Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, launched the 2015 Microsoft World Partner Conference (WPC) with a bold goal to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” And how he sees that happening is by enabling organizations to build-out the “intelligent cloud.” According to Nadella, the intelligent cloud “acts as a control plane that helps us move from device to device” and enables companies to transform their businesses to compete in the “mobile-first, cloud-first” world.
The excitement at the conference around the opportunities presented by cloud, in particular hybrid and multi-cloud, was palpable. And the momentum of Azure, with more than 90,000 new subscribers each month, 6,500 partners offering 3,200 applications in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, and the potential of $45 billion in cloud and enterprise partner services revenue, fueled that enthusiasm.
As one of the first data center providers to deliver direct access to Microsoft’s cloud services on a global scale, Equinix has also seen tremendous growth in the number of enterprise customers accessing Azure in Equinix’s International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers around the globe and has been a key contributor to the Azure momentum. Microsoft has deployed Azure in 19 regions worldwide and Equinix enables interconnectivity to Azure via ExpressRoute in 16 (soon to be 17) of those regions across five continents including North America, South America, Asia, Europe and Australia.
The Transformation of Cloud Service Delivery
A key theme in many of the WPC keynote sessions was the digital transformation of business. In our more than 100 meetings with Microsoft partners at the conference, we talked about how this transformation has changed their cloud service delivery model. As cloud services become more ubiquitous, cloud service providers’ businesses have been commoditized, requiring them to include new value-added services to their delivery model.
Services such as disaster recovery, business continuity, or helping customers to determine how to divide workloads for complex applications across hybrid and multi-clouds, require the management skills of a skilled service provider. For example, you may need to build a hybrid cloud that puts sensitive data in a private cloud, with your database application leveraging the compute resources in a public cloud. By helping enterprises solve these problems, service providers are removing a lot of barriers that keep enterprises from going to the cloud.
At Equinix, we are helping these partners meet their unique business challenges and enabling them to build a reoccurring business model for growth in the following ways:
- Matching large multinational partners with a global footprint, giving them multiple points of presence out to the edge from a single source
- Enabling fast, secure interconnections to hybrid and multi-cloud environments, with more than 100 companies connecting to clouds via the Equinix Cloud Exchange
- Supporting a dense cloud service provider ecosystem where more than 500 partners can develop value-chains for creating new solutions
- Providing Professional Services expertise in the design and deployment of private, public, hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures
Equinix CTO, Ihab Tarazi, joined Jason Zander, Corporate VP of Microsoft Azure, in a session titled “Growing your Business with Azure” to discuss how to help Microsoft partners build intelligent cloud solutions (private, public and hybrid) to suite their customers’ businesses. Ihab spoke of how high-performance interconnection, global reach and the flexibility to build-out hybrid and multi-cloud solutions are key to enabling enterprise cloud adoption. For example, in certain verticals such as healthcare and financial services, security and data compliance prevent the use of public cloud, however, the hybrid cloud opportunities for those businesses are huge.
By enabling partners to build out managed service solutions that use Microsoft Azure, Equinix Cloud Exchange and high-speed interconnectivity within worldwide colocations facilities, we are helping Azure partners to provide the intelligent cloud services and add-value solutions that their customers really need.