How Do Colocation and Interconnection Enable Hybrid/Multiclouds?

Steve Madden

This blog series looks at the pressing questions enterprises are asking about colocation and interconnection as they navigate digital transformation. So far, we’ve looked at how colocation fits into your data center strategy and how colocation hubs can optimize your network performance. Once you’ve laid the groundwork for a colocation-based data center strategy that places IT and interconnection at your digital edge, you’re ready to tie in cloud computing.

Cloud-based infrastructures and tools at your digital edge, along with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, augment what you need to scale IT resources and deliver applications and services to a distributed user base. Proximate interconnection to rich cloud ecosystems saves development and infrastructure costs and improves your product and service time to market. Direct and secure interconnection that privately exchanges data traffic between businesses and clouds increases operational and application performance by optimizing bandwidth and reducing latency. It also enables you to place security policies and controls (identification, encryption) close to the cloud services you’re consuming.

By implementing proven Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA™) best practices, you can leverage colocation and interconnection to enable a high-performance, scalable and secure hybrid/multicloud infrastructure for your distributed enterprise.

Extending the enterprise data center to the cloud at the edge

The RightScale 2018 State of the Cloud Report™ shows that hybrid cloud deployments make up the majority of the multicloud implementations in large enterprises.

And, the August 2017 edition of the Global Interconnection Index shows that interconnection to cloud and IT providers is the fastest-growing use case for installed Interconnection Bandwidth capacity, with an impressive 160% CAGR between 2016 and 2020. These are indicators of the growing demand for cloud interconnection that extends the data center out to an enterprises’ digital edge.

As Gartner recommends in its report the “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018: Cloud to the Edge:”[i]

“In edge computing, content, compute and storage resources are placed at the edge of the network, closest to user concentrations. Enterprise architecture and technology innovation leaders should bring cloud and edge computing together to support distributed computing and enhanced user experiences.”

We believe this requires enterprises to colocate data and security to multiple locations next to clouds and aggregate multiple networks in those same locations, close to where your data, security and clouds reside. By strategically distributing colocation hubs, you can deploy hybrid and multicloud infrastructures that leverage business ecosystems of choice and provide global coverage.

If you take the following steps to deploy hybrid/multicloud infrastructures, you can transform your operations and improve performance and security, as well as scale for traffic growth at your digital edge control points, rather than at a remote, centralized data center:

  1. Simplify Multicloud Connectivity and Operations
    Optimize for hybrid/multicloud application workflows by placing colocation hubs (traffic exchange points) close to users and clouds. Localize traffic with direct, secure, low-latency interconnection to segment and integrate traffic flows.
  2. Increase Multicloud Security Effectiveness
    Enforce compliance with a trust-nothing security model (applied to traffic flows across all parties) with policy-based border control, packet inspection and real-time security analytics, tailored to the level of security and compliance required by each flow.
  3. Minimize Costly Intercloud Data Transfers
    Avoid the need to place sensitive data in the cloud or move large data sets between clouds by colocating private data in a colocation hub to provide secure, low-latency access from multiple cloud platforms.
  4. Scale Geographical Multicloud Demand
    Address growth in traffic, data volumes and processing by distributing workloads across geographically placed colocation hubs, in proximity to users and cloud availability regions. Load balance resources for scale and business continuity.
  5. Build Multicloud Business Platforms
    Interconnect with customers and partners for direct commerce and data exchanges. Establish new flows (business service chains) and continually adapt to changes in regulations, technologies and emerging partners and markets.

Leveraging a dynamic cloud interconnection solution such as Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™) enables the creation of hybrid/multicloud infrastructures and accessibility to cloud platforms even if you are not geographically in the same colocation as the cloud provider. This approach allows you to connect to any cloud on Platform Equinix while still localizing traffic and data controls for greater performance, security and compliance.

Secure key management in the cloud

One way to simplify data protection across any cloud architecture is to deploy a global, SaaS-based, secure key management and cryptography service offered on a cloud-neutral colocation and interconnection platform. A solution such as Equinix SmartKey™ can provide key storage, encryption and tokenization across multiple clouds as a service, and address performance and security requirements at the digital edge, close to clouds, carriers and counterparties. It also restricts key access to authorized users.

For more information on solutions for enabling hybrid/multicloud computing and cloud data security, check out the Hybrid Multicloud Blueprint, ECX Fabric and Equinix SmartKey™, the winner of the 2018 Leading Lights “Most Innovative Security Strategy” Award.

[i] Gartner Report, “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018: Cloud to the Edge,” David W. Cearley, Bob Gill, Mike J. Walker, Thomas J. Bittman, Brian Burke, March 8, 2018 – ID G00346816