The IT Shopping Mall – “This Place Has Got Everything!”

Jane Shurtleff


There’s been a tremendous amount of physical and financial growth in multitenant data centers over the years. Equinix alone currently operates 10M+ square feet of data center space across 32 markets in 15 countries on five continents. And the multitenant market continues to grow; MarketsandMarkets estimates the data center and IT colocation market will grow from $26 billion in 2013 to $43 billion by 2018.

And it’s not just about data centers growing in size or economic significance, it’s about the depth and diversity of their inhabitants. When Jake and Elwood Blues careen through a suburban Illinois mall in the classic film “The Blues Brothers,” Jake quips, “This place has got everything.” The same is true with today’s new IT multitenant infrastructure, but instead of a collection of retail stores and food courts, the IT shopping mall is made up of a broad array of service providers. This “one-stop shopping” accessibility gives enterprises of all sizes the flexibility to extend or replace critical IT capabilities and grow their business in new directions.

Equinix has been at the forefront of much of this growth and it’s fun to sit back and consider how this all came to be.

The Internet needed a place to hang out

According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, in 2015 there will be nearly four billion global Internet users, more than 51 percent of the world’s population. But, going back just 15 years, there was no one place for network service providers (NSPs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to congregate to handle the exponential growth of web traffic. To accommodate this need for interconnectivity, NSP and ISP peers required a neutral place to meet up. An interconnection and connectivity ecosystem was formed within Equinix and has since grown to more than 1,000 networks, ISPs, carriers and mobile providers worldwide.

Ecosystems open for business

The rich interconnectivity within Equinix immediately attracted content providers, who wanted to leverage the improved performance they could get with close physical proximity to the NSPs, ISPs and customers. Within Equinix, their latency-sensitive content got where it needed to be quickly with great end-user quality of experience (QoE). Today, Equinix hosts more than 500 content providers worldwide.

Later, vertical industries, such as financial services, online gaming and digital advertising, whose businesses live and die by microseconds of application response times, wanted to leverage access to this high-performance environment while creating their own ecosystems. Today, Equinix hosts more than 800 financial services customers across the world’s largest trading metros.

Cloud computing and social media enablers, like the Amazons, Microsofts and Facebooks, soon joined this collective, forming an “anything-as-a-service” marketplace. Today, Equinix interconnects more than 450 cloud service providers (CSPs) to global businesses and the Equinix Marketplace™ boasts 4,500 customers.

Free Samples

Much like Cinnabon handing out free tasty samples, there are multiple “try and buy” opportunities at this mall. All the right service providers are just a fast direct connection away and in the case of the Equinix Cloud Exchange, you are just one link away from multiple CSPs. With this kind of easy, virtual connectivity to multiple cloud services, you can find the best tools for your application workloads at the best value. As you try on multiple cloud services for size, you’re ultimately spending less time and money on your cloud deployments while bringing your solutions to new markets with more speed and profitability.

Still breaking ground

In spite of all the amazing growth and change I can see in the rear view mirror, I believe we’re still laying the foundation for the best to come.

What would you like from the mall?