Dependence on centralised data, or cloud, is increasing. Companies cannot afford the sudden failure of a network and not having access to certain data, or worse, the loss or theft of certain data.

"Compare it to electricity going out and a hospital suddenly switching to an emergency generator. What we do is actually the same, but with a network and data accessibility," says Marc Vandeputte, CTO of Arcadiz. "We deliver what standard operators cannot offer: we design and build turnkey networks for the large business market that connect data centres and head offices. Here you can think of private networks of, say, banks and insurance companies, government services, media companies, industry, logistics and local cloud providers."

Cloud connectivity in particular is becoming increasingly important. Amsterdam is one of the top three largest internet hubs in the world, worth each other. "All cloud parties including gaming, streaming, social or business meet there," Vandeputte knows. "Because we have direct redundant and low-latency connections to Amsterdam, we can offer guaranteed high-performance connections to Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Apple, among others, without our customers having to depend on the internet to get there. When the kids come home from school and the internet gets a bit busier, our customers don't feel a thing."

Vandeputte points to the importance of business critical networks. The word itself says it, networks that have a fully redundant architecture. "In this way, it is possible to guarantee network availability of more than 99.9995 per cent. Think of separate rooms in a data centre, separate introductions in buildings and separate fibre paths. The operational status of our networks is monitored 24/7 with immediate on-site intervention if required. Of course, security is very important in this respect. Companies have more confidence in a European party to encrypt the data end-to-end with European certificates than in, say, China. For this, we work with ADVA Optical Networking, a German party. For example, we encrypt the data of the national bank between their data centres. Surely something that should be able to happen in a 100% secure environment?

When it comes to connectivity, there are six concepts that Vandeputte has in print on his whiteboard: security, capacity/scalability, availability, latency and expense.

"Latency is often less well known," he states. "Latency determines the speed of a connection. Capacity and latency are often confused. It may sound strange, but a connection with 10G or 100G capacity can still be slow." Latency is particularly crucial if you want to keep your data in two geographically separate locations identical at all times. "For this we design networks where latency is only limited by the speed of light. To do this, we install the shortest optical fibre paths. Some applications require sub-millisecond round trip delay, which is only possible over a purely optical network. Over a standard nationwide distributed network of an operator, the roundtrip delay can easily reach 10 milliseconds. That's unusable here."

Vandeputte concludes with an example: "Hospitals use our secure cloud connectivity to link up with the cloud provider that manages their patient records. Data integrity is very important there."

Publication in Fokus IT November 2020 - P7