, that can be taken into consideration as well.

Small cloud providers are an anomaly. Their purpose is aimed at providing services to smaller businesses that range up to mid-market sized companies that do not need to go mainstream. Aside from their market segment, a majority of them have also carved out niche specific industries like real estate, healthcare, or manufacturing. This go-to-market strategy gives them the shoe in they need so that they can penetrate their markets strategically. However, due to bidding wars between industry giants, the most common set back for smaller firms, like many businesses, is brand awareness and gaining customers. The bidding war between the larger firms is a classic example of Economics. But, the niche specific markets have proven to help smaller firms effectively gain traction within the cloud space market.

To give you an idea, here’s how smaller cloud providers score BIG points within their fields:

  • Customer Handling or Relationship Building
  • Specialization
  • Customization and Tailored Services
  • Innovation

Overall, these four key components are what make the ultimate difference.

Businesses are no longer paying for a utility like service – they’re investing in a solution. Similar to dating, but instead of thumbing through tender, you’ve committed yourself to one person versus dating someone new every week; the solution-based model removes the “transaction” like experience and helps pave the way for a long-term relationship. We break it down even further for you below.

Breaking it down further

Customer relations: Large firms do not have the time to give individual attention to each customer. They can’t cater to every customer’s unique need or spend hours dealing going over their service with them. Their methods are more formal and professional. The customers have to go through a chain of people instead of directly dealing with the person in charge. In other words, you pay me for this service; I provide you the service – end of discussion. Smaller firms, on the other hand, focus more on relationship building so they can retain their clients. Their dealings are more intimate because the people in charge are usually the ones handling the client’s requests. Also, smaller firms have fewer clients giving them the ability to spend more time with each customer.

Specialization: Small firms are more focused and are providing one service; unlike larger firms who are producing numerous services and products. Not only does specialization give smaller firms an advantage, allowing them to develop the most effective strategies and streamlining production, it also helps them achieve economies of scale.

Customization: Larger firms usually have a generic service with fixed rates that are functional for all their clients. Smaller firms, on the other hand, need to do more to survive in the market, which allows them the upper hand. Smaller firms can “tailor make” their cloud services based on the customer’s needs, budget, requirements, and the industry they are operating in.

Innovation: If you offer the same thing that everyone else is offering then why would customer select you? Innovative products and services are the name of the game and help establish a small firms mark. Giving them a leg up on offering unique services.

All of these points are where small cloud providers and cloud computing startups can create the highest value. Working on these areas is key to thriving within the market. Firms that are already focusing on improving these areas are seen taking more considerable strides in the cloud computing market.

Are you already a cloud provider? Expand your network by joining our cloud marketplace.

Cloud Application Management: 7 Useful Tools

Cloud system management is likely to become more challenging for cloud businesses in the upcoming months and years. Despite the various issues associated with cloud management, businesses – big or small, are adopting cloud-based systems at an enormous rate. Cloud applications have made life easier and given the real-time phenomenon that fosters enhanced collaboration and the work-from-anywhere model. Though end-user accessibility may be simple, monitoring cloud applications from an IT perspective is still complex. Below, we explain those complexities and what makes each of them a daunting task.  

Silo Management Anyone? 

Given the divided control onto the cloud services, it has become quite challenging for IT staff in any business to manage the cloud in its entirety. In addition to the cloud management systems that are set to deploy in silos, the various management tools in the market make it even more appalling to handle. Cloud management tools from renowned vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, and HP are flooding the market, but are usually specific to particular hardware. Similar to a mousetrap, you can’t buy one without adapting to the other. However, workload in case of the cloud applications is not tied to a specific device, which makes deployment of such management tools a complicated and tedious process.   

The complexity of Public Cloud  

Moreover, public cloud vendors have provided a range of their management tools and options, to manage the services extended through their cloud. The limitation here is that these tools are usually specific to a platform, making cloud application system management more complicated. Tools specific to cloud management are also on the rise, making overall management manifold and expensive at the same time.  The notion of cloud managed services being a cheap alternative has remained a myth to date, especially when it comes to cloud application management.   

Keeping Up With Change 

Cloud application management can be worked out if businesses learn to embrace this increasing commotion in the industry. If a company deals with multiple cloud applications, the first step to accepting the change will be identifying each application and its respective management requirements and tools. Once your MSP or IT department investigates their requirements, your staff has to make sure that the business opts for these variable tools. It is crucial for companies to keep up with emerging management tools in the market and work with these to take control of cloud management.  

Despite these three difficult hurdles, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Based on current cloud monitoring tools, we’ve compiled a list of useful management products that can come in handy. Some are full-stack enterprise solutions whereas others are specialized tools for companies of all sizes.  

To help isolate your needs, we tagged them for easy identification by the following keywords: 

  1. Enterprise 
  1. SMB (Small/Medium Size Business) 
  1. APM (Application Performance Monitoring) 
  1. SaaS (Monitoring tools like Office365 and Salesforce) 
  1. Infrastructure (Cloud, Virtual, and Physical) 
  1. Network 
  1. Platform 
  1. Microservices 
  1. Security 
  1. Microsoft (Specialized) 
  1. Google (Specialized) 
  1. Amazon (Specialized) 

Cloud Monitoring Tools 

  • Microsoft Cloud Monitoring  Using Azure to run your web apps? Microsoft may be the right solution for you. Microsoft provides an in-depth snapshot of your web application performance by providing log analysis, application monitoring, and security alerts. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, APM, SaaS, Infrastructure, Network, Platform, Microservices, Security, and Microsoft. 

  • CA Technologies  – CA Tech offers an enterprise-level, full-stack monitoring, and management solution for businesses with public, private, or hybrid clouds. Making it an easy one-stop-shop for administrators. Their tools can help you do everything from monitor user experiences on your web app, to securing and scaling your operations. 

TAGS: Enterprise, APM, SaaS, Infrastructure, Network, Platform, Microservices, and Security. 

  1. VMware Hyperic – This management system monitors your infrastructure; both the physical and virtual forms, as well as provides monitoring for your OS, middleware, and web apps. The dashboard and reporting features maintain SLA-compliance levels and send alerts when they are close to being breached. Additionally, Dell, one of the leading server virtualization companies in VMware, owns it. 

TAGS: Enterprise, APM, Infrastructure, Platform, Microservices, and Security. 

  • AppNeta  – Earned the spotlight as the highest rated Network Performance Monitoring tool by Gartner, in 2017.  This savvy resource not only works across all cloud platforms, it also gives you insight into resource usage, app delivery, and user experience.  

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, APM, SaaS, Infrastructure, and Network. 

  • Amazon CloudWatch – If you’re on AWS then Amazon CloudWatch is your best option. Their management system gives you the ability to monitor application metrics, log files, and quickly react to changes in your AWS resources. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, Platform, Security, and Amazon 

  • Redgate  – If your teams use SQL Server, .NET, or Azure then this may be the right monitoring tool for you. Redgate’s specialty focuses on developing better apps. From SQL Monitor to .NET Profilers, to their Azure migration services, they are a one-stop shop for Microsoft stacks. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, Platform, and Microsoft. 

  • Stackdriver  – Native to Google Cloud products, Stackdriver provides monitoring, logging, and logistics for apps on both Google Cloud and AWS. Its full-stack provisioning insights allow you aggregate all data across cloud platforms. 

TAGS: Enterprise, SMB, APM, SaaS, Platform, Security, Google, and Amazon. 

 

If companies are looking to enhance their cloud application management capabilities, it is mandatory that they embrace any and all changes being introduced in the market and develop disciplined management tools for their multiple cloud applications.  Given the 7 choices to select from above, we hope you’ve found this article useful.

For additional help with managing your systems check out our Managed Network Service options. 

Managed Services: The Significance of Monitoring Systems

Proactive and reliable system monitoring has become increasingly crucial as part of network managing services. With the advent of high capacity and enhanced performance systems, managing the complexity of IT technologies has become even more challenging. To gain a competitive edge in the market and to keep one-step ahead of competitors, robust system monitoring has become the need of many businesses. Below are the top four reasons why monitoring your business applications and systems is important for a company.

1. Boost Your Productivity and Performance

System monitoring can help with the measurement of current performance as well as the identification of areas that are in dire need of improvement. So, you can help boost the overall performance of the system by identifying and touching-up these areas. Rather than stepping up and solving issues as soon as they occur, a pre-planning phase can help the system become less vulnerable to disruptions and threats.

2. Upgrades Can Be Pre-Planned

Monitoring is yet another way of keeping a close eye on the necessary or relevant updates required. This pre-planning phase can save you time and effort later when an upgrade becomes due. The proper inventory may be kept in place for such technological upgrades, saving you from any sort of last-minute and/or unexpected changes.

3. Reduce Downtime

Downtimes are severe for a seamless and uninterrupted user experience, which makes it all the more essential to monitor the IT infrastructure intermittently. To avoid disruptions and downtime, a proactive approach to system monitoring is fundamental. Learning from past experiences and detecting problems before they occur can help you make informed decisions and achieve peak performance.

4. Detect Problems In Advance

With system monitoring in place, failure patterns may be detected and comprehended in advance. This priority detection will result in resolving the problem without impacting the end users and their performance. Any and all warning signs and cues may be picked up while monitoring to ensure they are fixed in time as well as a seamless end-user experience.

As they say, caution is better than a cure. Now that you are aware of the whys, it’s time to consider adopting a proper system monitoring protocol.

By adopting a consistent system monitoring exercise, businesses can ensure a robust IT infrastructure that functions perfectly well, without distorting the end user experience. In addition to this, problems and issues may be identified prior to unnecessary and tedious downtimes, saving both cost and effort. Detection of problems helps with creating contingency plans that may be used as a back-up, to avoid system halts.

For additional help with managing your systems check out our Managed Network Service options.

Three Advantages of Using Carrier Ethernet for Your Business

With the use of VoIP and Unified Communication leading to an increase in data transfer, the pressure on WAN (Wide Area Network) has increased, testing the durability of legacy technologies, for instance, frame relay. This led IT decision-makers to look for highly cost-effective substitutes for legacy services. It is due to their research that Carrier Ethernet has emerged as one of the most feasible and practical options for businesses looking forward to upgrading their communication processes, data storage and various other important aspects of the company.

Following are three essential advantages your business will gain from the use of Carrier Ethernet:

  1. Very Flexible Bandwidth

Carrier Ethernet offers superior bandwidth scalability for huge organizations. It can quickly switch between 10, 100 to 1000 Mbps for the companies that opt for it. The bandwidth can also be scaled without having the service provider visiting the site. All of the required adjustments can be made by using the software used to control it, located at the Network Operations Center (NOC).

  1. Lower Expenses

Carrier Ethernet provides services at a lower price per MBPS, which increases the value for those with a high bandwidth connectivity. Moreover, Carrier Ethernet is also readily available for most locations.

  1. Simple To Implement and Manage

Numerous IT department specialists are experts in Carrier Ethernet service. It is also known to be one of the fastest and expedient alternatives, providing archaic solutions to the users. Carrier Ethernet also comes equipped with innovative tools, which give the users with complete control and the visibility required to perfect the performance of large-scale enterprises that they are working for. This also makes troubleshooting and the system monitoring process a lot easier.

For those working in the field related to Information Technology, Carrier Ethernet is one of the best options to go for. Not only is it fast and simple to use, but you also get reliability at the most affordable prices found on the market.   Want more connectivity options? Get a FREE fiber map of your service area!

Carrier Ethernet: 4 Reasons Why You Should Be Using It

In this highly modern and tech-savvy world, one needs to go well beyond the standard technological differences and difficulties and focus on the advancements in the field of it. This modernization has tipped the scales in favor of LAN converted WAN technology, Carrier Ethernet. Carrier Ethernet has emerged as one of the most feasible and practical options for companies who are looking to upgrade their communication systems, data storage, and various other communication aspects of the business that require internet.

Here are some of the advantages of using Carrier Ethernet:

  1. Better Security

Carrier Ethernet facilities offer the users greater security than MPLS in numerous scenarios. The delivery switch present in the Carrier Ethernet service functions at Layer 2, and the in-band control channel is VLAN (Virtual LAN), which is not accessible through the Layer 3 network. This means that your system is safe from threats of potential hackers.

  1. Improved Scalability

By employing a flexible fiber networking apparatus, carriers can, every so often, give customers a request, for instance, a 100-megabit connection on every 1-gigabit port. However, with Carrier Ethernet, the ability to scale the bandwidth is multiplied by 9, which makes it up to 900 megabits each second. VARs can also additionally help clientele meet business requirements swiftly, without the necessity for extra onsite equipment, as their capacity needs increases.

  1. Data Center Connectivity

Businesses that are searching for high-speed services required to connect data centers prefer using the Ethernet connections, as the maximum obtainable bandwidth is usually ten gigabits per second over fiber links, with the choice in most occasions to far surpass this “ceiling.”

  1. Simplicity of Use

Beyond the numerous benefits of an end to end, LAN to WAN, Carrier Ethernet network, traffic does not have to compete for often-fluctuating bandwidth. While MPLS can use QoS to allocate priorities to complex traffic types to cope with network overcrowding, this is very time-consuming. Alternatively, Carrier Ethernet WAN connections have VLANs, which can be easily created as well as dedicated to prioritizing the traffic flow, and thus, businesses obtain numerous benefits from the copious bandwidth, minus overcrowding and conflict concerns. Users can expect less dormancy as well.

Want more connectivity options? Get a FREE fiber map of your service area!

SYS-CON TV with Paul Mako CTO of Massive Networks

Pau Mako, CTO and CEO of Massive Networks, joins Roger Struckhoff from SYS-CON TV at the Cloud Expo event in sunny San Jose, to discuss how Massive Networks utilizes Carrier Ethernet, a private layer-2 technology, to traverse data over the internet for its customers.

Carrier Ethernet = Fast, Simple, & Efficient Networking

Massive maintains a meshed global footprint through intelligent route traffic that traverses across all major Internet Carriers.

We design from the ground up to minimize latency and maximize availability using state of the art carrier grade routing equipment all the way up to the last mile to extend your reach to almost anywhere.

Massive Networks uses Carrier Ethernet to turn Last Mile Solutions into National and International LANs. Extending your LAN from any location to all other locations along with SaaS providers, IaaS Providers, and cloud providers all on the same pipe as your internet connections.

Quick Fact

“Up to 52% of IT professionals have stated that they are planning on switching to LAN over WAN.”

Easily convert your enterprises’ entire footprint nationally and internationally piece-by-piece with no major overhaul needed: “All Ethernet, All the time”.

To learn more, contact us!

One Port, Many Connects: Connectivity to the Cloud

Why Focus on Direct Connection when there is Internet Access?

Cloud computing offers businesses a wide variety of solutions for their information sharing and storage needs. Most companies are now relying on a cloud-connect that gives them access to cloud application services. Most IT departments will carefully evaluate the pros and cons of whether a direct connection to cloud services is the right way to do things or if an internet connection is enough.

There IS a simple way!

If you want a stable and reliable way of managing your cloud, then direct access to your cloud server is the way to go. Your business will be more productive, secure, cost-effective and reliable if you have immediate access to your cloud server.

Direct connectivity allows businesses to manage their cloud through a dedicated private cloud connection making it more secure than a public internet connection. There are several benefits to companies if they rely on a direct cloud access. For example, the data transfer speeds are exceptional, there are lower latencies with private direct cloud services but with more security as compared with an internet connection.

High Performance with Low Latency

Businesses must use a direct connection to their clouds for a consistently high performance. Your company will have a consistent throughput and productivity. When replacing long-haul Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MLPS) with short distance connection that gives direct access to servers that are geographically dispersed and in proximity to large numbers of users around the globe. Using an interconnection, colocation service provider and cloud computing providers are viable solutions.

Risk Mitigation and Security

Direct connection offers encryption that is much more secure than a public internet encryption. A direct connection is risk-free and considerably safer than an open connection. Avoiding hacking risks during critical workload time is susceptible to a direct link. Businesses can reduce their security breaches while handling sensitive data if they have a private and direct access to cloud services.

Cost Effective with Predictable Service

Direct connection to the cloud will give businesses a reliable source for sharing data during heavy congestion and outages. IT managers will have more control over the routes through which data is transferred. Direct cloud access gives companies more flexibility in their network, which is appropriately managed. The result of flexible network saves the company from losing revenue by network breach if you have direct access from your cloud-hosting providers.

Business usually segments their sensitive data when sending it through private connections near cloud services. A company can reduce their cost of network bandwidth and rely on local network peers that are cost-effective when cloud-based services provide you with direct access.

To learn more about direct connectivity to cloud services, check out our Cloud Exchange Connect – where all your services are connected!

Colocation: Cost Breakdown

Getting to Know Colocation

In the digital age, sharing and storing information is starting to become a challenge for companies. Most companies want to have access to reliable and cost-effective hosting. Colocation also termed as Colo, is a method of keeping servers and networking equipment in a data center, operated by a third party.

Cost of Colocation Services

The colocation fees depend on the hosting that your business requires. Each data center has a unique pricing policy. Whatever decision you take, consider that hiring a colocation center is usually cheaper than managing your own data center. Businesses can choose from Private, Public or Hybrid Colocation services. The colocation cost will vary according to the services provided. Below is an in-depth breakdown of the positive and negatives of each variation.

When do you need a Private Colocation?

Private colocation can provide businesses with an opportunity to have better economies of scale by high-density equipment. This kind of service will provide you with a dedicated rack space. Your business will usually get all the cooling equipment, very high bandwidth, CCTV monitoring for increased security, backup options and uninterruptible power supply in case of a power failure. The colocation fees will depend on the services provided by the private data center. Private colocation is one of the best services, but the costs are usually higher as compared to public and hybrid colocation. 

Private Cloud Summary

  • Positives: Highly secure, tailored to your compliance needs, more control, and more flexibility.
  • Negatives: Can be more expensive to manage.
  • Cost: $500 – $3000 per month (including hidden fees)

How about a Virtual Colocation and How Much Does it Cost?

When your business aims to reduce your capital expenditures while searching for a reliable colocation service provider with access to the in-house technical ability to organize your virtual resources. If these points cover your needs, then you should select a Virtual colocation service that allows you to deploy your virtual servers. The data center can allocate different resources for you using a secure virtual private network.

Hybrid Cloud Summary

  • Positives: Highly secure, scalable, and cost-effective.
  • Negatives: Can be difficult to manage.
  • Cost: $500-$1500 per month (including hidden fees)

Public Colocation Service and its Cost

Public Colocation is a recommended method for companies to resolve their storage problems. Instead of keeping large, expensive servers in-house that require a complete staff for operations. Companies are now focusing to co-locate their privately owned servers to data centers by renting out their space at a colocation site. In this type of service, the clients do not need to manage their data and equipment. The management of the data center is responsible for maintenance and management of data. The colocation Colorado fees depend on the subscription and service type you choose.

Public Cloud Summary

  • Positives: Public cloud deployments are inexpensive, scalable, and quick to deploy.
  • Negatives: Not as secure, at times not compliant, can be difficult to manage.
  • Cost: $500-$1000 per month (including hidden fees)

Colocation Wrap Up

Overall some organizations don’t want the hassle, others simply don’t have the bandwidth to provide a proper environment for their infrastructure or staff to support it. Breaking down all of the elements in play with a proper solution for your business, the price ranges listed above are what you can expect to include in your IT expenses.

To learn more about Colocation Services see our Data Center Direct Connect services.