SD-WAN: Network Management Made Easier and Cheaper

As the use of cloud services and Software as a Service (SaaS) grows, more companies are looking to SD-WAN for network management. But what exactly is SD-WAN and how can it benefit your business? Let’s take a look.

SD-WAN, the “Patient Portal” for Networks

Most of us probably have a Patient Portal of some sort through our medical provider, such as NextMD or My Health Record. These portals allow us to login, view, and interact with almost every aspect of our health. We can schedule appointments, request prescription refills, read test results, etc. This provides a single place for us to manage our healthcare needs. Likewise, SD-WAN provides a similar single place to manage our network, where we can use a centralized location to put together controls, then send it out to the other SD-WAN devices in the network that need it.

What Controls Are Offered?

Intelligent pathway control features use application profiles, IP addresses, Quality of Service markings, and even time of day to shape traffic decisions.

Lowering Costs

By reducing the number of private links necessary and relying on bandwidth instead, you’re able to save money by focusing your spending on cheaper broadband solutions. Whenever private links are required for quality purposes, the service will automatically switch over from broadband.

Secure and Agile

SD-WAN is rapidly deployed, so your business is up-and-running without lengthy setup times. It’s also easily scalable, with the ability to add connections as needed. Even remote sites are easy to add. When traffic is transferred between locations, it’s encrypted, so breaches that may occur do less damage to your network. SD-WAN also monitors the amount and type of traffic your business sees, helping your IT team quickly identify attacks.

Improving your workplace and saving money is a win-win. See how 123Net’s SD-WAN solution can benefit your business by going to https://www.123.net/sd-wan

Data Center Tiers: Which Classification Is Right for Your Server?

All data centers serve the same general purpose; however, they are not created equal. Uptime Institute created a Tier Classification System to set industry standards and help consumers determine which data centers are the best choice for their business’s needs.

Uptime Institute’s Tier System ranges from the most basic Tier I data centers to the most advanced Tier IV. Each Tier increases the redundant components utilized within the data center, making them better able to manage high-density computing and industry-leading uptime.

Tier I: These data centers offer the underlying needs of all data centers. These components include dedicated space, uninterruptable power supply (UPS) systems, dedicated cooling, and engine generators. Momentary outages can be managed well, and Tier I data centers are ideal for smaller businesses that can afford downtime. Larger businesses that need more stable uptimes will likely want to continue down the list.

Tier II: The basic requirements of Tier I data centers are built upon in Tier II. Here, we find some redundant measures added, such as additional power and cooling equipment (UPS modules, chillers or pumps, extra generators, etc.) These open the door for maintenance to be performed, or for unforeseen IT issues to occur, with less disruption to customer processes.

Tier III: As we move into the latter half of the Tiers, data centers become heartier. In Tier III data centers, there’s no need to shut down for maintenance or equipment replacement. The redundancy of Tier II data centers is further built upon with extra paths for power and cooling to each component needed to support the IT processing environment. Larger businesses that cannot afford excessive downtime may want to start their data center searches at this Tier.

Tier IV: The top Tier in the Classification system includes Fault Tolerance, or the ability for individual equipment failure or path distribution interruptions to occur without affecting IT operations. This concept is ideal for large businesses who cannot afford any downtime.

At the end of the day, no single Tier of data center is “the best.” As we move up the Tier ladder, the costs and challenges of maintaining the data center increase, as do the intricacies of the controls put in place to maintain uptime. The Tier required for a data center will vary depending on the needs of the business, so it’s important to carefully consider what your business requires.

123Net provides premier colocation space for Michigan businesses. Our data centers are classified as Tier III, offer a 100 percent power uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA), and are trusted by over a dozen Fortune 500 companies. To learn more about 123Net, or to schedule a data center tour, visit https://www.123.net/data-center/

Data Center Redundancy: 2N, N+1, 2(N+1) Explained

Maintaining 100 percent uptime should be a top priority for every data center. If data centers experience power outages, customers can lose thousands of dollars for every second they are down. 123Net heavily invests in 2(N+1) redundant data center infrastructure to protect customers from losses.

What Does Redundancy Mean in Data Centers?
When data center providers advertise their facilities’ redundancy, they are referring to the amount of backup power available. If utility failures occur due to severe weather, equipment failure or powerline damage, data centers with more redundant power will be better equipped to avoid costly periods of downtime.

Most data centers have systems in place to cut the risk of downtime. These systems can be categorized into N+1, 2N, and 2(N+1).

What is N+1?
A simplified way to look at N+1 is if you were ordering bagels for an office breakfast. There are 20 people working in your office and you decide to order one more bagel than needed, just in case. “N” would represent the exact number of bagels you need (20), while the extra bagel is the “+1”. You would be showing up to work with N+1 or 21 bagels.

Applying this to data centers, “N” could stand for the number of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) modules needed. The “+1” would be one more module than required. Having more power available than needed lowers the chance of downtime. Although N+1 is often called “parallel redundancy” these data centers are not fully redundant because they share common circuitry instead of being sourced from two separate fields.

What about 2N or 2(N+1)?
If you ordered bagels with a 2N mindset, you would order 20 bagels from one bagel shop and 20 more from another shop. The 2N would stand for two times, or double, “N”, the number of bagels you would need. If one of the bagel shop loses your order, you will still have enough.

For data centers, having 2N redundancy means you have twice the amount of equipment needed with no single point of failure. When extended power outages occur, 2N systems will be maintained without losing power to subsequent systems.

If a data center offers 2(N+1) redundancy, it has double the amount of power equipment needed, plus an additional UPS module on each side. Referring to the bagel example, you would order 21 bagels from two different shops. If one of the shops doesn’t deliver and there is an issue with one of the bagels that do show up, you will still have enough.  For this reason, 2(N+1) data centers offer the highest guaranteed uptime.

123Net’s four 2(N+1) redundant data centers come with a 100 percent power uptime Service Level Agreement. If your business cannot afford losing access to mission-critical applications, consider collocating at 123Net. To learn more about power redundancy, schedule a data center tour with 123Net today. Visit https://www.123.net/data-center/

Why Data Center Location Matters

Data center location should always be a top priority for customers. Choosing a data center in an optimal location not only provides immediate advantages, it also prevents major headaches down the road. 123Net carefully handpicked an ideal environment for each of its four Michigan data centers.

Network Speed

While people may think that bandwidth is the only factor determining speed, that’s not the case. The physical distance from a data center to an application can significantly affect network latency. For this reason, many companies, such as healthcare companies, are seeking data centers local to their office space. These companies are gaining a clear edge over the competition due to the speed advantage lower network latency provides. While it could be less expensive to collocate further away, it is often not worth sacrificing speed.

Natural Disasters

Businesses that collocate in areas prone to natural disasters are playing with fire. Events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes can cause critical power outages, leading to crippling downtime. If the best data center option happens to be in a disaster-prone area, consider selecting a backup data center at a safer location, preferably on a different power grid.

Accessibility

Data center space should be in an area that is comfortable to reach. Personnel may need to travel to the data center to make upgrades and service equipment. If a data center is out of driving distance, consider the logistics of transporting personnel and equipment through the air.

Connections

Businesses can take advantage of data center connectivity by creating multiple channels that will keep data moving freely despite outages. This makes data centers in well-connected areas safer and more reliable. It also gives businesses more room for growth, as they can easily make plenty of connections within the data center itself.

123Net’s three Southfield data center facilities have a superior location. They have access to more than 20 carriers, are in low-risk southeastern Michigan and close to thousands of Metro Detroit businesses. 123Net also has secure, easily accessible data center space in Grand Rapids that makes for premier primary or backup colocation space. Learn more about the strategic advantages you can gain from data center location or to schedule a tour of our data centers, visit: https://www.123.net/data-center/

How Ethernet Private Line Benefits Businesses

Businesses are growing, and the demand for bandwidth is expanding exponentially. As new offices and branches are added, high-capacity infrastructure is needed to communicate between sites. Secure, point-to-point Ethernet Private Line (EPL) solutions are being implemented to meet this demand. This way businesses can seamlessly transport large files, utilize high-capacity applications and access services hosted on company servers.

Ethernet Private Line

EPL is a cost-effective solution that connects the customer edge with an affordable interface, replacing traditional private line services. It is an ideal replacement for businesses with traditional TDM point-to-point services for a variety of reasons.

Dedicated  

EPL delivers bandwidth that is 100 percent dedicated to your business. Shared access technologies, like cable, PON and DSL, combined with a Virtual Private Network (VPN), use a pool of bandwidth to access the public internet and can only provide their “best effort” to deliver your network access.

Dedicated connections bypass the public Internet, guaranteeing consistent data speeds and low latency. This provides a high Quality of Service (QoS) for business-critical applications such as video conferencing and voice over IP (VoIP). With EPL’s dedicated connectivity, enterprises will always get the most out of their bandwidth.

High Bandwidth

Ethernet Private Line solutions offer more flexibility than TDM technologies. With fiber as a transport option, businesses are currently offered speeds up to 100 Gbps. 123Net’s fixed wireless network also offers rapidly deployed Ethernet connectivity up to 10 Gbps.

Secure

Secure, point-to-point connections protect traffic from outside threats. The privacy of EPL makes it much easier to comply with strict security requirements, such as HIPAA. This makes it an attractive option for businesses in security-conscious industries such as health care, government and education.

123Net’s Ethernet solutions give businesses secure, high-bandwidth, site-to-site connectivity between multiple locations. To learn more visit: https://www.123.net/ethernet-services/

Advantages of Switching to Hosted IP PBX

Businesses depend on their ability to effectively communicate with customers. Implementing a Hosted IP PBX voice solution will immediately limit any concerns from a technological perspective, providing the scalability needed to become a long-term voice solution.

What Is Hosted IP PBX?

Hosted IP PBX replaces a customer’s premise-based PBX with the service provider’s off-site equipment. The provider becomes responsible for owning and operating all the physical equipment, taking the burden off the customer. It also improves the reliability of voice and comes with 24x7x365 support.

Reliability

123Net’s service is owned and operated within their Tier 3, 2(N+1) data centers, eliminating power downtime concerns. Their network is also backed by a reliable 100 Gbps+ backbone that allows maximum redundancy and on-demand bandwidth availability.

In case of emergency, customers always have the option to forward phone numbers or change routing easily through an online web portal. If Internet access is unavailable, users can also call the network operations center (NOC) at any time to enable emergency call forward.

123Net’s Hosted IP PBX servers are virtual machines that run on host servers within the 123Net colocation spaces. The virtual servers are routinely replicated between multiple spaces throughout the day. If the primary PBX becomes unresponsive for any reason, 123Net can enable a backup at any time.

Flexibility

Hosted IP PBX services are great for customers with specific needs. Customers can provide access to a user control panel (UCP), allowing individuals to control the way they receive calls. One of these options is a softphone, which can be installed on a cellular device or desktop.

Find me / follow me is another useful feature that customers can use to shape the way they receive calls. Find me allows users to receive calls at multiple locations, while follow me allows users to be reached at several different phone numbers. Numbers are assigned to be called concurrently or sequentially, according to a user’s scheduled activities and locations. If necessary, calls can then be sent to a voicemail of their choosing. For example, a user could set their phone to ring four times at their desk, then reach their cell phone, and then leave a voicemail in their cellular mailbox if needed.

Scalability

Companies with Hosted IP PBX systems are well equipped to support future growth because lines can be easily added or subtracted without future investments. Businesses can promptly add as many lines as their network traffic permits. This gives businesses the adaptability to manage rapid growth.

123Net’s Hosted IP PBX is backed by a 99.99% network uptime Service Level Agreement. Learn more about how this solution can benefit your business here: https://www.123.net/hosted-ip-pbx/