Businesses in pursuit of digital transformation are increasingly moving IT to the edge, closer to users, apps, data and a growing number of internet of things (IoT) devices. This shift is essential to enable the real-time interactions and traffic exchange that fuel digital business, but traditional IT infrastructures make this transition a very rocky road.
Global organizations are under enormous pressure to simultaneously scale network capacity to support new services/apps, enhance the customer experience and cut CAPEX spending. But many are struggling to respond to today’s needs, or prepare for the future, with yesterday’s IT and network infrastructures. As a result, they simply cannot spin up network services fast enough to support more dynamic apps and cloud/SaaS services. To succeed within this landscape, they need the ability to quickly and privately interconnect to multiple public clouds to rapidly scale IT resources and apps while minimizing security threats.
Virtualized network infrastructures speed this shift by enabling functions once performed by specialized network hardware to be done in software running on shared hardware. This is accomplished through network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN), which are less costly (lower CAPEX and OPEX) and more flexible than traditional network architectures. NFV and SDN also help businesses stay future-ready by creating a foundation for modern digital platforms such as 5G, IoT, edge computing and cloud-native application development, just to name a few. In looking just at the market for network functions virtualization infrastructure within the broader carrier network infrastructure market, IDC expects a 58.1% compound annual growth rate between 2017 and 2022, resulting in $5.6 billion.[i] We expect the growth rate for enterprises adopting NFV infrastructures to be in the same ballpark.
Today we launched a new generation of Network Edge services that will be a game changer for global businesses, equipping them to rapidly modernize their networks virtually on Platform Equinix®. With Network Edge, organizations can select, configure and connect virtual network services from industry-leading vendors like Cisco, Juniper and Palo Alto Networks at the edge in minutes-without additional space, power, hardware or equipment. This means they can now instantly deploy and interconnect virtual network services, such as routers, firewalls, private network terminators and WAN load-balancers, faster and with less complexity and cost.
Get your network digital ready with more simplicity, speed and control
To make the path even easier, Network Edge includes built-in integration with Equinix’s global on-demand, SDN-enabled interconnection service, Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™). Combining Network Edge and ECX Fabric creates a high-performance, secure hosted network virtualization infrastructure that automates the deployment of virtual network devices, making it simpler to connect to thousands of network and cloud providers and business partners around the world. It also includes built-in integration to the internet for dedicated out-of-band management of virtual network devices. And if additional bandwidth is required to support your network virtualization infrastructure, Equinix Connect is integrated with the total solution to provide on-demand bandwidth aggregation from major internet service providers, taking advantage of regional internet exchanges to lower latency.
Via the ECX Fabric Customer Portal, Network Edge customers can leverage dynamic, private interconnection to leading cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and Oracle® Cloud Infrastructure. When making these virtual connections, our customers follow the same “point and click, zero provisioning” process that they use for ECX Fabric Portal or APIs to activate new connections in minutes.
Network Edge is also compatible with the existing physical deployments businesses have on Platform Equinix, enabling them to instantly and seamlessly deploy direct and secure virtual connections to remote data centers and services. This extends their geographic reach and brings them even closer to their users while eliminating the need for additional CAPEX spending on data center equipment and infrastructure.
Removing concerns about single network vendor lock-in, Network Edge enables businesses to choose from best-of-breed NFV solutions from a diverse portfolio of vendors. These include the Cisco® Cloud Services Router 1000v, Juniper® vSRX Virtual Firewall and Palo Alto Networks® VM-Series Firewall, with additional edge devices, including the Cisco SD-WAN, being added soon onto Platform Equinix.
Network optimization for a new domain of digital use cases
One of the most pressing challenges facing today’s enterprises is the need to optimize the network to handle the business-critical digital use cases that simply did not exist a decade ago. Emerging digital platforms such as IoT, artificial intelligence/machine learning and unified communications all require short transaction times enabled by fast, low-latency connections.
Network Edge arms businesses to provision virtual connections proximate to their users, apps, data and clouds, giving them the progressive performance, flexibility and scalability traditional, hardware-centric networks simply cannot deliver. This is especially critical for high-priority use cases including:
- Rapid cloud-to-cloud routing for applications that span multiple clouds. For example, an online travel agency hosts its public-facing website in one cloud and its customer database in another. To optimize application performance, the agency needs to quickly route between its customer database and its website. The travel company can now simply deploy a virtual router using Network Edge and then create connections to its cloud providers via ECX Fabric to route between the two clouds in a matter of minutes.
- Efficient cloud-to-cloud data migration when moving large amounts of data between clouds for backups, migrations or analytics. For example, a financial services firm needs to regularly perform real-time backups of transactional customer data between clouds. By deploying a virtual router with Network Edge, the organization can now create a private virtual connection between two clouds via ECX Fabric for faster and more secure data backup and recovery.
- Cost-effective cloud connectivity in new markets. For example, a manufacturer has a physical colocation in Stockholm, but wants to route between two clouds in Amsterdam without purchasing new IT equipment. Using Network Edge, the manufacturer can now create a virtual router in minutes, connect it to the clouds in Amsterdam via ECX Fabric, and provision a private connection back to its Stockholm colocation deployment-all without additional CAPEX investment.
- Quick hybrid cloud firewall creation to protect resources on the corporate network from public-facing endpoints. For example, an eCommerce company hosts its public-facing applications in the cloud with customer traffic coming in from the public internet to those apps. With Network Edge, the business can now quickly place a virtual firewall between its corporate apps and the public cloud that’s connected via ECX Fabric, with no hardware or upfront CAPEX costs.
- Seamless branch-to-cloud SD-WAN to virtually interconnect with digital ecosystems on Platform Equinix either within or between metros. For example, a healthcare provider wants to integrate cloud services across its distributed branch locations while optimizing branch office traffic seamlessly via SD-WAN. The company can now use Network Edge to quickly build interconnection hubs at Equinix locations proximate to its branch offices and optimize connectivity between branch locations, cloud providers and SaaS providers via ECX Fabric.
Virtualize your network in 4 easy steps
By following these four online steps via the ECX Fabric Customer Portal, as demonstrated in the Network Edge webinar, you can:
Equinix is launching Network Edge next week at Cisco Live/WWT (June 9 – 13) in San Diego, CA. Network Edge services from Cisco, Juniper and Palo Alto Networks are immediately available on Platform Equinix in high-demand locations including Silicon Valley, Ashburn, Amsterdam and London. Global expansion is planned throughout 2019. Check out the Network Edge data sheet for new locations and services as they come online.
Try out Network Edge today.
You may also be interested in reading the following blogs on virtual network services:
Why Network Functions Virtualization Should be Part of Your Infrastructure Strategy
The Evolution of Networks from Hardware to Software Using Virtualization
[i] IDC, “Worldwide Telecom Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure Forecast, 2018-2022,” 2018.