This Industry Viewpoint was authored by Frank Cittadino, SVP of Edge Services at Zayo
The transition to a digital-first society has accelerated rapidly in the past several years. With more work happening remotely and people connecting through online channels, navigating life in a dispersed world has made consumers more dependent on digital technologies.
As companies imagine their digital experience for both customers and employees, they are adopting more next-generation technologies, including automation driven by artificial intelligence (AI), application performance enabled by a multi-cloud footprint of which will require network infrastructure and solutions that can support their data demands. Because these technologies lean heavily on cloud services and edge computing, businesses will need a network they can count on to keep these technologies functioning at peak capacity at the edge, in the core or in the cloud.
The Importance of the Cloud in Digital Transformation
The cloud, which enables the storage, processing and access of data over the internet, has been central to the digital transformation era, providing businesses with immeasurable scale and flexibility. As a result, enterprises have continued to adopt cloud infrastructure at fast rates, with Gartner analysts predicting more than 85% of organizations will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025.
Multi-cloud networking is instrumental in providing businesses with long-haul data speeds and the ability to deliver services anytime, anywhere — capabilities crucial for next-generation technologies.
Take for example autonomous vehicles. More industries like ride-sharing and food delivery are turning to autonomous vehicles to reduce costs and improve efficiency. In fact, the driverless car market is expected to surpass 65 million units by 2030. Like many emerging technologies, these self-driving cars generate vast amounts of data (at least 4 terabytes per vehicle each day). As a result, self-driving cars require cloud infrastructure to process and offload that data in real-time so critical functions aren’t interrupted.
But a significant problem that stems from off-site data processing is high latency. An autonomous vehicle requires constant access to the cloud to ensure its operations run smoothly and safely. Added latency only creates unnecessary delays to networks, disrupting the car’s performance and increasing the risk of an accident. Having a fast and responsive network is paramount to cloud infrastructure working effectively, which is key for powering digital transformation.
How Edge Networking Can Remedy Latency Issues
Reducing latency and improving data processing starts with pushing data processing closer to the edge. With edge computing, data is processed, stored and analyzed close to where it’s generated instead of over the internet or at a data center. This enables real-time analysis and response that helps emerging technologies become quicker, more intelligent and safer.
Enterprises that use cloud and edge capabilities to fuel next-generation technologies need a network infrastructure that can handle data demands. But how can they find the right provider for them and their business needs?
3 Criteria for Choosing the Right Network Provider
When looking for the right network provider, it can be easy to get distracted by the various options available. Before choosing a provider, consider these three criteria:
- Ensure the Provider’s Network Can Reach the Edge
A business going through digital transformation requires a network that can reach the edge and enhance next-gen tech operations. Companies with edge capabilities can also run applications with the most critical reliability, real-time and data requirements directly on-site, furthering digital transformation efforts and ushering in future innovations, products and services.
- Verify the Provider’s Network Can Support the Specific Digital Transformation Efforts Within a Company
Remember that network providers aren’t one size fits all; some providers specialize in specific services, which means they may not be right for every enterprise. Ideally, the network provider should have robust solutions in the edge to accommodate rapid data processing, a low latency core network and a vast array of integrations with cloud providers. All of this together ensures that clients have the ability to create a flexible architecture that meets their needs.
- Confirm the Provider’s Network has High Capacity and Path Optimization to Reach the Cloud
- Ensure the Provider’s Network Can Reach the Edge
Because technologies like AI, internet of things (IoT), 5G and machine learning — which are and will continue to be the building blocks for the next stage of technology innovation — require large amounts of data to travel back and forth from the business edge to the cloud, having the correct path is essential. Path optimization lowers latency and lets these technologies operate at peak performance without interruption. For enterprises to have a chance against their competitors in the digital, real-time era, they must scale their capacity as well. The network provider chosen should have high capacity and path optimization that can support an enterprise’s digital transformation efforts.
As more businesses look to enhance the digital experience for their customers, partners and employees, digital transformation shows no signs of slowing down. To guarantee the critical functionality of the next stage of technology innovation isn’t interrupted, enterprises must invest in network infrastructure that can support the large data demands of each solution. By ensuring a network can reach the edge, verifying its compatibility with an enterprise’s needs and confirming that it possesses high capacity and path optimization, enterprises can be sure they have infrastructure that successfully supports next-generation technologies and their journey into digital transformation.
About the Author
Frank Cittadino is the SVP of Edge Services at Zayo. Prior to this role, he served as the CEO of QOS Networks, which was recently acquired by Zayo. He is an industry thought leader and has successfully steered strategy and technology evolution across every position he’s held. During his tenure at QOS Networks, Cittadino held multiple leadership roles, including EVP of Client Solutions, where he had the responsibility of shaping QOS Networks into a service and customer-centric organization.
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