The Cloud-Enabled Enterprise –
A Customer & Partner Blog Series

Jim Poole
A Customer & Partner Blog Series" />

Perceptions of cloud are changing. Companies are no longer just pondering and testing cloud services-they are now employing them. We hope you will enjoy this new series as we feature guest posts by our partners and leading cloud and network service providers (NSPs) that are leveraging Platform Equinix to help grow their businesses and spur enterprise cloud adoption. In a two-part series introduction, Jim Poole, describes how Equinix helps NSPs connect to the right suppliers and partners to accelerate their move to the cloud. These comments along with several customer and partner quotes are excerpted from a recent presentation at ITW 2012.

As the world’s largest colocation and interconnection company, Equinix’s data centers are home to rich customer and partner ecosystems that are comprised of the leading service providers, enterprises, cloud service platforms and networks. As these ecosystems have grown and evolved, we have begun to observe interesting trends in cloud computing and specifically as it relates to networks and mobility.

While the economics of cloud computing are very compelling, reality is that cloud is still in its infancy. When we talk to cloud companies, we find that most of them have a relationship with only one or two networks. When we talk to network companies about the 700-plus cloud companies doing business inside Platform Equinix, most networks have no visibility into the market beyond Amazon Web Services (AWS) or, vendors like RightScale. For cloud to reach its true adoption potential, by the enterprise, there needs to be a reconciliation of these numbers. Equinix, with our ecosystem of partners, is making this happen and here’s how…

Interconnection

Because of the vast majority of cloud companies AND network providers that come together in our worldwide data centers, we are seeing that Equinix is truly where the cloud becomes “real.” By bringing together the delivery mechanisms – cloud providers and networks – with the cloud consumers, we are seeing more opportunity for the benefits of the cloud to be realized because the vast majority of compute infrastructure expected to be deployed over the next several years will reside in a very small portion of the multitenant data centers that are operated by companies such as Equinix (Gartner), we believe Equinix is actually where the cloud lives.

“Private WAN to the enterprise is what Direct Connect is to the cloud.” Jim Poole, GM, Global Networks & Mobility, Equinix

The cloud is based on connectivity options. At Equinix, we offer many different ways in which to interconnect. The first of these is peering exchanges. Equinix has been the worldwide leading operator of peering exchanges for quite some time for over-the-top delivery. It’s not surprising to see that much of the over-the-top cloud delivery happens where there is easy access to Internet infrastructure.

We are also seeing an increasing interest in direct connection to the cloud. Over-the-top has its limitations in terms of applicability to the corporate CIO, so there’s an increasing demand for private WAN connectivity into cloud infrastructure for most large and mid-sized enterprises.

 

Connectivity Modalities: Internet Exchange, Ethernet Exchange and Direct Connect.

 

In addition to peering exchanges and direct connection, we also offer the Ethernet exchange. Equinix operates the Equinix Ethernet Exchange in 17 markets around the world. Ethernet Exchange is a way of aggregating service providers to solve the problem of how to perform one-to-many and many-to-many interactions in the same way that peering occurs. A common example would be if a network service provider wanted to do business with 60 different cloud companies. Sixty private Network-to-Network Interfaces (NNIs) is probably not the most efficient way to do this. But the Equinix Ethernet Exchange enables this to happen.

 

The Enterprise View

It’s also important to understand how the enterprise CIO approaches the infrastructure challenges of cloud computing. The red box that you see in the diagram below is where we focus. Starting from the left are the common infrastructure considerations of an enterprise when considering a cloud deployment. Common questions exist, such as “Do I build something, or potentially lease something?” At Equinix, we are seeing growing interest in colocation, where companies buy by the rack in facilities such as ours. In addition, there are also hosting providers, utility computing and cloud companies that exist in Equinix’s infrastructure. This is where we see the greatest demand. In fact, our cloud customer base has grown from 250 service providers to over 700 in the last two years.

 

Data Center Manager’s Choices: Insource?/Outsource?/Multisource?

 

As corporations look to deploy their own data center infrastructure, a common problem that arises is that their current data center infrastructure-their owned, corporate facility-is full, out of power, or out of date. The average corporate data center costs about $9 million to build, and in the current economic environment, that’s not terribly attractive to most companies. So an OpEx answer, in the same way that utility computing is an OpEx answer, is very attractive.

We see enterprises increasingly coming into data center environments to accomplish several things. One is to take the heavier pieces of their internal resources and put them in a place where there is a multitude of carriers and connectivity. For example, moving workloads, between multitenant data centers is a far easier and less expensive value proposition than moving large amounts of data out of a corporate data center that may be serviced by only one or two carriers, across network infrastructure, and then back down into another private data center. So enterprises are starting to “hub,”, an idea that is not uncommon to most people in the network space.

 

In the second part of this two-part series introduction, we will discuss the importance of financials services as the “canary in the coal mine” for cloud adoption. We will also present excerpts of several comments made by Equinix customers and partners during the panel discussion at ITW 2012.

Additional Resources: Equinix and GoGrid examine the means by which network and cloud providers can work in unison to deploy secure, high-performance access options for cloud connectivity. (58:00 minute webcast)

Watch the Webinar Now: Networks & Cloud – Navigating the Potential

 

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