Networking for Nerds

Networking for Nerds: Network Optimization = ROI

How to build a superhighway to the cloud

One of the biggest pain points for enterprises journeying to the cloud is having to use networks that just weren’t built for cloud traffic. It can be like taking a cross-country road trip on nothing but backroads. For example, your central MPLS network may be hosted and managed by a third-party, far from your users who actually need to access a remote cloud providers’ services. Or your network circuits may not be sized properly for the volume and diversity of cloud traffic now traveling over them. Or your IT organization’s skill set may still be coming up to cloud-speed, leaving your team struggling with how to best tune your legacy networks for cloud traffic.

Today’s enterprises need the ability to access cloud services worldwide using optimized network infrastructures that can handle any cloud workload, provide the greatest performance and user experience, and deliver the best return on investment (ROI).

Build a super-highway for cloud traffic exchange

Nothing is worse than needing to backtrack to get to where you’re going when you’re in a hurry. The same holds true for user-to-cloud traffic that gets backhauled over an MPLS network or the public internet to a centralized data center. Given that many cloud service providers (CSPs) host their cloud platforms in areas that may not be close to an enterprise’s core data center or its highest concentration of users, most of the cloud traffic is routed over long distances. The number of “hops” between network routers along the way can introduce high-latency delays and increase the risk of cyber-attacks. And though a network service provider (NSP) may be able to send workloads over a primary network backbone between the cloud and a customer’s data center, in many cases they can’t make it over the “last mile,” the final leg of network that delivers cloud services to end users. These issues can be solved by establishing regional interconnection hubs that act as a “super-highway interchange” or interconnection point for exchanging traffic between your company’s users and network, internet and cloud service providers.

“The Total Economic Impact™ of Equinix,” a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Equinix, published in April 2019, provides companies with the framework to evaluate the potential cost savings and business benefits enabled by deploying interconnection with Equinix. Forrester interviewed four Equinix customers to create an aggregate, composite organization to illustrate the financial impact of using Equinix Performance Hub™ and  Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™) for interconnection on Platform Equinix®.

According to the interviewed organizations, Equinix enabled them to provision, high-speed, low-latency connectivity directly to numerous cloud and SaaS providers via virtual connections rather than multiple physical circuits. They were also able to lower their network traffic costs by leveraging more cost-efficient and higher performing Ethernet providers across geographies. This allowed them to reduce cloud connectivity and network traffic costs by 70% and 60%, respectively. It also helped them lower their latency by a minimum 30%, which increased worker productivity. The subsequent network optimization cost savings equaled a risk-adjusted present value (PV) of $15.2 million, which represented 68% of the total projected risk-adjusted ROI of 328% ($22.3 M) over three years.

Network Optimization Savings Over Three Years

Source: Forrester Consulting

In addition to the financial benefits, private interconnection hubs enable you to:

  • Make it over the last mile: Leverage the presence of your local network provider’s point of presence (POP) to create a proximate, direct connection to the cloud, and shorten the distance between the cloud and your users over the last mile for a greater user experience.
  • Increase performance and security: Bypass the public internet using direct and secure interconnection for more consistent performance and security when accessing CSPs and exchanging cloud traffic between metros.
  • Access best-in-class cloud services: Create hybrid/multicloud infrastructures that best address your business needs and different application workloads by leveraging best-of-breed cloud services. 
  • Lower data egress charges: Build hybrid cloud environments where your data stores can be local (on-premises or in a colocation data center) and leverage more scalable cloud compute and analytics services to run against the data. By leveraging cloud adjacency between your databases and cloud services, you can improve the performance of your database and analytics apps while reducing the cost of pulling data out of the cloud. 
  • Ensure data residency and compliance: Keep data in the country of origin while directly and securely interconnecting to cloud compute and app services in another country to maintain data privacy and protection regulations and compliance.
  • Speed time to market: Quickly access cloud services in different countries (even on a temporary basis) to gain faster time to market for global expansion or entry into new metro markets. For example, when waiting for networking equipment to clear customs, you can remotely access virtual network or cloud services in a different country without requiring the physical hardware to be on-site.

Create a cloud-optimized WAN roadmap for a greater ROI

Start your cloud journey with a well-laid out roadmap where the fundamental network and IT delivery architecture is shifted from siloed and centralized to a more distributed model that better addresses the requirements of your digital business. Equinix Professional Services can help you develop a customized cloud-optimized WAN strategy that focuses on improved network latency, performance, security and flexibility, while providing clear insights into your expected ROI via its 2-Day Cloud-Optimized WAN Workshop and ROI Analysis. By the end of this workshop, you will be able to define the next steps toward network optimization that will equal a greater ROI for your business.