What is Direct Connect and Interconnect?

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18 August 2020

Introduction to Direct Connect and Interconnect

Increasing connectivity is a key consideration for businesses planning for digital transformation. Volumes of data moving globally are only growing, and expectations are growing for instantaneous accessibility, reliability and security. At Interxion, our colocation services are built to empower connectivity and community within networks, enabling the next stage of digital growth for your business, partners, and customers. Detailed below are key services that are involved in building digital ecosystems that enable connections to the cloud and communities of interest.

What is Direct Connect?

Traditionally businesses would connect to the cloud using a public internet connection, but changing requirements mean that this is not an ideal solution for many.

Direct connect uses a private dedicated network to connect to the cloud, whether it is public or private. In a colocation environment, direct connect (referred to as a cross connect cabling service) connects servers directly or via a ‘Meet Me Room’ (MMR) service. Cloud providers may call this service an ‘expressroute connection’ but the underlying principle remains the same: a private pathway connecting your business to the a cloud node.

Direct Connect Advantages

Direct connect is positioned to alleviate many challenges businesses face when looking to move to the cloud:

  • Security: As direct connect uses a private network for connection into the cloud, data exchanged is more secure as a result, bypassing the public internet completely. There is no need for VPN hardware, which often does not support data transfers over 4 Gbps, making connections safer and faster.
  • Reliability - Public internet connections can be unreliable, especially as they are shared between multiple users with volatile traffic, subject to throttling and outages which can be disastrous for companies relying on cloud services for business-critical services.
  • Speed / Latency - Direct connect often surpasses regular cloud upload and download speeds and reduces latency by circumventing public internet traffic.
  • Cost savings - Bandwidth heavy cloud workloads costs are significantly reduced by using ‘expressroute’ or direct connections due to the lower rates charged for these dedicated networks by some cloud vendors.
  • Software defined network (SDN) management - Direct connections to the cloud are able to be partitioned into virtual interfaces, meaning multiple networks can be accessed with complete separation. These virtual interfaces can be configured to use the same direct connect cabling to access multiple clouds, both public and private. Another advantage is the possibility to view and manage all connections through the console, and networks can be easily reconfigured to adapt to changing business requirements.
  • Elasticity - Scaling connection bandwidth is very achievable with direct connect (usually connections offered are 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps) but businesses can opt for multiple connections, if and when they require it.

What is Interconnect?

In contrast to direct connect, interconnect is not limited to one-to-one connections between singular private networks and cloud services. Interconnect is the linking of multiple connections to enable data exchange between two or more networks or entities. Interconnect at a data centre usually includes colocated IT components, hosting vendor neutral exchange points for businesses to connect both with each other, partners and customers.

Interconnection Advantages

  • Denser connectivity - Interconnect is not only a connection between two parties, but often involves the creation of multiple connected ecosystems, starting at one-to-many, to many-to-many and all configurations in between.
  • Creating value - The creation of these digital ecosystems is a key value driver for businesses looking to connect with data partners at reduced latency, connecting with customers securely, and connecting to employees globally. These connections also extend to other services, such as Cloud Connect, data repositories, and security services allowing for global digital collaboration at scale.
  • Proximity - Colocating with interconnect allows for multiple connections within the data centre campus, lowering latency for improved end-user experience, as well as reducing data transfer costs over long distances.
  • Security - Bypassing the public internet for these direct interconnections decreases potential attack surfaces for businesses that cannot afford security breaches of any size.

Connectivity and collaboration are the key drivers of growth in an increasingly digital world. Interconnection with Interxion allows businesses to compete in a hyperconnected community of interest - taking advantage of the increased security, low latency and reduced costs. Both direct connect and interconnect give businesses the tools to leverage their IT infrastructure into a strategic platform that cultivates mutually beneficial connected communities optimised for growth.

Interxion London is the carrier-neutral interconnection hub in the heart of the city. We help businesses leverage digital connectivity into growth, reducing delivery costs, increasing revenue and delivering optimum performance.