Provide Agile Access to a Wide Variety of Network Services

ECX Fabric connects NSP customers to more than just clouds

Stefan Raab

Network service providers (NSPs) live in a world where price compression is a constant. Every year, customers expect bandwidth capacity to go up and price to come down. Even with advances in technology, there’s been a sharp focus on operational efficiency. NSPs are feeling pressure to bring modern cloud networking solutions and services to market faster, in more cost-effective ways.

This pressure isn’t just coming from competitors. Often it starts with customer expectations set by cloud service providers (CSPs). In a cloud-first world, enterprise customers expect IT services to be delivered instantly. The rising popularity of SD-WAN provisioning time and speed-to-connection has also become a critical decision factor for enterprise buyers. Taking weeks or months to provision a network connection is no longer acceptable. Today, enterprise customers want to consume network services with the same flexibility, scale and speed that they consume cloud services.

With an increasing number of remote workers requiring access to corporate business applications such as video collaboration and virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) over the public internet, the need for speeding additional connections and bandwidth is even more pronounced.

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What are your customers connecting to?

Equinix NSP partners are doing much more than just connecting their enterprise customers to clouds. They provide a plethora of new physical and virtual networking options, as well as network security and services solutions. And there will be far more offerings to come in the next decade with the advent of 5G. As home to the world’s largest NSP ecosystem, with more than 1,800 network services, Equinix has developed interconnection solutions to accommodate the unique requirements of NSPs and their customers. This includes IP peering, on-demand virtual network services, and software-defined interconnection among enterprises, NSPs and CSPs. Equinix is helping NSPs provide fast, secure and reliable access to their solutions and services that meet the “immediate gratification” expectations of today’s enterprise customers.

ECX Fabric: Speeding interconnection to everything at cloud velocity

Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™) is not just a tool to speed interconnection to CSPs. It’s a global solution that delivers interconnection at cloud velocity between enterprises, NSP, CSPs and anything else your customers want to connect with on Platform Equinix®. For NSPs, ECX Fabric can be used to deliver physical or virtual circuits on demand to a growing number of enterprise customers moving out of private data centers and into Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers. With Platform Equinix, even if your enterprise customer is not inside an IBX facility, you can still leverage ECX Fabric and Network Edge to grant them access network functions virtualization (NFV) services  and cloud services from leading CSPs.

The rising popularity of SD-WAN provisioning time and speed-to-connection has also become a critical decision factor for enterprise buyers.

In addition to delivering a cloud-like experience, ECX Fabric delivers NSPs and their customers the following benefits:

  • Time-to-Revenue – For Equinix customers already on the ECX Fabric, NSPs can provision circuits in minutes, meeting customer desires and allowing networks to accelerate their time-to-revenue.
  • Simplified Interconnection – Platform Equinix provides a variety of technologies to allow interconnection of customers across all IBXs in a metro. Unfortunately for many NSPs, integrating the variety of technologies into “lit building” systems can be difficult because it doesn’t fit traditional models. With the ECX Fabric, any customer on Platform Equinix can be connected without needing to understand the different components.
  • Improved Economics – Leveraging the ECX Fabric, NSPs can reduce port costs by aggregating customer connections while taking advantage of bandwidth differentiated pricing. Purchase one 10G or 100G port and share hundreds of virtual connections among multiple customers and leverage the economies of scale.
  • Global Consistency – Achieving cloud velocity requires automation. With global access in 30+ metros, ECX Fabric dramatically simplifies global deployments.
  • Modern APIs – The simple RESTful APIs allow for quick integration with existing systems.
Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric is a global solution that delivers interconnection at cloud velocity between enterprises, NSP, CSPs and anything else your customers want to connect with on Platform Equinix®.

ECX Fabric provides NSPs the flexibility to build an access solution that suits their needs and scale it as the market demands. Providers can choose to order connections for their customers and/or they can support customer-ordered connections. It’s also possible to use full API automation, portal-based connection management, or a mix of the two. Verizon’s Software-Defined Interconnect (SDI), a solution that works with ECX Fabric, is a great use case for how the automated API governs the network-to-network interface (NNI), providing access to a wide range of software-defined network resources.

Bridging the Gap

For NSPs that use Ethernet NNI “hand-offs” to third-party access providers, ECX Fabric provides a familiar interface. 802.1ad double tagged NNIs allow multiple access circuits to be handed off via ECX with a NID-less termination for end customers. In order to support full multitenancy for the end customers, ECX Fabric provides full translation capabilities that allow customers to choose their own framing and VLAN tags. Each side on the connection to the ECX Fabric is fully owned and managed by the end customer. The ECX Fabric is responsible for bridging the gap between source and destination endpoints.

Don’t let the name fool you. Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric provides fast and agile access to a wide variety of network solutions and services  ̶  not just cloud connections. ECX Fabric connects to everything your customers need at cloud velocity.

Learn more by reading ECX Fabric for Service Providers.

Don’t let the name fool you. Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric provides fast and agile access to a wide variety of network solutions and services ̶ not just cloud connections.
Stefan Raab
Stefan Raab Global Principal at Equinix