Rethinking the Network: Connectivity Options

Lou Najdzin


By Lou Najdzin, Vertical Dev. Director, Global Enterprise, Equinix


This is Part 2 in Lou Najdzin’s three-part blog series “Rethinking the network”

In my last blog post, I discussed rethinking the network with today’s end-user in mind. I also demonstrated how strategic CIOs can leverage carrier-neutral data centers to acquire bandwidth and boost application performance by deploying Network Performance Hubs (NPH) in key locations.

In this post I will discuss how these NPHs are built and deployed at Equinix’s “epicenters of connectivity” and how you can take advantage of a range of connectivity solutions for application delivery. There are three connectivity solutions that are available in Equinix carrier neutral data centers: direct connection, Ethernet, and optimized internet. The key is to determine which is best for delivering your applications to your end-users. While a direct connection is the least expensive, best performing, and the most secure; it may not be practical in all instances.

Direct connection is a simple, dedicated, layer 1 connection between Equinix customers that reside in the same physical facility or metro location. Direct connection is ultra-low latency and highly secure because connectivity is point-to-point and dedicated in the same data center. Think of the direct connection as a local loop except that it is an intra-data center local loop that is inexpensive at approximately $350 per month. There are over 100,000 direct connections between customers on Platform EquinixTM, with 4,000 plus customers, that’s an average of over 25 direct connections per customer.

Direct connection is ideal for connecting to network service providers, cloud providers, and content providers that are collocated in the same data center as your deployment. Think about it from a cloud perspective, cloud economics and performance without traversing the internet – which might be considered “spooky” for certain types of applications and data. If you have avoided cloud because of security and performance concerns, it’s time to take another look at cloud services leveraging direct connection. And because the connection is secure and your data does not leave the data center that you are collocated in, your compliance team will be very happy. Direction connection is available from your environment to cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services around the world.

Carrier-class Ethernet continues to gain momentum as a connectivity vehicle. Similar to the replacement technology that Frame Relay was for private line, Ethernet is beginning to replace MPLS and other VPN technologies – especially in high-bandwidth and QoS-enabled connectivity scenarios. Carrier and metro Ethernet services provide layer 2 connectivity over high-capacity carrier links. As bandwidth requirements continue to increase, consider Ethernet for deployment situations requiring high capacity and the ability to offer SLAs and ensure a high quality user experience. Need to deliver cloud services to HQ, but don’t want to traverse the Internet? Ethernet is a great choice. Ethernet offers private connectivity from the Equinix data center to headquarters or other location without the internet. Equinix runs the world’s largest Ethernet exchange platform for service providers; customers can purchase a single port on the Equinix Ethernet Exchange and connect to the millions of buildings served by participating carriers.

There will be times when direct connection and Ethernet aren’t available for certain deployments. The Internet is a global system of interconnected networks that rely on physical interconnections with each other in order to “peer” and pass traffic from one network to another. And with over 900 network service providers, Equinix has the most Internet Exchange Point members. That’s why more than 4,000 companies, including over 300 cloud and over 500 IT services providers have chosen to deploy in Equinix data centers. By collocating network performance hubs within facilities that serve as the critical peering points for the largest global and regional Internet backbone networks, enterprises can directly connect to multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) within a single facility. This allows you to choose the best performance/cost combination for your business.

Direct connection, Ethernet, Internet, which is right for your organization? Probably a combination of all three. The key is to take a look at the applications that you need to deliver and find the right balance of cost and performance. The Network Performance Hub is built at “epicenters of connectivity” that offer many choices of service providers and three distinct connectivity options. As you deal with more devices, more end-users, more applications; Network Performance hubs placed in “epicenters of connectivity” provide the choice and flexibility that are required to ensure that your apps are delivered efficiently and effectively.

Interested in learning more detail about connectivity in carrier-neutral data centers? My colleague Ephraim Baron and I will be writing a three blog series detailing each of the connectivity options outlined here.

For more information about Network Performance hubs, don’t miss the upcoming Equinix webinar, “Network Optimization: The Value of Network Performance Hubs”.


Register for the webinar on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 9am PST / 12pm EST

Lou Najdzin Senior Director, Solution Marketing, Americas