Industry-First: Higher levels of Cloud Access Take Hybrid Cloud from “Massive Science Project” to Interconnected Cloud Breakthrough

Jane Shurtleff


We’ve recently announced some exciting new enhancements to our Equinix Cloud Exchange. These unique capabilities give enterprises buying cloud services, and cloud services providers (CSPs) selling those services, the fastest cloud connection time in the industry and unsurpassed levels of on-demand multi-cloud orchestration, control and global reach.

Chris Sharp, vice president of cloud innovation at Equinix, filled us in on some of these new capabilities.

Q: What’s new about the Equinix Cloud Exchange?

A: We’ve taken the next step in making Equinix’s Cloud Exchange the industry’s fastest way to gain private, secure access to multiple public cloud services, such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, without going over the public Internet. We’ve achieved this by providing a platform and tools that enable a tighter and more seamless integration between the buyers and sellers of cloud services. These tools enable companies to build more cost-effective, easy to manage and highly-secure multi-cloud architectures and infrastructures.

Q: What benefits are your customers seeing from these enhancements to the Equinix Cloud Exchange?

A: People who are trying to build hybrid cloud solutions find that pulling applications, networks, and private and public cloud services together is a massive science project. Providing buyers and sellers of cloud services with a common programmable interface to an automated, high-performance and secure multi-cloud interconnection platform, is an industry first.

Q: How does this differ from other connectivity solutions out there?

A: We have totally changed the dynamics of multi-cloud interconnectivity – taking the paradigm from one-to-one, to one-to-many and many-to-many. And we’ve done it by developing a platform and a set of tools that completely automate the provisioning and orchestration of connecting to multi-cloud services. This translates into faster time to market and consumption of cloud services, and more efficient and cost-effective on-demand management. Our recent announcement with Cisco’s InterCloud is an excellent example of the seamless deployment of our automated multi-cloud connectivity.

The Equinix Cloud Exchange’s automated control of virtual connections gives cloud services buyers and sellers the seamless elasticity they require to stand up, take down and scale near real-time virtual connections to cloud services on-demand. Its automated virtual connection provisioning and services orchestration is a repeatable model, enabling companies to quickly replicate it within our IBX data centers. For example, we enabled Microsoft to expedite the deployment of Azure in 16 global markets within just a matter of months, providing our more than 4,500 customers fast access to that cloud platform. By the end of 2014, our Equinix Cloud Exchange ecosystem will be available in 21 markets worldwide.

Q: Exactly what capabilities do these new tools enable?

A: We are offering four new tools to cloud services buyers and sellers that will enable them to reach a higher level of automated cloud deployment and orchestration:

  • Equinix Cloud Exchange API – Our API enables fast virtual connectivity and tighter integration between enterprise buyers and global cloud services providers. It also allows for greater efficiencies in automation, control and scalability of cloud services, resulting in lower costs.
  • Equinix Cloud Exchange Portal – This web-based interface to our API environment provides companies who are just starting to either purchase or sell cloud services easy, fast access to the same virtual connectivity and service automation capabilities as those companies that have deployed the API within their own cloud architectures and infrastructures. The portal provides buyers with faster access to cloud services and sellers a faster time to market.
  • Equinix Cloud Exchange Software Developer’s Kit (SDK) – Our SDK leverages a proven software development environment that we acquired from partnering with Apigee, a leader in API management. The SDK enables buyers and sellers to easily integrate our API into third-party or customer-specific cloud management tools, such as provisioning, configuration management or security. This provides the business intelligence required for a more systematic and automated approach to the management of interconnecting to cloud services.
  • Equinix Cloud Exchange Developer’s Portal – This private portal enables developers using our SDK to rapidly integrate our API into their cloud services management applications and test their solutions in a real-time cloud environment before they go live. The environment also provides a unique opportunity for enterprises, CSPs and NSPs to come together to test interconnected multi-cloud solutions.

Q: What was the most surprising thing you learned after introducing the Equinix Cloud Exchange into the market?

A: While not a complete surprise, we were struck by the immediate market validation of the direction we were taking with the Equinix Cloud Exchange. When we first launched the Exchange early this year, there was a lot of dialog around whether or not the public Internet was enough to meet the current and future demands of cloud service providers and consumers. We now know that bypassing the Internet and accessing public clouds through private interconnections is an absolute requirement for cloud services consumption. For faster performance, higher security and greater scalability, there’s nothing in the market like it.

Our enhancements and global expansion of the Equinix Cloud Exchange take enterprises and CSPs way beyond simple connectivity to a completely new level of performance, control and efficiency in delivering multi-cloud services.