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The Paradigm Shift 5G Will Bring

This Blogpost was written by Eric Boonstra, MD of EvoSwitch

 

Although it is still a few years away, the mobile telecommunications industry is already abuzz with plans and visions for a 5G world. Slowly a picture is starting to emerge that promises to have deep impact on business models and the technologies that drive them. Many expect it to become the enabler of a truly connected world, of people and specifically, ‘things’.

 

The Internet of Things Enabler

As is often the case with new standards still in development, 5G means different things based on who you ask. Mobile operators, producers of hand sets, governments all have different interpretations. Sticking to specifics, these are some of the goals of 5G that are broadly supported and will have a big impact, especially on the Internet of Things (IoT):

 

Increased data volume

Low latency

Faster data transfer speeds

More devices per square kilometer

Energy efficiency

 

When studying the above aspects of what 5G will bring, it’s clear to see that IoT has been at the center of the development. To start, 5G will enable file transfers that are 1,000 times bigger than under current 4G, without performance impact. Consider that currently, an Airbus A350 comes equipped with close to 6,000 sensors across its body and wings, generating a staggering 2.5Tb of data each day of flight. Its successor in the same A350 model due for commercial service in 2020 will have three times more sensors collecting data.

5G will reduce latency, mostly in the connection between the endpoint device and the base station it is connected to. This will enable (near) real time control of applications on the same network, or elsewhere connected via the Internet.

Faster data transfers have always be the most noteable improvement with each generation of mobile communications. For 5G, it will mean 1-10Gbps (topping out at an incredible 20Gbps) connections to endpoint devices in the field, more speed than most current fixed broadband Internet offers.

The amount of devices that can concurrently communicate with base stations is a very important feature of 5G, important for IoT applications. Some estimates come to one million devices per square kilometer. Imagine the impact on logistics, where now packages are scanned at intermittent hops in the delivery process, to packages that communicate independently about their exact location.

To close off the list, improved energy efficiency will mean an improved action radius for applications, giving applications bigger autonomy between charges.

The impact will be felt in all sectors of IT. Logistics, Robotics, Big Data, Business Intelligence, immediately come to mind and will all have an enormous opportunity to prepare for in the coming years. Ubiquitous broadband connectivity for millions of mobile endpoints, starting in major cities, transport hubs and highways and gradually finding its way to all corners of a truly interconnected economy.

 

Impact On Data Centers

This impact will most certainly be felt in the data center industry, seen as a primary benefactor of this oncoming tidal wave of data. To be sure, a big chunk will go straight to big public clouds, interconnected at Edge data centers like EvoSwitch. But for companies to analyze, and take real time decisions, many organizations will look to hybrid cloud deployments at those same data centers to compute and store part of the data at least in a secure, scalable and compliant fashion.

“We believe that data center operators that provide interconnected, scalable, compliant and secure environments for organizations to build and host their Hybrid IT environments, stand to gain from the opportunity that is the Internet of Things,” agrees Andy Lawrence, Research Vice President – Data Center Technologies & Eco-Efficient IT at 451 Research and writer of ‘5G: Innovation, disruption and opportunity ahead’.

Finally, the term ‘mobile endpoint’ seems apt. In a human-driven mobile world that focuses mostly on pulling data, i.e. downloading content to a smart phone or tablet, the term has evolved from mobile phone to handheld device and we are now at ‘endpoint device’, but it still puts human control central. Under 5G, we will talk more of mobile endpoints, because SIM cards will appear everywhere and quickly overtake us as the prominent users. Who controls those SIMs, and whether they will be reprogrammable or not, will also play an important part in the enablement of the Internet of Things in the years to come.

 

Eric Boonstra, MD EvoSwitch

Download the complimentary 451 Research report here.

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Security for the modern business

This guest post is written by Andy Hardy, Managing Director EMEA for Code42. It was featured as an opinion piece on Computable on 12 June, 2015.

 

Today’s threat landscape is ever expanding, increasingly complex and consistently evolving. No business can ever be 100% secure in this environment, so the concept of building a bigger, stronger security perimeter offers no guarantees. The modern CIO and CISO realise that detection and remediation must now take precedence. They must form a key part of an enterprise security strategy, especially as security breaches are more a question of when rather than if.

 

The enlightened CIO and CISO, however, go one step beyond detection. They understand that endpoint data backup goes beyond just shifting data from A to B. In the current enterprise landscape, with its sophisticated security needs and mobile workforce, IT and security leaders realise that endpoint data protection is about giving companies real insight into corporate data. This includes a view of what’s happening on individual endpoint devices, no matter where they are, in near real-time.

 

To this end, today’s innovative and proactive CIOs and CISOs look for tools that can do the following:

 

  1. Deliver near real-time insight into data. The majority of enterprise data today is held on devices outside of the data centre. It is found at the endpoint – desktops, laptops and other mobile devices – with users that are constantly on the road, outside of the traditional enterprise perimeter. This makes data not only vulnerable but also hard to keep track of. The right endpoint data protection tool, such as CrashPlan from Code42, will allow the enterprise not only to protect data by backing it up, but also to find out when it is created, changed or deleted, by whom and from where. The ultimate solution does this silently from the cloud, in the background without ever asking the end user to proactively engage with it – it just needs to run seamlessly.

 

  1. Actively prevent access to sensitive information. With increasing reports of data breaches in the enterprise, data needs to be protected at all costs. Today, the CISO will admit that multi-factor authentication is the way forward. The best endpoint backup and sync/share tools use it to add a layer of security that makes access by attackers more difficult. Yet, only 37% of today’s organisations use multi-factor authentication, leaving themselves at risk.

 

  1. Go beyond compliance to regulation. With true globalisation of businesses and the rapid adoption of cloud services, endpoint data protection tools also have a role to play in helping you to go beyond compliance and meet regulation. Compliance alone is not enough. Take the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This regulation will harmonise and strengthen the current data protection laws in place across the EU member states. Essentially, it will mandate the way in which data is handled and where it is kept. Simply contracting with a US company that has built data centres in Europe will not keep your data safe. This is due to the USA PATRIOT Act. If requested, your data centre provider may still have to hand over your company’s data to third parties, such as the US National Security Agency (NSA). Your endpoint data protection solution should allow that to happen, of course. But with the right solution, such as CrashPlan, you hold the encryption keys, not your cloud data storage provider. Therefore, without your consent and individual access keys, third parties such as the NSA may be able to access your data in de-regulated form, but will not be able to decipher it. This will keep your business and your customers comfortable and secure – all while helping you to meet local / EU data privacy regulations.

 

  1. Commit to constant innovation. Whatever endpoint data protection product your business chooses, you have to ensure it is, as you are, committed to innovation. Your service provider should constantly be developing its product, with the key focus on driving better, more connected security throughout your organisation

 

Security for the modern business is of course about more than just the tools. Endpoint security should not just be seen as preventative. Instead it allows businesses to be competitive in the marketplace and unleashes their true potential. How can a simple security measure do that? Well, the reality is that having the right strategy, tools and people in place will free up the CIO and CISO from one more burden. This will give them time to help deliver new projects that could give your business a competitive edge in the market. They can focus on enabling the new devices your business needs, BYOD or virtualisation projects they need to undertake – all without worrying how they will protect the data once it has left the enterprise perimeter.

 

Ultimately, the right endpoint data protection and security tools in combination with a forward-thinking security strategy is an opportunity for the CIO and CISO to step into the light and drive for the modern business.

 

Read about Code42’s choice for EvoSwitch to accompany their European expansion strategy here.

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Naar een open interconnected hybride cloud

De vraag naar en aanbod van clouddiensten versnelt. Amsterdam en Nederland kunnen een leidende rol nemen binnen Europa, mits providers van datacenterdiensten inzien dat er een neutrale partner nodig is om alle clouds, service providers en bedrijven met elkaar te verbinden, ongeacht bij welk datacenter ze fysiek staan met hun infrastructuur.

Er wordt veel geschreven over de opkomst van cloud computing, de vroege adoptie ervan door midden- en kleinbedrijf en hoe cloud computing zijn intrede begint de vinden binnen grotere bedrijven en organisaties. Bij EvoSwitch zien we een opmerkelijke stijging in het aantal private en publieke clouds in zijn datacenters, gemeten in afgenomen stroom en ruimte als wel in glasvezelverbindingen tussen klanten.

Drie soorten cloud

Publieke cloud, private cloud en hybride cloud zijn grofweg de drie categorieën waarin cloud valt in te delen. De voordelen van elk zijn duidelijk omlijnd. Publieke cloud is ideaal voor doeleinden waar lage tco, snelheid van provisioning en lage data compliancy eisen gelden. Private cloud leent zich beter voor applicaties en data die latency-gevoelig zijn en waarvoor strengere eisen gelden ten aanzien van compliancy of privacy regelgeving. Hybride cloud tot slot is een oplossing die publieke cloud en private cloud verenigt. De applicaties of data zit in één van de twee type clouds, en kan gebruikt worden door applicaties, of kan data gebruiken die in een andere type cloud zitten. Het voordeel is dat de organisatie van beide kanten de vruchten kan plukken en zo met de beste mix van performance, TCO en compliancy kan bouwen.

Wat is de beste plek voor een bedrijf om een hybride cloud fysiek neer te zetten? Er zijn meerdere antwoorden, maar als het doel is een cloudomgeving te bouwen die op termijn uitgebouwd moet kunnen worden met meerdere type clouds, of waarbij de ene cloud provider snel moet kunnen worden vervangen door een andere (denk aan de prijzenoorlog tussen de grote publieke cloud providers), dan komt een provider van ‘carrier-neutrale’ datacenterdiensten al snel naar voren.

Carrier neutrale datacenters

De rol van ‘neutrale’ datacenters is aan flinke evolutie onderhevig. Historisch gezien waren het de datacenters ‘aan de rand van het internet’, waar grote content providers hun netwerken verbinden met lokale Internet service providers. Hoe dichter content bij de eindgebruikers staat, verenigd in de isp-netwerken, hoe beter de ervaring in het bekijken van bijvoorbeeld Youtube-videos. Omdat de datacenters zelf geen connectiviteit van en naar het datacenter aanboden, waren het ideale plekken voor netwerk service providers om hun diensten aan te bieden. Zo is de term ‘carrier-neutraal’ ontstaan.

Die interactie tussen internet-gerelateerde netwerken, aan de content- en aan de isp-kant, was lange tijd de focus van carrier-neutrale datacenters over de hele wereld waar het internet doordrong. Maar er was een ander soort partij die ervoor zorgde dat de relatie tussen datacenter en internetbedrijven sterk de nadruk kreeg in de afgelopen vijftien jaar: de neutrale internet exchanges, die verspreid over heel Europa in de grote (hoofd)steden, waar internationale telecomnetwerken samenkwamen, hun netwerken uitrolden over een aantal met elkaar concurrerende datacenters. Zij verbonden alle partijen in een virtuele laag bovenop de onderliggende datacenters.

Zonder deze internet exchanges had de groei beslist anders geweest, en had Amsterdam een kleinere rol op het internet gehad dan nu het geval is. In Nederland is de Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) als aanjager van het aantrekken van internetbedrijven naar Amsterdam zelfs uitgegroeid tot de grootste internet exchange ter wereld.

Doordat met elkaar concurrerende datacenters een rol gaven aan internet exchanges, werden steden als Amsterdam aantrekkelijk voor grote content providers en andere Internetbedrijven om hun netwerken te bouwen. Doordat de internet exchange alle datacenters met elkaar verbond, ontstond er keus voor internetbedrijven waar zich te vestigen, omdat men onafhankelijk van de fysieke locatie, zich kon verbinden met alle andere aanwezige netwerken. Daarmee kreeg de concurrentie tussen de datacenters een impuls, die zich over de jaren vertaalde in een toonaangevende rol voor Amsterdam in de wereld als vestigingsplaats voor Internetbedrijven. Dit heeft op zijn beurt weer een indirect positief effect op de economische ontwikkeling van Amsterdam binnen Europa als ‘digital mainport’.

Waarom is dit belangrijk te weten? Welnu, een segment dat voor deze carrier-neutrale datacenters lange tijd op de achtergrond lag, was enterprise. Immers, de vraag naar datacenterruimte werd ruimschoots opgepikt door Internetbedrijven, die bovendien een ecosysteem vormden met elkaar binnen het datacenter, wat voor een aanzuigende werking zorgde op dat segment. Het bedrijfsleven buiten het internet lag tot aan de de doorbraak van cloud bij de meeste datacenters veel minder in het vizier.

Het wiel opnieuw uitvinden?

Hybride cloud maakt van het enterprise segment een speler in een cloud ecosysteem, waarbij cloud providers, managed service providers, system integrators en bedrijven samenkomen en cloudoplossingen bouwen. Vanuit een neutraal datacenter, waar netwerk providers hen kunnen transporteren naar clouds van Microsoft, Amazon en Google, of binnen het datacenter zelf via glasvezelverbindingen naar lokale dependances van deze clouds of ‘nationale’ clouds.

Wat opvalt aan de datacenter kant is dat het succesvolle model van een neutrale internet exchange die klanten van alle datacenters met elkaar verbindt, nu lijkt te worden losgelaten in het opkomende cloud ecosysteem. Waar vroeger het besef heerste dat het afstaan van een specialistische rol rond interconnectie (en gerelateerde omzet) aan een partner die neutraal en expert is, heerst er nu bij de meeste datacenterexploitanten bij het opbouwen van cloud ecosystemen dat men zelf alle kennis en aantrekkingskracht bezit om een cloud ‘exchange’ te bouwen, en alle cloud providers en enterprise klanten naar hun datacenters te trekken.

Het resultaat is dat, in tegenstelling tot het ecosysteem rond internet dat in Amsterdam gedeeld wordt door alle datacenters met een AMS-IX knooppunt, men nu versnipperd en in concurrentie alles naar zich toe willen trekken. Het resultaat van deze beweging zal zijn dat één of twee aanbieders van datacenterdiensten zich straks ‘winnaar’ noemen, maar dat lang niet alle cloud providers ook daadwerkelijk daar fysiek gehuisvest staan.

Dit betekent voor enterprise klanten dat men straks, om flexibel hybride clouds te bouwen, niet in één, maar mogelijk in twee of drie datacenters moet staan, om zich met alle partijen waarmee men de hybride cloud wil bouwen, daadwerkelijk te verbinden. Dit brengt natuurlijk hogere kosten met zich mee.

Voor de cloud providers betekent het dat, door succes van één of twee aanbieders van datacenterdiensten rond clouddiensten, de keus voor een vestigingsplaats beperkt wordt. Immers, soortgelijke bedrijven zoeken elkaar het liefst op wanneer interconnectie een rol speelt. Dat zal op termijn mogelijk een effect hebben op de tco voor colocatie van publieke clouds en managed service providers in deze datacenters.

Amsterdam als mainport voor cloud

Maar een ander, belangrijker effect hiervan is dat het Amsterdam en Nederland als vestigingsplaats voor de grotere internationale publieke clouds en managed service providers, minder aantrekkelijk maakt. Als alle aanbieders van datacenterdiensten een ‘lock-in’ proberen te creeëren en een hoge muur trekken rond hun datacenters, werkt dat fragmenterend en verhoogt het onnodig de kosten van alle spelers in het ecosysteem.

Hier ligt een rol voor een neutrale partij, specialist in interconnectie tussen datacenters, zodat cloud providers, system integrators, managed service providers en enterprises elkaar kunnen vinden en met elkaar kunnen verbinden, ongeacht waar deze partijen in Amsterdam in een datacenter staan.

De meest voor de hand liggende partij is AMS-IX zelf, die na het bewezen succes rond internet interconnectie binnen alle grote neutrale datacenters in Amsterdam, over de infrastructuur beschikt, de expertise in huis heeft en tot slot een wereldwijde reputatie heeft voor het verlagen van interconnectiekosten. De AMS-IX bewijst Amsterdam al twintig jaar een grote dienst op de achtergrond in het bouwen aan onze internetinfrastructuur. AMS-IX kan in de komende twintig jaar eenzelfde rol vervullen rond cloud, waarbij iedereen wint. Immers meer cloudpartijen, meer flexibele keus en meer omzet voor alle datacenterexploitanten.

Amsterdam en Nederland kunnen enorm succesvol zijn in het aantrekken van belangrijke spelers rond cloud vanuit de hele wereld. Naast de relatief lage stroomprijzen, hoog opgeleide work force en bestaande interconnectie-infrastructuur is een open interconnect model voor cloud, waarbij een neutrale partij klanten van datacenters door heel Amsterdam met elkaar verbindt, een belangrijke missende schakel.

 

Eerder gepubliceerd op Computable.

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Partner Spotlight: Qi ict

In order to deliver the best possible service, EvoSwitch works with various IT partners, including IT infrastructure specialist Qi ict – with whom we’ve been working successfully for over two years.

We recently caught up with Rik van Winzum, Qi ict’s director of strategy and businesses development, to discuss the partnership. 

Rik, tell us a bit more about Qi ict.
Rik: “As a system integrator we operate in areas of storage, security, networks and connectivity. We integrate solutions from different manufacturers into one overall offering and provide solutions to companies in various sectors, such as the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, the public sector and the broadcasting sector.

“Our motto is ‘Living Uptime’. Every activity within our organization is focused on ensuring the highest possible uptime of our customers’ IT infrastructures. We make sure that our customers’ equipment is always up and running and that we have spare equipment which can be rolled out on location whenever needed. In the case of a technical fault, we transfer the configuration of the equipment at the time of the fault to the spare equipment. As a result, we’re able to minimize down-time for our clients.”

How did your partnership with EvoSwitch come into being?
Rik: “For our services we require data centers with high uptime. We came into contact with EvoSwitch two years ago when looking for an alternative data center location for one of our customers. The AMS1 data center of EvoSwitch in Haarlem was very conveniently located for that customer and at the time, EvoSwitch happened to be looking for partners in the field of system integration as well. We were very impressed by the size of the halls, EvoSwitch’s portfolio and the green characteristics of the company during our first tour through the data center.

“We’re very aware that green entrepreneurship is becoming increasingly important. For example: a client of ours recently chose one particular solution because of its highly efficient equipment, which consumes very little energy.”

Which factors are important for you when choosing a data center?
Rik: “We offer our customers ‘twin data center structures’, which means we offer them an alternative location if any faults occur in their own data center. Thus, the uptime of a data center is an essential pre-condition for us. On top of that, the location is important because we offer our services including fiber. The longer the fiber, the more expensive the link. Therefore, it’s important that the primary data center is not too far from the secondary data center.

Furthermore, EvoSwitch is a very friendly partner to do business with and has all the important certificates, such as the NEN, PCI and ISO certificates. For some of our customers, these certificates are required in order to be able to do business. EvoSwitch ensures that all quality and security requirements are met.”

What are the results of your collaboration so far?
Rik: “Several leads have come to us via EvoSwitch, and vice versa. Our experience has been that our customers are sold on EvoSwitch just as quickly as we were when they visit the data center. One example of a client whom we’ve been able to welcome thanks to EvoSwitch is, a leading supplier of heating equipment and installation material with over 50 facilities throughout the country. In many cases, customers experience faults and suffer down-time before they opt for a twin data center structure. This particular customer however, decided to work on their disaster recovery scenario proactively.”

What makes the twin data center structure so profitable?

Rik: “We have noticed a shift in the general trend surrounding the availability of infrastructures with the arrival of flexible working: availability of IT infrastructure is becoming increasingly important and more and more companies demand 24/7 access to their data. With a twin data center structure, companies are working towards a situation in which they can switch from their primary to their secondary data center in real time. In order to guarantee such high uptime, you need a reliable partner.”

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EvoSwitch helps the Quanza ISP Kart Competition go Carbon Neutral

The Quanza ISP Kart Competition, to be held on Saturday 23rd March 2013, uses various energy sources to power the activity of the event sponsors and the karts themselves. Prior to the event, EvoSwitch approached the event coordinators to address the event’s carbon footprint. To make it more sustainable, EvoSwitch offered to offset the carbon footprint of the competition.

Energy importance: Sector-wide
“The Quanza ISP Kart Competition was established as a networking event for the ISP sector, a sector which is linked to the data center industry, with an equally high dependence on energy and high power requirements,” said Eric Boonstra, Managing Director at EvoSwitch. “We believe energy efficiency to be of sector-wide importance and therefore think a networking event should not only be successful in bringing together those with mutual interests but also in terms of minimizing the impact on the environment”.

Simple
Furthermore, EvoSwitch wanted to demonstrate how easy it can be for any company to address its carbon dioxide emissions: “for example, by opting for energy-efficient servers or by looking at how you deal with data that is only occasionally being accessed” said Boonstra.

‘Footprint’
A carbon footprint is an ecological footprint that can be expressed as a number. This figure shows how many square meters biologically productive land and water area is used to attain a certain level of consumption and to process the associated waste of this consumption. The number can be calculated per country for a whole year, but also per family, company, product or activity.

Compensation
“The calculated carbon footprint can then be compensated through certain companies, such as the Climate Neutral Group – an organization EvoSwitch works with,” explains Boonstra. “These agencies typically ensure that the money donated to offset carbon dioxide emissions are used to invest in sustainable energy projects like biogas and renewable energy.”

Certificate
EvoSwitch carried out extensive calculations ahead of the kart competition to determine the amount of additional carbon dioxide emitted due to the event. “We included the transport of all 800-1000 participants to and from the event, assuming the average travel distance would be 150 kilometers back and forth (and included the consumption of lots of food and drink into the equation). This allowed us to arrange for the entire event to be carbon neutral, not just the racing part. Our partner which executed the calculation and ensured the compensation of emissions gave us a special certificate of carbon neutrality for the event. As such, the Quanza ISP Kart Competition is able to be label itself as a carbon neutral event.”

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