Networking at the Edge: Simplify your topology to increase network performance, resiliency and scalability

Bryson Hopkins
Networking at the Edge: Simplify your topology to increase network performance, resiliency and scalability

Digital transformation is not simply about transforming business processes from analog to digital. It’s about enabling global collaboration and customer engagement across multiple digital mobile and social channels. It requires shifting your IT architecture from legacy and siloed to integrated and dynamic. It involves interconnecting scores of globally dispersed application and cloud services, and leveraging APIs, digital payments and smart contracts. Increasingly, it is also about coping with the overwhelming data demands of the IoT and real-time big data analytics, all while delivering a fast and secure end-user experience.

This is not some hypothetical scenario. Many of the organizations that haven’t embraced digital transformation have seen their businesses decline and even fail. Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme noted that digital is the main reason half of the companies in the Fortune 500 have disappeared since 2000.

The demands of digital transformation on the traditional network infrastructure can seem overwhelming, if not impossible to manage. Not only does transformation demand highly expensive network bandwidth, it requires you to solve the problem of latency, which means shortening the physical distance between global applications, data, clouds and people. We’re not just talking about latency between you and your customers, but latency among all the dispersed digital systems and interconnections required to create and deliver digital goods. You can throw all the bandwidth you can afford at the problem, but no amount of bandwidth will solve the physics of latency.

Re-architect for a digital edge and simplify your topology

The answer to this complexity is to re-architect for a digital edge and simplify your network topology by deploying an Interconnection Oriented Architecture (IOA™) strategy. An IOA is a proven and repeatable architectural framework that directly and securely connects people, locations, clouds and data. It is being used by more than 8,500 companies and is allowing today’s enterprise and service providers to re-architect their IT infrastructures from siloed and fixed to integrated and dynamic.

Deploy digital edge nodes

To accelerate your IOA strategy for networking, we offer a “Network Blueprint.” This guide lays out the steps you can take to address latency, bandwidth and security issues by deploying a more distributed network infrastructure out at your enterprise’s digital edge, where population centers (customers, employees, partners) and digital ecosystems (clouds, mobile, social networks, B2B partners) meet.

The blueprint shows you how to rethink your network architecture and move many of your digital business/IT functions from a centralized, core enterprise network to strategically located, distributed network “edge nodes.” This will help you enhance network performance, resiliency, scalability and security. Each edge node is strategically placed geographically close to customers and dense ecosystems of partner systems, cloud services and network provider peering points.

Network Blueprint Diagram


You can tailor digital edge nodes for network and traffic types that must be localized/regionalized, optimized and segmented. Most likely you would deploy edge nodes in major global metropolitan areas with high user traffic and data density, where a business presence would be a strategic advantage. Then you can cross connect your colocated systems with partners, cloud services and network providers over direct, proximate, high-speed links. Finally, you can interconnect all the edge nodes via optimized WAN connections.

Dense partner, cloud and network provider ecosystems offer not only fast cross connects, they lower the interconnection cost compared to connecting over expensive, long-distance MPLS or the public internet. Cloud and network provider choice also inevitably leads to lower network costs at the same time as it slashes latency dramatically, often by 80% or more.

The IOA Network Blueprint lays out an overall LAN/WAN strategy that brings the two together and the design principles and topologies required to get there, including:

  • localizing and optimizing traffic
  • segmenting traffic flows
  • deploying multi-cloud connectivity
  • off-loading internet traffic at the edge
  • connecting to business partner and customer digital ecosystems

Aggregating connectivity at a colocation edge node and securely cross connecting segmented traffic flows can deliver dramatic benefits in sustainable cost reduction, improved performance and enhanced security.

Watch for upcoming blogs in this series on networking at the edge. In the meantime, read the IOA Playbook and start planning your move to the digital edge.

If you are ready to begin architecting for the digital edge now, contact an Equinix Global Solutions Architect.

Avatar photo
Bryson Hopkins Former Senior Director, Global Solutions Enablement
Subscribe to the Equinix Blog