Moving data across the public internet is a lot like talking on the old party line phone lines that were common in rural area right into the 1960s. From the very beginning of the expansion of telephone service, phone companies provided sparsely populated areas with party lines, sometimes with more than a dozen households connected to the same loop. Each home had a specific ring to indicate which one was getting a call, but there was nothing stopping someone from any of the other households picking up the phone and listening in. It used to be a very common complaint among letter-writers to newspaper advice columns.
Moving data across the public internet is remarkably similar. Your data will always compete with other data on the same line, which can cause data throughput performance loss as packets are dropped and need to be resent. In addition, sharing the line with other data can result in higher error rates due to information crosstalk.
Read Forbes’ Tom Coughlin on ClearSky’s architecture and how it uses private lines.
But the biggest problem with both the old party phone lines and the public internet is security. With party-line phones, eavesdropping was as easy as quietly picking up the receiver on your own phone to listen in to the private conversations others on the line were having. Similarly, if anyone that shares the public internet line with your data wanted to access your data, they wouldn’t have to go far to get it. This is why it’s so important to encrypt any sensitive communications that use the public Internet, but that’s a separate security concern. In this case I’m talking about ease of access, and there is no need to make it so simple for bad actors to obtain that access.
Benefits of private line
Just as the technology of automated switches made party phone lines disappear in favor of private lines, technology has made it easy to use a private data line to move your data from on-prem to the network edge and to the public cloud. Using a private line eliminates the possibility of performance hits due to other, possibly massive, data sets sharing the line with your data. Your data and only your data will travel over that private line. In addition, there is no chance that some other entity would have access to your data stream, which makes the private line more secure than the public internet pathways.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that a private line can save you money. The cost of leasing dedicated fiber lines has been dropping steadily for quite some time, because there is still a vast amount of “dark fiber” crisscrossing the globe — fiber-optic telecommunications cables that haven’t yet been lit up for any specific purpose. If there is anything good that came out of the telco industry crash of the late 1990s and early 2000s, it is that the overbuilding of the fiber telco infrastructure left us nearly 20 years later plenty of unused fiber lines waiting to carry your data. This means private lines are usually a much better value than buying multiple large pipes to the public Internet.
Learn more about ClearSky’s architecture in this Business Impact Brief from 451 Research: Getting Competitive at the Edge.
ClearSky, encryption and private lines
ClearSky has built a network that relies on redundant and diverse private lines to deliver the best service possible. And, encryption is built in. All data, in transit and at rest, is fully-encrypted, and only the customer has the keys. To access the ClearSky service, we place a flash-storage-based appliance in your data center, at the edge of your on-premises network and connect it to a nearby PoP via dedicated, redundant and diverse private lines. That metro PoP is then connected to the public cloud or even to multiple clouds. Hot data is cached on-prem, with both hot and warm data stored in a nearby metro PoP. All data is stored in the public cloud, and it’s all connected via private lines.
For us, it’s a no-brainer. Private lines deliver faster performance, stronger security and are a better value than the public internet. To us, it’s unclear why a storage service would use anything else.
Want to see how ClearSky’s storage service can provide faster performance while reducing costs by more than 50% compared to your traditional storage? Sign up for your own demo today.