Networking for Nerds: Is Your Data Center Interconnected?

Inside Equinix AM7 in Amsterdam

Is your data center interconnected? Does it have private interconnectivity with any partner or customer you want to reach across multiple global metros? Can you provide fast, direct and secure access to a cloud or software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider that is not directly located in the same city as your employees? Can you ensure the local security your users require at geographically dispersed data centers? These are the hallmarks of an interconnected data center.

Another way to tell if your data center is interconnected is by a simple visual such as the diagram below. Is your ability to provide your users quick access to IT services constrained by point-to-point connectivity, where you are backhauling all of your data traffic to a centralized data center? Or, are you leveraging more optimized, multi-point connectivity via distributed, private data traffic exchange and control points to give your users secure, local access to the services they need? 

Digital transformation is driving the rise of the interconnected data center

The demand for the interconnected data center is a direct result of the need for companies to transform into digital businesses and scale as the global digital economy expands. As digital transformation accelerates, so does a company’s need for real-time interactions, which forces digital services to the edge, closer to people, locations, clouds, data and things.

Another indicator of the increasing demand for the interconnected data center is the global growth of Interconnection Bandwidth – the total capacity provisioned to privately and directly exchange traffic with a diverse set of counterparties and providers at distributed IT exchange points. According to the Global Interconnection Index, Volume 1, by 2020 Interconnection Bandwidth will have grown to over 5,000 Tbps, outpacing the growth of overall global IP traffic, the internet and MPLS, today’s leading private network model.

The Index also shows the top interconnection use cases for enterprises are accessing network, providers and cloud and IT providers. Enterprises need to re-architect their existing IT infrastructures for digital and to access network, cloud and SaaS service providers to deliver digital services to their users on demand.

To fully realize and scale these and other digital capabilities, businesses need to place an interconnected data center at strategic “digital edge” locations. This is where the interconnected data center brings physical and virtual worlds together via a cohesive, vendor-neutral colocation and interconnection platform that enables you to reach everywhere, interconnect everyone and integrate everything.

Globally interconnecting metro data centers through a single, SDN-based fabric

Enterprises are working to build out their digital edge to place IT, network, cloud, data, applications and security infrastructures closer to employees, partners and customers. And, they are finding that a vendor-agnostic, colocation data center strategy is the most economical and expedient way to distribute these resources and services across multiple metros. But once that is accomplished, integrating it all together via an agile interconnected fabric that can accommodate evolving digital technologies and modes of business is critical to making it all work.

This is why leveraging virtual networking technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) can help you build an interconnected data center platform that provides dynamic “inter-metro connectivity” and simplifies how you can enable private interconnection with distributed users on a regional, national or global basis. For example, a solution such as the Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™) deployed on Platform Equinix® provides a user-friendly customer portal or a rich set of APIs that leverage programmable SDN capabilities, such as discovery and real-time provisioning, that leverage all the benefits companies have come to expect from dynamic “as-a-service” models. Our customers use the SDN capabilities built into the ECX Fabric to quickly and cost-effectively interconnect with participating Equinix customers over direct and secure, high-speed, low-latency connections, regardless of location. This includes interconnecting their own digital edge deployments across regionally distributed Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers.

What you gain from the interconnected data center

An interconnected data center can be designed to be customized for various digital deployments by using proven Interconnection Oriented Architecture™(IOA™) best practices for interconnecting people, locations, clouds, data and things. The key benefits you can gain from leveraging an IOA to deploy an interconnected data center include:

    • Greater application, data and cloud/SaaS access and integration, regardless of the location of your company or your service provider
    • Faster access to local network ecosystems for quickly adding enterprise bandwidth, enhancing performance and leveraging service provider peering
    • Easier colocation data center information management of distributed customer environments
    • Enhanced security locally, regionally and globally via direct and secure interconnection at distributed traffic exchange and control points
    • Access to cloud-agnostic, encryption key management services such as Equinix SmartKey™, which offers secure, scalable multicloud hardware security module-as-a-service capabilities

These are just a few of the ways the interconnected data center can help you accelerate and scale your company’s digital transformation. For more information on how you transform your enterprise into a digital business by leveraging the interconnected data center, check out our Platform Equinix Vision paper.

 

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