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Is Data Latency The New Currency In Town?

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly transformed the way we live and work and, through this, catalysed Southeast Asia’s (SEA) long-anticipated shift from the physical to the online world.

Businesses have had to ramp up on their digitalisation efforts to stay afloat as consumers turn to the online sphere for their day-to-day activities. According to a joint survey by Microsoft and IDC Asia Pacific, nearly 75 per cent of organisations in Singapore accelerated their pace of digitalisation due to the pandemic.

On top of this, SEA’s booming internet economy is set to grow to US$1 trillion by 2030, as millions of new internet users fuel online businesses in fields including e-commerce and virtual finance, according to a report jointly produced by Temasek, Google, and Bain.

With more investors recognising the region as one with valuable digital economy opportunities, there needs to be a reliable, secure digital infrastructure for businesses to tap into for growth.

The accelerated pace is set to make the region a global technology giant, and well-designed data frameworks are vital in supporting this trajectory.

Latency is the new currency

As individuals and businesses consume more data in an increasingly interconnected world, particularly in SEA, reliable and fail-safe internet connections with the lowest possible latency (the round-trip time taken for data to travel between an end device and the server where the data is stored or processed, for example, when using an application in the cloud) are becoming more crucial.

Latency is decisive for the time it takes for a transaction to be registered when making online purchases, for getting a smooth reaction and good user experience when using applications hosted in the cloud. More, such everyday aspects make up the digital economy.

From a business perspective, latency issues cost money. Productivity related to virtual desktops, conference and video calls, and everything virtually related to working from home is dependent on high-performance interconnection.

Industrial activities like remote robotics and AI-supported research and development require the lowest possible latency for maximum efficiency. As such, low latency is essential for future-proofing Singapore’s economy, as booming and upcoming technologies like cloud gaming, virtual or augmented reality, e-health, and the connected car need latencies as low as 1-3 milliseconds.

Security is also enhanced when a firewall kicks in with minimal delays, ensuring businesses are better prepared and not compromised by cyber threats.

With this, latency in digital services and applications is genuinely revenue-related. It is the new currency in today’s post-COVID digital economy.

Reliable internet exchanges: The heartbeat of the digital world

While it is hard to imagine the internet as something stored anywhere else, your computer, Internet Exchanges (IX), play a significant role in the world’s rapid shift to the digital world.

They guarantee a smooth, secure and fast exchange of data packets between networks of any size, ensuring that everyday online activities run seamlessly and quickly, especially in today’s climate, where everyone is hugely reliant on the internet.

Being connected to an IX allows networks to directly connect to other networks and share data traffic (also known as “peering”). This significantly reduces latency by reducing the path length that data needs to travel.

Also, data centre-neutral IX platforms, like those operated by DE-CIX, are distributed. This means that the infrastructure is housed in multiple data centres in a metro region, significantly increasing the resilience of the entire IX platform.

In some cases, by connecting to an IX, company networks can peer with networks connected to several other interconnected IXs within a region.

By connecting to DE-CIX Singapore, for example, network operators gain the possibility to exchange data directly at low latency with other networks, such as internet service providers, cloud providers, content networks, CDNS, over-the-top (OTT) providers and enterprise networks, not only in Singapore but also elsewhere in SEA, enabling enterprises to gain access to a vibrant SEA interconnection ecosystem.

The rise of cloud adoption, but what are the risks?

Ramping up digitalisation increases reliance on cloud-based services across all kinds of businesses. Instant access to content, applications and services that are essential in our daily lives has made how we work and live simpler.

According to Alibaba Cloud’s Cloud in Asia survey, Singapore is the most prolific adopter of cloud computing in SEA, with nearly nine in 10 IT decision-makers saying their companies are already using cloud-based services.

However, the move to the cloud poses new risks for enterprises in Singapore and worldwide. For instance, as the reliance is generally on only one cloud partner to manage data and workloads, this tendency towards cloud concentration creates a single point of failure, as has been evident with major outages at big global cloud players in the past.

For several critical industries, the mitigation of this cloud concentration risk is being written into law in increasingly more regions around the globe. Therefore, companies are looking for solutions to manage a multi-cloud environment efficiently.

Truly mitigating the cloud concentration risk, however, does not just stop at using different clouds. It is also important to access those clouds from physically independent locations.

Using a distributed infrastructure involving diverse providers and multiple redundant pathways creates the resilience necessary for critical applications and data.

DE-CIX offers enterprises interconnection solutions that connect directly to the required application or compute source at the lowest latency possible.

For example, to the many cloud services an enterprise makes use of (through DE-CIX DirectCLOUD), or to applications such as those available through Microsoft 365, with direct connectivity possible for enterprises via DE-CIX with the Microsoft Azure Peering Service.

In this way, latency is minimised, and resilience is ensured.

The enterprise of the future is digital

With SEA’s internet economy set to flourish in the coming decade, seamless, top-quality and cost-effective interconnection services are a must to cater to the needs in the modern world of both businesses and end-consumers alike.

Latency is the new currency against today’s backdrop of accelerated digitalisation in ensuring that the exciting next generation of applications and services are well-supported with solid digital infrastructure.

DE-CIX Asia brings low-latency and robust interconnection to SEA. It offers better localisation of interconnection services across the region, one with more than 600 million inhabitants and massive digital demand, easing the pressure on existing internet infrastructure in the area and bringing content and applications closer to the users.

In establishing such strong foundations for SEA, we are excited to see further growth in technical innovations and disruptors as we collectively pave the way toward the region’s anticipated role as a global technology hub.

Source: e27

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