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5000x1800 Five Nines
— Blog

Achieving Ultimate Network Availability: Five Nines from Hyperscale to Anyscale Data Centres

Robert Davidson, Head of Network Strategy, APAC
May 7, 2020

As businesses increasingly go digital, what are the knock-on effects on Asia Pacific’s (APAC’s) networks?

That’s the question Digital Realty set out to answer recently in a piece of ground-breaking research (access the full whitepaper here) that assessed the resilience and availability of the region’s submarine cable networks.

We wanted to find out whether these networks – the high-density cabling systems snaking across oceans and between data centre campuses – are becoming increasingly stressed at the edges as they support more users, more devices, more applications and more services. Just how resilient and readily available to users are they? And what are the implications for those APAC businesses seeking to use or offer cloud and other on-demand services, including ultra-fast transactions informed by real-time intelligence?

Building a Picture of Network Resilience

Given customers’ evolving business needs and the sheer volume of information that hosting facilities in APAC must now store and process, understanding the resiliency and availability of the submarine networks supporting hyperscale to anyscale data centre applications becomes more important than ever.

Our starting point for building a clear picture of APAC network availability was to comb a wide range of sources for detailed information on submarine cable routes, lengths, faults and repair statistics. We then analysed our data to determine repairs per year, outage (days per year) and availability across all network routes. We also contrasted different routes’ performance.

We found most routes across APAC’s hyperscale network can be expected to remain available to users over 90 percent of the time.

That’s good news, but is it possible to do better?

Having diverse available routes boosts a network’s potential to deliver ‘Five Nines’ availability – that is, to be available 99.999 percent of the time. It means the network has a maximum of just 5.26 minutes of downtime, whether planned or unplanned, per year. It’s often cited as the Holy Grail for networks.

Encouragingly, we found the routes of some APAC networks are diverse enough that they can potentially deliver Five Nines availability. Other routes, however, pose a much greater availability risk.

Supporting Customers’ Evolving Needs

Our largely positive findings are important because resilient transport networks are crucial for the performance and reliability of critical applications used by organisations across the region.


With the digital economy set to reshape private and public enterprises across all industries, most leading organisations today recognise the need to transform their IT infrastructure to facilitate real-time communication and data transmission.

As part of that transformation strategy, many companies are seeking out data centres that can become interconnection nodes for their business as they grow. This means that rather than build their own interconnections, companies use reliable, secure ‘interconnection centres’ or common platforms that are shared among ecosystems of network services platforms, cloud solution providers and supply chain partners.

Taking advantage of data centre interconnectivity offers a range of business benefits. It can help globally distributed teams collaborate more seamlessly, for example, as they work to deliver more on-demand customer services. It can also help businesses scale as they open new locations, establish new business relationships and expand their footprint into new markets.

Evolving business needs are also driving other major shifts in the data centre landscape. Take the rise of hyperscale data centre campuses, for instance. Providers are capable of offering very large organisations, such as social media, cloud services and SaaS companies, infrastructure to help support their hundreds of millions, perhaps even billions, of users and process a growing tsunami of data.

Future-Proofing Your Data Needs

As our research highlights, Asia Pacific transport networks do offer the resilience and availability that can help to power hyperscale data centre interconnectivity.

But given the level of diversity needed for the Five Nines availability goal, our findings also confirm that relying on a single source or single vendor will not be sufficient. Instead, this is a scenario that lends itself to an ecosystem solution.

Put another way, the easiest path to attaining five-nines in a solution deployment is via a data centre provider with a robust ecosystem of options. With a sufficient set of transport systems available, it’s possible to design the most resilient model, even if these are spread across a set of vendor partners. For organisations, this means it’s essential to find a data centre provider that can maximise the number of diverse routes across their digital networks.

At Digital Realty, our PlatformDIGITAL™ solution enables customers to do just that. By deploying IT infrastructure at data exchange centres around the world, we bring users, things, applications, clouds and networks closer to the data. Our customers get the advantage of access to fit-for-purpose infrastructure that can power their digital transformations at the scale and speed they require today and into the future.

In summary, given the level of diversity needed for the Five Nines goal there is no apparent single source / single vendor approach to achieve. This scenario lends itself to an Eco System solution. The easiest path to attaining Five Nines in a solution deployment is via a site with a robust ecosystem of options. With a sufficient set of transport systems available one can design the correct model even if spread across a set of vendor partners. For organisations, this means it’s essential to find a data centre provider that can maximise the number of diverse routes across their digital networks.

Want to find out more?

Get in touch with a member of our APAC team today at: Contact.APAC@digitalrealty.com

You can also access the white paper here!

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