ECX Fabric vs Network Edge Use Cases

When to tap into each or both to scale in uncertain times

Andrea Leonhardt
Nathan Record

Even as some businesses tentatively begin to re-open to in-person experiences, the pandemic has shifted many of their in-person interactions to virtual. Contactless payments, remote working and collaboration, telemedicine and online education have all been surging in the past few months. As a result, many organizations have had to scale IT resources quickly to meet the demand. For example:

  • U.S. healthcare provider Sentara Healthcare & Optima Health saw a 1455% increase in its patients’ telemedicine usage in April 2020 over a period of two weeks.
  • Microsoft reported a 775% increase in its Teams’ video conferencing service in Italy over a one-month period, while globally usage of its Windows Virtual Desktop has tripled.[i]
  • Cisco disclosed its surge in Webex usage that hosted more than 20 billion meeting minutes in April, compared with 14 billion in March and 7 billion in February.[ii]

As enterprises seek to scale IT resources and network capacity to meet these quickly evolving requirements, it is more important than ever to provision resources on demand through private and secure physical and virtual infrastructure. Interconnection to key providers and platform APIs allow you to quickly scale network capacity and add the clouds and applications required to keep business moving.

3x

Global usage of Windows Virtual Desktop has tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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ECX Fabric for connecting to service providers, other Equinix customers or your other locations

Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™) is a software-defined interconnection platform that provides direct, secure and flexible connectivity to a service provider, another Equinix customer or between your own infrastructure deployed in different locations.

Use cases for ECX Fabric include:

  • Scale support for remote workforces in existing and new locations.
    • Increase bandwidth to thousands of network, cloud and IT service providers, as well as cloud-based services such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) globally in minutes.
    • Connect to unified communication and collaboration services such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco WebEx, Dropbox, RingCentral, etc.
    • Once connected, seamlessly scale bandwidth up or down and create new connections via the self-service portal or ECX Fabric API
  • Improve business productivity, agility and innovation through hybrid multicloud connectivity.
    • Keep sensitive workloads/data in your private colocation space or on-premises and choose the best cloud for the job for your cloud-based workloads to avoid vendor lock-in.
    • Access cost-effective pay-as-you-go services from multiple cloud service providers (CSPs) across the globe without compromising performance, security or compliance.
    • Speed innovation with fast, reliable and secure physical and virtual private connections to strategic business partners.
    • Establish private connectivity to clouds for more reliable networking.

You can search within the self-service portal or on the Equinix website to confirm ECX Fabric provider availability.
  • Gain reliable business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) capabilities by deploying your cloud infrastructure in multiple metros.
    • Reach your digital ecosystem across multiple metros.
    • Increase up-time with geo-redundant connections to multiple cloud and IT service providers.
    • Integrate your IT infrastructures in different regions for data replication, backup and recovery.

U.S. Silica’s multi-region cloud deployment

Source: Equinix blog

Use cases for ECX Fabric include:

1) Scalable bandwidth to network and cloud-based services

2) Hybrid multicloud connectivity

3) Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) capabilities

4) Distributed IT connectivity
  • Connect distributed infrastructure across multiple metros to improve performance, support collaboration between your locations or expand into regions where you do not already have a physical presence.
    • Privately connect to your distributed IT at the edge.
    • Deploy and interconnect apps closer to users for improved experience.
    • Rapidly scale across markets globally, connecting to more business partners, providers and locations.

Use cases for Network Edge include:

1) Scalable virtual private network (VPN) on demand

2) Virtual network services

Network Edge for deploying virtual network services

Network Edge from Equinix enables you to select, configure and connect virtual network services from industry-leading vendors without additional space, power or hardware. Use cases for Network Edge include:

  • Scale support for remote workforces
    • Rapidly increase virtual private network (VPN) capacity on-demand.
    • Distribute and deploy low-latency network infrastructure closer to end users for better performance.
  • Leverage virtual network services to improve business productivity, agility, innovation and resiliency.
    • Move from a CAPEX to OPEX model. Consolidate hardware network devices into a single software-defined platform and deploy virtual network services such as routers, firewalls, private network terminators and WAN load-balancers at a predictable cost.
    • Streamline network integrations. Securely add new sites to your network as needed in minutes via automated network configurations.
    • Achieve better performance while avoiding cloud egress and transit fees by using neutral internet or network provider services instead of network offers from CSPs.
    • Gain multivendor flexibility – combine best-in-breed virtual network services from different vendors worldwide in a single automated workflow.
    • Expand into new locations faster – Build virtual network infrastructure in other markets temporarily or permanently to scale or augment existing physical IT locations.
    • Perform complex routing functions without a physical presence from a neutral location (such as NAT, IPSec tunneling, route filtering, Border Gateway Patrol peering, etc.)
    • Improve business continuity and resiliency by adding additional network access points and providers on-demand.

When you need Network Edge + ECX Fabric

Sometimes you need both Network Edge and ECX Fabric to achieve your goals. Network Edge includes built-in integration to ECX Fabric to address the following use cases:

  1. Branch to cloud SD-WAN: Provision and deploy SD-WAN appliances on demand to integrate cloud and IT services into a single global platform.
  2. Multicloud or cloud-to-cloud routing: Privately connect to and between cloud providers for optimized performance, cloud migrations, replication between clouds, etc.
  3. Fast access to digital ecosystems: Access pre-integrated digital ecosystems of clouds, networks, public internet, WAN providers and digital supply chains. Gain quick, reliable and secure connectivity to cloud-based services such as unified communications and worker productivity platforms.

Use cases for ECX Fabric + Network Edge include:

1) Branch to cloud SD-WAN

2) Multicloud or cloud-to-cloud routing

3) Fast access to digital ecosystems