The digital world is a virtual reflection of the physical world that is growing more sophisticated over time. Traditionally, organizations have sought to gain competitive advantage by collecting the digital versions of their most important assets in centralized databases and IT architectures. For example, they capture things like who their customers are, what products they buy, what time of the year holds the highest sales, which locations have the top sales, and how and why customers buy the company’s products. This centralized approach may have worked for a time, but the digital replicas of who, what, where, when, why and how are becoming increasingly complex and connected to their physical counterparts.
The era of digital business: Moving from centralized to distributed
Digital transformation is driving the creation of distributed platforms and services, which are rapidly gaining more business value than products by themselves. This is shifting the enterprise center of gravity from centralized internal data systems to a distributed interconnection model that supports external collaboration and ecosystems. To participate and scale in this burgeoning digital economy, enterprises are distributing workloads to the cloud. However, the journey hasn’t been a straight line. Most companies have ended up with a mix of IT approaches ranging from on-premises legacy systems to virtual private clouds to a mix of public and hybrid clouds, which can increase complexity.
Managing a distributed hybrid IT approach is easy with Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™) on Platform Equinix®. ECX Fabric is a software-defined interconnection solution that connects private IT infrastructure to multiple cloud platforms over high-speed, low-latency virtualized connections. Through a single port, businesses can connect in minutes and scale IT resources on demand to any ECX Fabric participant, including their own infrastructure, across multiple metros.
One example of how this works is Oracle Cloud with Equinix. Implementing Oracle Cloud Infrastructure FastConnect on ECX Fabric enables businesses to optimize their connection to the Oracle Cloud with flexible, on-demand, global interconnection. Deployed as part of an Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA™) strategy on Platform Equinix®, this solution enables applications (e.g., Oracle Siebel, Oracle ERP Cloud, Oracle E-Business Suite, etc.), workloads and data to operate on-premises and in the public cloud over high-performance, private and scalable connections. Deployment scenarios include cloud adjacency, hybrid/multicloud, and backup and disaster recovery infrastructures, which we will discuss further in future blogs.
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure FastConnect via the Equinix Cloud Exchange™ Fabric
Design for physics
Equinix has worked on digital transformations with its customers across various industries. One of our key findings across all this work is that too many of today’s enterprises are ignoring the realities of the physical world as they strive to design the next generation of digital-ready IT architectures.
Physics is how we describe the universal laws of the physical world, such as mass, gravity and motion. It is extremely difficult to move objects of large mass over long distances at high speeds, so it requires a significant investment of resources to achieve. Yet, enterprises frequently don’t keep these principles in mind when designing their IT infrastructures. Here are some common themes we encounter in traditional IT architectures where the laws of physics are limiting enterprises in their digital transformation journey:
- Attempting to serve a global userbase with centralized architecture (Consider thresholds of Speed of light)
The speed of light is the maximum possible speed at which all information can travel, and it is a constant for a given medium. However, the maximum practical speed at which data can travel is limited by the transmission speeds of the network, which can vary. This manifests as latency or delays in the network. We have seen numerous cases where enterprises ignore this law and deploy centralized architectures at or near headquarters. But, they wonder why remote users on the other side of the world experience snail’s pace performance. In the digital era, this is completely unacceptable as ‘slow is the new down‘.
- Building an enterprise class hybrid/multicloud architecture over an unpredictable internet foundation (Consider Volume)
Hammering a square peg in a round hole can be tough. As an example, can you hammer 1 petabyte (PB) of data from on-premises to cloud over the internet if your average internet speed is 100 megabits per second (Mbps)? You can, but it would take about three years to complete – assuming you do not have to restart midway if the network or application errors out. Yet, enterprises try this over and over again to build their hybrid/multicloud connectivity, and as a result, increase the unpredictability behind moving large volumes of data.
- Ignoring possible business changes in the future (Consider aligning to the center of Gravity)
In an interconnected world, an enterprise is extremely dependent on its industry ecosystem. If you are physically distant or isolated from your digital business partners or providers (including cloud and network providers), you would naturally encounter network agility, performance and cost issues. These issues will become even more pronounced as businesses demand to roll out connectivity and business models almost instantaneously with new partners, including cloud providers. Distributed IT environments require realigning the center of your digital business gravity to where the majority of users, applications, data and clouds reside.
All of the above traditional IT habits have cost implications. Enterprises will find themselves in a much steeper cost curve than if they had designed for physics.
Four critical steps to becoming digital-ready
The laws of physics are always working – the only question is, are they working for you or against you? To help enterprises imbibe this aspect while on their digital journey, we have codified the process into a framework based on Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA™) best practices. Based on that framework, here are four steps that enterprises can take to become digital ready.
- Network Optimization: Strategically place network hubs close to users, data and clouds to solve for latency.
- Hybrid/Multicloud: Directly connect clouds, apps and data from network hubs to solve for volume and agility, while avoiding the constraints of the public internet.
- Distributed Security: Deploy security controls in network hubs to reduce risk, and solve for compliance and horizontal concerns.
- Distributed Data: Integrate and exchange data, or place analytics in network hubs to solve for cloud adjacency and data residency.
Equinix and Oracle
Equinix is proud to be an Oracle FastConnect partner and a Gold level member of Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN). Together we are working to accelerate our customers’ digital transformation. With Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric, customers can extend their Oracle IaaS and PaaS solutions to the Oracle Cloud in 30 plus locations across US, EMEA and APAC.
In the next post in this series, we will walk through customer examples where enterprises built their IT architectures on Platform Equinix keeping these laws of physics in mind.
To learn more, check out our ECX Fabric data sheet.
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