Bare Metal: Making Multicloud a Reality

Having the right interconnection tools makes all the difference

Over the past few years, cloud architects like myself have talked a lot about moving between clouds. With so much buzz about Kubernetes and containers, you could be forgiven for thinking that developers deploy their applications with ease anywhere they want! However, as this recent Twitter thread by top cloud specialists suggests, the reality can be more nuanced and many organizations struggle to see benefits from their multicloud investments.

Taking advantage of “best of breed” services at the various public cloud providers is an important use case, but far from the only one. Specific requirements around performance, tenancy, hardware, cost, security, network latency, or geographic location are also fueling investment in hybrid multicloud architectures.

While DevOps continues to normalize how we provision infrastructure and applications, key sticking points like managing network connectivity still exist. Until a few months ago, I would have argued that we were still a few years off from widespread multicloud adoption. However, being exposed to interconnection at Equinix has convinced me otherwise.

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Building the cloud, but missing a critical ingredient

I’m a longtime cloud builder. In fact, I’ve spent over a decade in the cloud, from my time as an architect at GE to running dozens of clouds for customers while at Platform9.

Looking back, my journey to the cloud was unorthodox. Long before GE, I started in technology by working at the help desk of an Internet Service Provider (ISP). I then moved to Systems Administration, where I was exposed to virtualization for the first time. It was like a whole new world!

A fascination with automation pulled me into the cloud space, first with VMware vCloud, then OpenStack and more recently Kubernetes and serverless. At each step, I dove deeper into the guts of the cloud — learning, building and then automating everything I could find. However, one thing stands out as missing: I learned very little about networking, especially beyond my own clusters. How the “backbone” of the internet worked was the purview of others.

When I joined Equinix Metal last year, I started moving in earnest down the stack. As a bare metal focused provider, we help customers such as LogDNA, OneSignal, and Grafana access and take advantage of powerful infrastructure primitives like compute, storage and — of course — network. As Field CTO, I help them take advantage of things like the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) or Anycast, as well as other foundational network capabilities that can transform how they architect and scale their applications.

Of course, this has only been amplified since Packet joined Equinix in March. I started exploring a whole new set of capabilities including Equinix Fabric™ and Network Edge, key parts of the Equinix product portfolio. And with it, my multicloud challenges started to disappear. These were the missing tools in my toolbelt!

On Platform Equinix®, Equinix Fabric directly and dynamically connects distributed infrastructure and digital ecosystems (networks, clouds, SaaS, etc.). Network Edge services from Equinix enable the instant deployment and interconnection of virtual network services in minutes, without additional hardware. When combined, Equinix Fabric and Network Edge accelerate the deployment of virtual networks, such as SD-WANs, to access multiple cloud platforms.

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Equinix Fabric™ directly, securely and dynamically connects distributed infrastructure and digital ecosystems on Platform Equinix®.

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Interconnection to the rescue

With automated bare metal from Equinix Metal, I can quickly deploy open source Kubernetes or enterprise offerings from Red Hat, VMware, and Google Anthos to manage my container-driven workloads. The same of course is true at AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and others.

With Equinix Equinix Fabric for cloud interconnection and Network Edge as a centralized hub for all of my connectivity, I can directly and securely connect with and between the various public cloud providers in just minutes. This means I can run my Kubernetes cluster on Google, collect internet of things (IoT) metrics from services deployed at AWS, train machine learning models on bare metal at Equinix Metal, and write customer transactions to the Microsoft Azure Blockchain.

I can do this all without worrying about how to secure and transfer data between various environments because the dedicated, private ECX Fabric software-defined interconnection has me covered. Equinix Fabric bypasses the public internet, resulting in super low latency, avoiding congestion, and dramatically reducing the security attack surface.

Start the path toward multicloud

If your business is trying to move at “software speed,” then you’ve probably found that a single, centralized infrastructure environment doesn’t fit all of your needs. You need to be in more places to reach the users and ecosystems that matter, and take advantage of unique capabilities or tackle specific requirements.

My suggestion is simple: get started down the multicloud path by exploring interconnection. The network services that can be deployed virtually with Network Edge, along with virtual interconnections via the Equinix Fabric “software speed,” now applies to the network, which is a real game-changer. Finally, the network has caught up with the rapid elasticity of the cloud by enabling you to instantiate these network services with all the cloud-like characteristics we have come to expect. With interconnection you can connect your existing infrastructure footprint, from wherever it sits today, to one of the more than 210 global Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX) data centers and the more than 1,800 networks and 2,900+ cloud and IT providers to choose from, making selecting and interconnecting to the right cloud for the right job much easier.

From there you can utilize “best in class” services (including bare metal from Equinix Metal) and  connect via Equinix Fabric to the public clouds that best fit your needs. With this model, there is no sweeping migration, and you can have your cake and eat it too!

Check out the Equinix Fabric and Network Edge to learn more about how to quickly and easily interconnect your multicloud environment.


You can also sign up for a free trial of Network Edge from Equinix.

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