21 Feb 2023

The Putty Blog - Connectivity for the next generation of compute

I was about to start this blog with something about having really just started the year and then realised it’s already mid February! Wow, where did January go? I know time can pass fast when you’re busy, but life at Kao Data seems to be going through at the speed of light, such is the rapid rate of progress and development.

“Inspired by hyperscale and built for industrial scale” is one of our favourite mantras at Kao Data and we’ve always been focused on bringing hyperscale levels of quality into the colocation market so all companies can enjoy the benefits. As a team we follow agile principles, work at pace and continually review and augment our compute and connectivity capabilities to meet changing market requirements. This has led to us building in a range of ‘next generation’ connectivity options.

Whilst next generation connectivity has always been in our DNA (of course our campus is built on the site of Sir Charles Kao’s pioneering discovery of the fibre optic cable in 1966) our digital infrastructure and comms capabilities have come a long way since Covid-19 arrived on our shores and pushed so much of our daily lives down a fibre optic cable!

Back in 2019 we were only able to offer connectivity at our Harlow campus via euNetworks and BT Openreach and we invested significantly in both. Four years down the line and a lot of hard work and late evenings later and we have a global connectivity footprint that rivals anyone – and I have the grey hairs to prove it!

We now have all the traditional carriers on board (Zayo, Virgin Media, Vodafone, Lumen, Link, Colt, etc) and we’ve added niche players to the portfolio with organisations like Light Blue Fibre, Jisc, and Unitas Global under our belt. Over and above this we’ve been providing customers with direct on-ramp access to all public and private cloud providers via Megaport’s self-service portal since 2021 (and we are still the only Megaport partner in the Cambridge-London UK Innovation Corridor).

In November 2022 we confirmed our partnership with Console Connect, augmenting our Megaport services by offering enterprise customers multiple connectivity channels to all cloud providers via one of the world’s largest SaaS platforms. Like with Megaport, using a single Console Connect access port, our customers can directly connect to the tech giants, including AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud and Alibaba. This is highly compelling for our enterprise customers because it means they can bypass traditional leasing contracts and set up on-demand networking quickly and cost effectively.

One of the things I especially like about the structure we’ve created in Harlow is that we’re now able to route traffic from Europe directly to the US without having to go via London, which is a highly compelling proposition as London is often regarded as a single point of failure (and I’m not just talking about the part my beloved West Ham play in…!).

Although we’re extremely proud of our world class facility and our achievements to date, we never rest on our laurels. The cloud world is constantly advancing as such we’re constantly progressing our compute and interconnectivity capabilities to make sure we remain the one of the providers of choice.

A technology making waves right now is hollow fibre because of its potential to offer significantly lower latencies than conventional fibre optics, which could be a game changer for telecoms and data processing. Millisecond delays are of little consequence for manual processes that require human involvement. When it comes to M2M applications, the smallest of delays can have major consequences. In FinTech, a few seconds can equate to millions, sometimes billions of dollars. For scientists tracking adverse weather patterns like the US weather bomb earlier this year, speed and accuracy can literally mean the difference between life and death. And in medicine, faster diagnostics results in more successful patient outcomes.

We’re already in preliminary discussions with the developers of this ground-breaking tech, which we’re really excited about as it would take our already future-ready campus to the next level by transforming it into a high availability zone.

And, with all that.....it will be 2024 before I know it!

Mark Putt

Mark Putt is Kao Data's Senior Carrier and Connectivity Consultant. From being a mainframe software and hardware engineer, to specialising in large-scale digital transformation projects, Mark has spent more than 30 years working within telecoms and network connectivity.


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