How VMware and Equinix Interconnect vCloud Air to the Enterprise

Pragnesh Panchal


Businesses can now deploy high-performance, secure VMware-based hybrid clouds

According to Gartner, by 2020 “hybrid will be the most common usage of the cloud” as more enterprises see the benefits of integrating public and private cloud infrastructures. However, enabling the growth of hybrid cloud deployments in the enterprise requires fast and safe interconnection between public and private cloud services.

We’re seeing the rapid growth of hybrid clouds firsthand with our enterprise customers. The public cloud enables them to scale their on-premises infrastructures and reduce IT costs by gaining a more flexible, usage-based business model. At the same time, they want to maintain on-premises infrastructures and private clouds for those applications that are not “public cloud-ready” and to protect sensitive data.

We have a rich ecosystem of cloud service providers, and we are experienced in helping businesses develop high-performance, secure hybrid cloud infrastructures. The most recent addition to our cloud ecosystem is VMware vCloud® Air™, a hybrid cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service, based on the VMware vSphere® virtualization platform.


Hybrid Cloud Use Cases

Enterprises can deploy various VMware vCloud Air hybrid cloud use cases where private and public cloud services are required for specific workloads, applications and data protection. For example, we see many enterprises deploying the following hybrid cloud use cases:

  • Enterprise Extension
  • Enterprise Replacement/Consolidation
  • Disaster Recovery

Data Center Extension

Enterprises are looking for fast and easy ways to move applications to the cloud to supplement under provisioned, on-premises infrastructures, and manage fluctuating IT capacity requirements and workloads. Situations where this capability may be required include: bursts in e-commerce activity during the holiday season; sporadic development and testing of applications; higher education student enrollments; or ensuring that application performance is meeting SLAs.

In these kinds of scenarios, enterprises can move applications seamlessly from private, on-premises vSphere data centers to public vCloud Air and back again, without having to re-architect applications. This is a major advantage for an enterprise with an existing vSphere implementation. These organizations can realize predictable latency, consistent high throughput and enhanced security from bypassing the internet with direct, private connectivity that reduces the cyber-attack surface.

Data Center Replacement/Consolidation

Today’s enterprises are leveraging the cloud to shift IT expenses from CAPEX to OPEX, and reduce the cost of expanding and maintaining IT infrastructure and network silos. In addition, companies that are going through spin-offs or mergers and acquisitions, as well as those enterprises anticipating a hardware refresh or end-of-life, need a way to easily consolidate data center infrastructure resources.

In this scenario, companies can leverage predictable, low-latency, high throughput interconnection to facilitate one-time or ongoing transfers of data and VM images from customer premises to vCloud Air using a network service provider and the Equinix Cloud Exchange (see diagram below).


Disaster Recovery

Enterprises require reliable disaster recovery (DR) infrastructures to ensure business continuity and uptime requirements. At the same time, they need to reduce spending on underutilized data centers that are only used during disasters or planned/unplanned downtime. Cloud-based DR can mirror on-premises architectures for multiple workloads, including network and security controls in the cloud. They can also eliminate costly, redundant data centers to support DR and provide fast, secure infrastructure or application failover from on-premises to the cloud.

Predictable low-latency, high throughput direct connection ensures fast transfer of large volumes of critical data to vCloud Air. In addition, 100% compatibility with an on-premises vSphere environment leads to reduced recovery point and recovery time objectives

These and many more hybrid cloud scenarios can ensure that enterprises are developing high-performance and secure on-premises and public cloud integration, while reducing costs and complexity.

UK-based e-gaming specialists Ardenta, a Claranet Group Company, deployed its hybrid cloud infrastructure on the vCloud Air platform. Said Scott Hanson, technical director, Ardenta, “A true hybrid cloud solution must be built with performance and availability in mind. This is vital for customer experience expectations to be met. The Equinix Cloud Exchange provides high-performance, low-latency connectivity to vCloud Air, which allows Ardenta to deploy any part of the infrastructure either on premise or in vCloud Air with no impact on the performance or reliability of the platform.”

vCloud Air Interconnection Scenarios

The vCloud Air platform can be accessed directly and securely on Platform Equinix™ using the Equinix Performance Hub and interconnection solutions like Cloud Exchange and cross connect. Here are some of the interconnection scenarios for efficient and cost-effective access to the vCloud Air platform.

Examples of these include:

  1. Enterprises or Network Service Providers (NSPs) connecting to vCloud Air within Equinix (see diagram below)
    1. Directly cross connect between enterprise VMware vSphere and vCloud Air platforms via Performance Hub.
    2. Directly connect to vCloud Air via the Equinix Cloud Exchange. VMware calls this method a “Direct Connect with Network Exchange.”


  1. Connecting to vCloud Air from an on-premises data center external to Equinix (see diagram below)
    1. Extend the corporate WAN edge via the Equinix Performance Hub and then connect to vCloud Air using either a cross connect or Equinix Cloud Exchange.
    2. Connect an on-premises VMware vSphere infrastructure via a participating NSP at Equinix to VMware vCloud Air using the Cloud Exchange.
    3. Connect to vCloud Air via a remote port on the Equinix Cloud Exchange.

As of this writing, the vCloud Air solution is now available via “Direct Connect with Network Exchange” in London, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers, and also via “Direct Connect with cross connect” in Frankfurt, London, New York, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.

Contact Equinix Professional Services for Cloud for more information on building high-performance and secure hybrid cloud infrastructures by directly accessing VMware vCloud Air on Platform Equinix.