Re-imagining IT for a Digital World

Learn how to unlock your cloud and edge advantage at Gartner IOCS

Jed Bleess
Re-imagining IT for a Digital World

Traditionally, IT infrastructure was centralized, with workloads and clouds managed from a corporate data center. In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, that model no longer works. As digital producers and creators increasingly conduct business at the edge, closer to employees, partners and customers, the IT infrastructures supporting those interactions are becoming distributed.

This paradigm shift poses significant challenges to businesses still saddled with the old model. To help enterprises successfully navigate the change, this week’s Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations and Cloud Strategies (IOCS) Conference will focus on “enabling the future of IT infrastructure everywhere.” As a Premier sponsor of the event, we at Equinix and our partners will discuss how enterprises can gain a significant competitive advantage by creating digital-ready infrastructure anywhere their business leads them (Equinix Booth #259).

From centralized to digital-first architecture

Leading organizations and their partners expect responsive applications and the ability to exchange data instantly and seamlessly. These capabilities require a digital-ready infrastructure characterized by an edge-first workload and hybrid core architecture. Mature enterprises deploying a digital-first architecture are finding new ways to create value, while digital-native companies “born in the cloud” are leapfrogging ahead of traditional counterparts and creating entirely new markets. In both cases, these companies are clearly doing something right.

While moving workloads into the cloud in a hybrid multicloud infrastructure approach helps with agility, true differentiation can be found at the digital edge, where applications and data processing occur in proximity to users, ensuring optimal performance.

Source: Global Interconnection Index (GXI) Volume 3, published by Equinix

A number of compelling drivers advocate moving to the edge. These include:

  1. Data explosion: It’s impractical and risky to backhaul large data volumes to centralized data centers. IDC predicts that 30% of global data will be delivered to users in real time by 2025 .[i]
  2. Distance: It comes down to physics. Physical distance simply kills throughput. In an era when slow is the new down, just 30ms of latency reduces throughput by nearly 6x.[ii]
  3. Cost: Transporting data compounds costs for all parties. Based on a recent analysis, 100TB of data can cost up to $100k annually in cloud egress and inter-region charges (before network costs).[iii]
  4. Digital ecosystems: Businesses are coming together to exchange information and services at the edge, where users are. These connections comprise digital ecosystems, rapidly emerging as innovation and new revenue growth hubs. According to McKinsey, digital ecosystems today power seven of the world’s 12 largest companies by market capitalization, and, by 2025, will account for more than 30% of global corporate revenue.[iv]

These forces, along with new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV), make direct and secure interconnection at the digital edge an imperative. The result is a new IT infrastructure topology, one that is rapidly morphing from centralized data centers to distributed interconnection hubs where data can be efficiently exchanged.

Getting it right – why interconnection matters

While shifting IT to the edge is becoming pervasive, getting it right isn’t so simple. Connecting IT over the public internet is prone to latency and fundamentally insecure, while MPLS networks and dedicated circuits can be costly. In our experience of working with customers worldwide, we’ve found that successful businesses are adopting architectures based on private interconnection. These infrastructures bypass the public internet to ensure optimal performance, scalability and resilience while mitigating security and compliance concerns.

Source: GXI Volume 3

Deploying a digital-ready architecture on a globally interconnected platform such as Platform Equinix® enables businesses to improve performance and reduce cost in a hybrid core, transform the user experience at the edge and integrate new value chains through direct and secure access to dense ecosystems.

Specific workload use cases include:

  • Enterprise network optimization (Cisco): By optimizing the network with a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) for policy and transport optimization at the metro-edge, companies have achieved improved SD-branch collaboration and reduced cost and latency.
  • Hybrid cloud (Oracle, Microsoft): By modernizing the cloud at the hybrid core with cloud-adjacent databases, companies have achieved improved performance, cost and scalability.
  • Application acceleration (f5): By managing application policies globally at the hybrid core and distributing security services at the metro edge, companies have achieved improved application performance and processing.

To learn more about how to create a distributed infrastructure with an ecosystem of partners, read the Gartner report, “Infrastructure Is Everywhere: The Evolution of Data Centers,” authored by Bob Gill & David Cappuccio, 18 July 2019.

You may also be interested in reading:

How You Can Benchmark Your Digital IT Journey






[i]IDC, The Digitization of the World From Edge to Core, Doc US44413318, sponsored by Seagate, Nov 2018.

[ii]Accedian, Measuring Network Performance: Links Between Latency, Throughput and Packet Loss, July 2016.

[iii] Equinix, Gartner Catalyst presentation “An Insider’s View on What It Takes to Be Digital Ready”, Cloud Egress Analysis using GCP, AWS and Azure published costs & Customer provided examples – deployment alternatives and ROI.

[iv]McKinsey, If you’re not building an ecosystem, chances are your competitors are, July 2018.

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