What Were the Top 5 Equinix Trends of 2016?

Phil Schwarzmann


Equinix SY4 in Sydney, Australia.

It’s time to welcome 2017, but we at Equinix want to give 2016 a little love before it’s too far past us, because it was quite a year. Historic expansion, innovation, new partnerships, and growth in the clouds and seas were some of what the last year brought us, and we’re already feeling a little nostalgic. So here is the Interconnections blog’s list of the Top 5 Equinix trends of 2016, in no particular order.

Expanding global reach with historic acquisitions, data center openings

Expanding ahead of customer demand has been an Equinix principle since we opened our first data centers nearly two decades ago, and demand for interconnection is huge in the digital age. That’s one reason we bookended 2016 with news about the biggest acquisitions in our history. In January, we completed our $3.8 billion deal to acquire European data center provider Telecity and added 40+ data centers. In December, we announced an agreement to purchase 29 Verizon data centers for $3.6 billion in North and Latin America. In between, we opened new data centers in Dallas, Sydney and Tokyo. So we started the year with 111 data centers and we’ll operate more than 175 after the Verizon deal closes, estimated to happen in mid-2017. According to my back-of-the-New Year’s-cocktail-napkin calculations, that’s about a 58% increase.

Sparking subsea cable momentum

The aging of existing subsea cable systems, combined with new, cloud-driven demand for capacity has touched off a wave of subsea cable construction. These international systems are critical to the global interconnection we’re committed to delivering, and providers increasingly see Equinix as a gateway to the direct and secure, high-capacity connections that are essential to their business. We’re involved with about a dozen projects, including several we made progress on this year. Some examples include:

  • The Monet project, connecting Florida and Brazil, is debuting the “data center model” by terminating at a cable landing station (CLS) that’s part of Equinix’s MI3 data center in the Miami area, rather than a CLS on the beach. That means Monet users can directly and securely connect inside Equinix to the cloud and network providers they need over low-latency connections without backhauling from the CLS to slow them down.
  • The Southern Cross Cable Network moved inside Equinix facilities in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. The Southern Cross network connects Sydney, Australia, and the West Coast.
  • The Cinia Group announced it would link its C-Lion1 submarine cable system between Germany and Finland to Equinix data centers in Frankfurt and Helsinki.

Enriching the Internet of Things

Before the Internet of Things (IoT) became an official thing, Equinix was built to optimize its applications. Our global data center platform, Platform Equinix™, now extends to 40 global markets, making us better able to deliver secure and high-performance interconnection between the various IoT components (clouds, networks, end users) that need to instantaneously collaborate and communicate. While that helps the IoT develop today, our decision to join the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) is about tomorrow. The aim of the group is to coordinate priorities and enable technologies for the Industrial Internet. We’re hoping our participation in the IIC helps increase IoT access and agility for solution providers and consumers of IoT-enabled services. Some of the goals for the IoT we’ll be working on with the IIC include:

  • Enhanced data security, so data can be stored, engaged and protected to take advantage of multiple analytic solutions
  • Better control and monitoring of IoT services and solutions to ensure the privacy and trust of their consumers
  • Enabling IoT data to be accessed by more users and systems, for fast experimentation and faster innovation
  • Tackling the problem of insufficient skills among organizations looking to better exploit the IoT by identifying gaps in present and future business processes and IT infrastructures

Investing in driving open standards and innovation

Collaboration is key in the digital age to deliver products and services, and it’s also critical to the new discovery and innovation that will propel our industry forward. That’s one reason we joined a number of open standards initiatives and groups in 2016 that allow us to use our expertise and vendor-neutral, global data center platform to contribute to industry advances. We became part of the elite Stanford Platform Lab, which works to develop the technology platforms that will enable the next generation of applications. We joined the Open Compute Project (OCP) as it expanded to focus on data center and interconnection technologies, and later announced we’d incorporated technology designed by Facebook and available through the OCP to develop an open source ecosystem in our data centers. In late 2016, we announced we’d teamed with Facebook and the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) to test Facebook’s Voyager switches inside two of our Silicon Valley data centers. TIP’s research focuses on networking innovations needed amid the continuing explosion in data traffic.

Thickening cloud density

The rapid expansion of cloud computing is driving growth in the digital age, and in 2016 we continued our work to live up to the title of “Home of the Interconnected Cloud.” Services such as the Equinix Cloud Exchange offer instantaneous interconnection to multiple cloud service providers, and we’re always building up our cloud ecosystem, which has 500+ cloud service providers. Some cloud highlights in 2016 include:

  • Access to Amazon Web Services (AWS) Direct Connect became available via Equinix in Los Angeles and Amsterdam. Equinix now offers AWS Direct Connect in 12 metros globally.
  • We began offering direct access to VMWare vCloud Air in markets across Europe and North America to help customers looking to build out VMware-based hybrid clouds.
  • Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute became available through Equinix in Canada for the first time ever. It debuted at our TR2 facility in Toronto, our 18th market globally with ExpressRoute.
  • We introduced the Equinix Media Cloud Ecosystem for Entertainment (EMCEE) to optimize content creation, global distribution and services across the media and entertainment industry.
  • F5 Networks joined the Equinix Cloud Exchange to provide direct access to its cloud-based F5 Silverline solution, which protects against DDoS attacks as they increase in scale and complexity.

Putting interconnection first

Much of the big news for Equinix in 2016 was related to ways we enhanced Platform Equinix™ to better enable enterprises to execute an Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA™) strategy, which we designed to help companies transform their IT to better fit the demands of the digital age. We know companies can’t keep their IT siloed and centralized in a corporate data center anymore. It must be integrated and dynamic enough to interconnect with people, locations, clouds and data right out at the edge of their corporate networks. Otherwise, the enterprise can’t deliver the superior performance their users expect. An IOA brings enterprise IT close to users everywhere, providing the proximity that’s essential to high-performance interconnection. To this end, we’ve developed both an IOA Playbook and an IOA Knowledge Base to enable companies to efficiently and effectively deploy an IOA strategy that best meets both their business and IT requirements.

Read more by downloading the “IOA Playbook-Architecting at the Digital Edge.”