The Equinix family is made up of global employees who bring a rich and diverse set of experience and skills to help customers solve business and technology problems with innovative solutions. In this month’s “Meet Equinix” article, we’re speaking to Frank Amann, Global Solutions Architect (GSA) in Zurich, Switzerland. Frank is helping customers transform their networks to handle today’s data deluge and establish higher-performing and more flexible cloud connections.
Frank holds a degree in electrical engineering and started his career at a small start-up in Germany, where he learned the fundamentals of this new digital information technology age as a telecommunications electrician apprentice. It was there where he discovered his passion and knack for technical consulting in an ever-changing business environment. Seeking a more global challenge, he went to work for a multinational network and IT service provider in Germany and Switzerland as a senior consultant before joining Equinix’s GSA team. In his spare time, Frank enjoys travelling and playing sports, especially basketball, which he played at the semipro level.
What trends are causing EMEA customers to transform their IT infrastructures?
Everyone talks about the Internet of Things and big data. Both have a huge amount of data that has to be transported throughout the network. Since existing networks are not designed for such large amounts of data, it’s time to change the old-school approach of using an MPLS network. Network designs need to start from a completely different place: Instead of deciding if an application can be accommodated by the existing network, the application should now determine the network design and how it can use diverse connectivity options to ensure a secure and flexible environment (e.g., cloud services, hybrid IT models, etc.). This new network strategy also affects the structure of the IT organization. There’s no longer an IT department solely responsible for the network and another for the applications. With the increased usage of clouds and hybrid IT, both worlds have merged.
What are some of the top challenges your customers are facing today?
Our customers want to set up their entire IT infrastructure in a way that best meets the needs of the end users. Building private, public or hybrid clouds on an interconnected platform is the best way to build a solid and reliable infrastructure. For example, implementing Performance Hubs can help upgrade an enterprise’s WAN in a way that increases flexibility, reduces costs and maintains network and application performance.
The biggest challenge we see in Europe is finding reliable, private and high-speed connection to large public cloud providers, such as AWS and Microsoft Azure. Since those providers are currently only present in some European regions, we have to present broader interconnection options. Our ECX Connected Services enable customers to leverage the Equinix Cloud Exchange from any location to reach out to each and every cloud provider within our International Business Exchanges (IBXs) in Europe. This allows enterprise customers to easily build a hybrid cloud environment by using an IBX in Zurich to host their private infrastructure while simultaneously accessing Azure in Amsterdam or AWS in Frankfurt.
Can you tell us about an enterprise customer solution that demonstrated these dynamics in action?
We worked with a global power and automation technology company to create a customized solution to solve the challenges it faced outsourcing its IT infrastructure. First, they needed to make sure they had redundant interconnection hub sites close to their manufacturing locations and offices so they could achieve the best user experience and be assured of fast and secure disaster recovery. From those sites, they also needed to connect to cloud providers and sites in countries such as China and South America.
Together we worked to help them establish a main and backup site strategy in three regions (U.S., Europe and Asia) by using Platform Equinix. Now, they have a flexible interconnection environment that can reach out to their offices and facilities in a fast, easy and reliable way via Equinix’s choice of more than 1,400 networks and 800+ cloud providers worldwide.