Improving data centre performance with cross connects

Every day around the world, massive amounts of data are continually being transferred and stored. As our reliance on data continues to increase, companies are focusing on ways to improve the performance and reliability of their network for improved employee productivity and customer experience.

Colocation data centre providers (like Equinix or NEXTDC) offer a range of connectivity options to optimise network and hybrid architecture for their customers. When it comes to the connection between the horizontal cabling and active equipment such as switches, there are two basic configurations – interconnect and cross connect.

In an interconnect system, patching is done directly between the active equipment and the distribution patch panel. A cross connect system uses additional patch panels to mirror the ports of the equipment being connected, essentially creating a separate patching zone that provides connection between different equipment by patch cords. In short, cross connections are cables that physically connect two different termination locations.

Currently, most data centre cabling systems use interconnect design but cross connection has many benefits that increase system performance. The goal of this connectivity solution is to create a more robust and diverse network. We explore some benefits of data centre cross connect cabling below.

Reduced Latency
The time it takes for data to transfer from one end of the network to another and back again can significantly impact network performance. Many organisations have issues because of the increased latency that delays data transfer. Cross connects are a way to solve the issue of latency (the time it takes to transmit information) and improve performance and traffic flow management. They can provide a more consistent and reliable experience than Internet-based connections. Due to the connections being private point-to-point, cross connects avoid the public internet altogether meaning there is no provider between an organisation’s network and the carrier to which it is connecting.

Increased Reliability
Cross connections are more reliable and operate at consistent high speeds. This type of connection reduces the potential for network failure as well. For example, if a data centre cross connects directly into a cloud service provider, a lot of complications are removed. There is no concern about what happens when a customer attempts to access the vendor’s network.

Improved Security
Cross connect cabling involves a dedicated patching area that isolates mission-critical active equipment away from the passive patch zone, preventing the need to tamper with sensitive equipment ports during routine maintenance and ensuring fast fault recovery.

Easier Management
In a cross connect system the cables connected to switches and servers can be fixed and regarded as permanent connections. When moves, additions, and replacements are required, only the jumpers between patch panels need to be changed rather than needing to plug and remove the cables of the switch and server ports in an interconnect system.

To learn more about how to improve the performance of your data centre Contact a member of our qualified team