Why Multiple Data Center Locations are Important for VoIP

Posted on: 2018-03-02 | Categories:VoIP Services

VoIP has taken over the world. In a few decades, the technology has emerged from obscurity to become the leading standard for telecommunication. Back when the first VoIP call was made in the 90s, no one expected it would be a threat to the current network. Yet today, regulators are discussing the end of the PSTN as we know it. Experts predict that VoIP calling will become the default in a few years.

Hosted VoIP Services and SIP Trunks

Businesses interested in VoIP can choose between hosted services and deploying their own SIP trunks.

SIP trunks put control back in the hands of organizations. You are in charge of maintenance, upgrades, deploying new features and so on. The security and integrity of the network are in your hands. Most companies will have a dedicated staff to maintain the system. In many ways, SIP trunking is similar to old-school enterprise phone systems. The main difference being that calls travel over the Internet instead of the copper line networks.

Hosted VoIP vendors rely on the cloud to deliver phone services to clients. PBX features like call waiting, voicemail, call transfer etc. are available through an online interface. Providers are able to build up the necessary infrastructure and provide calls at a fraction of the cost. On the other hand, businesses don’t have to worry about capital investment or maintaining their own PBX.

Hosted Services and the Cloud

As you can see, hosted VoIP services cannot exist without cloud technology to support them. Instead of every organization maintaining their own private data center for calls, the cloud allows providers to consolidate the infrastructure. The public cloud offers greater efficiencies for businesses at lower cost.

Went shopping for VoIP services, you might have noticed some vendors touting the number of data centers they have. Not many people understand why multiple data center locations are important to them. Does it really matter if the service provider has one center or four? Before you dismiss it as unnecessary costs, take a look at why it matters.

Redundancy

Your business relies on certain technologies, services, and products for daily operations. What happens if one of them develops a problem or fails completely? Take business data for example. Can you continue working if your employees cannot access applications or use of data? It’s probably why you backup data on a regular basis and keep multiple copies of those backups.

The same principle applies to voice calling. In spite of the proliferation of alternative technologies, voice calling remains crucial to business workflows. If the vendor has a problem with the sole data center, your phone system shuts down. Multiple data centers provide redundancy i.e. if one has a problem, the service provider can route your calls to another. Whether the problem is corrupt files or hardware failure, it is important to have alternate systems.

Disaster Recovery

In recent years, enterprises have learned the value of disaster recovery plans. The cloud allows organizations to have off-site backups of everything they need. If a natural disaster brings down your office, you can move your employees to another location and continue working. All you need are access to your data and phone systems. Since both are available through data centers in other locations, your business is protected.

But what happens if your provider’s data center is hit by a natural disaster? Relying on a single data center – be it anywhere in the world – is a risk to your business. This is why reputable vendors maintain multiple data centers across the country or even the world. It is important that the data centers should be far apart from each other since some disasters cover a wide area.

Business Continuity

Although the terms business continuity and disaster recovery are used interchangeably, their focus is different. Disaster recovery (DR) plans focus on the ability to recover data after a crisis. Suppose a computer shuts down in the middle of saving a file. DR plans would deal with trying to get the data back as quickly as possible.

Business continuity (BC) plans are centered around the ability of a business to resume operations with minimal disruption. If the above situation were to happen, BC plans would focus on how the employee can continue working through the crisis (like using a laptop).

Multiple data centers with automatic failover features will help you keep working when things go wrong. Whether the problem can be solved in 10 minutes or 10 hours, you still need the phones. Several data centers in different time zones also mean that you have around-the-clock service with little to no downtime!

When you rely on an external provider for crucial services, their disaster recovery plans will affect your own. Make sure that you can rely on them – whether the crisis is in your office or theirs!