Enabling Connected Data Communities

Digital Realty presents an industry manifesto for next-generation open interconnection

By Chris Sharp, Chief Technology Officer, Digital Realty Advisory Board Member, Cloudscene

Published in Issue 6 | April 2021

The global pandemic has fast-forwarded the digital transformation efforts of organizations around the world. Companies had to fundamentally shift their corporate strategies. Having fueled their digital transformation, in turn, companies started embracing the digital economy with open arms.

2020 accelerated digital adoption by both consumers and businesses. According to McKinsey, digital adoption was vaulted five years forward by May 2020. With data volumes growing exponentially, it becomes fundamental to solve Data Gravity barriers brought on by digital transformation. In March 2020, we laid out an industry manifesto detailing an open platform approach to interconnection to help companies worldwide tackle the challenge of Data Gravity.

The term ‘Data Gravity’ was first coined by my colleague Dave McCrory and refers to the process of data accumulation attracting additional services and applications to the data—the same way gravity attracts objects around a planet. (This was covered as an in-depth “Cover Story” in a previous issue of InterGlobix Magazine.) If left unattended in an increasingly digital world, Data Gravity creates issues. It can lead to inhibited workflow performance and impeded customer experience, expanded security risks and increased costs for companies, among other downfalls, in various spheres like retail banking, healthcare, IT (of course) and e-commerce.

REMOVING DATA GRAVITY BARRIERS

Our PlatformDIGITAL® solution model creates a decentralized IT architecture and removes barriers of Data Gravity. As a result, it provides a way forward for businesses of all sizes across the world. This year in 2021, we are taking the next step to connect global communities around their most strategic asset—data. Our new, collaborative roadmap for PlatformDIGITAL® now integrates interconnection platforms with multiple partners to build the industry’s largest open fabric of fabrics connecting centers of data. This approach requires local copies of private, shared and public data sets to be integrated as part of decentralized workflows. These originate and traverse across multiple internal and external platforms, with policy enforcement controls, real-time analytics and interactive cross-platform orchestration. We have laid out a Digital Realty manifesto that outlines the vision for a new approach. It is one that goes beyond cross connects and traditional interconnection backhaul to pave the way for an age of open, pervasively connected data communities colocated at centers of data. The role we will play will be that of an industry steward. We will enable companies across the world to plug into to a connected data community.

DATA-CENTRIC ARCHITECTURE

Data Gravity forces a shift to a data-centric architecture, where data is at the center of the architecture and integration is the challenge. Local copies of private, shared and public data sets need to be integrated as part of decentralized workflows which originate and traverse across multiple internal and external platforms, with the ability to support policy enforcement controls, real time analytics and interactive cross-platform orchestration. To defy data gravity and enable connected data communities requires the implementation of a data-centric architecture. Putting data at the center of the architecture requires the integration of the core, cloud and edge at centers of data to enable data exchange across multiple platforms, providers and workflow participants.

SUPPORTING CUSTOMERS’ DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

With the constant evolution of our PlatformDIGITAL® roadmap to emphasize data-centric architecture and enhanced interconnection capabilities, we are adding new locations, connectivity and control capabilities for our customers. Our recent announcement that we will integrate the engineering team from Pureport adds new native in-house software development capabilities. This will help further our vision of building open, SDNenabled cross platform orchestration with multiple industry platforms. We are also enhancing our global partnership with Megaport for our Service Exchange offering. We will continue to collaborate on open orchestration and to accelerate integration with Interxion’s Cloud Connect interconnection product in the EMEA region.