Equinix and Cisco: Delivering High-Quality Application Experiences

4 best practices for building hybrid multicloud foundations via SD-WAN

Jason Zral
Chad Arnold

Giving our customers the power to choose is hugely important for us at Equinix and Cisco®. It means delivering what they want, where and when they want it. This is especially vital in the Application Economy we live in, where there’s an app for just about everything, accessible to just about everyone. In addition, we need to enable our customers to deliver a high quality of experience (QoE) to users, no matter where they are. After all, poor user experiences can translate into lost customers and revenue.

Today’s rapidly growing remote workforce demands real-time unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solutions – regardless of their physical location – delivered with a high quality of service (QoS) to optimize their effectiveness. This is especially true when connecting to UCC solutions over the public internet, which inherently lacks a single, deterministic path for the best performance, lowest latency and network service guarantees.

Simply put, your success as a modern business hinges on delivering great user experiences when accessing your applications from all over the world  ̶   many of which are being deployed on hybrid multicloud infrastructures. According to Flexera, 93% of the respondents to its recent 2020 State of the Cloud survey have a multicloud strategy, with 86% of those enterprises incorporating multiple public clouds and 60% using more than one private cloud.[i]

Equinix and Cisco deliver secure, high-performance application experiences

Equinix and Cisco have partnered to help your business deliver optimal and secure application experiences by giving you various choices from a number of solutions. Equinix provides private interconnections to clouds via seamless integration with network service providers. In fact, there are more than 2,900 cloud and IT service providers and 1,800 network services on Platform Equinix®.

Cisco is a market leader in networking, compute and security solutions. For instance, Cisco owns a commanding 46% of the global SD-WAN market share[ii] and 70% of all devices connected to the Equinix Fabric™ are from Cisco. Equinix and Cisco also partnered to create Cisco Webex® Edge Connect on Equinix Fabric and Network Edge, enabling Webex users to reliably and securely access meetings regardless of location and receive an optimal UCC experience.

Cisco, in partnership with Equinix, gives customers a broad choice of solutions and deployment options to optimize their WAN architectures for applications that connect users, remote headquarters, branches, and the data center to cloud providers.”
– Mary Perisic, Partner Executive, Global Strategic Partner Organization, Cisco

How Equinix and Cisco deliver cloud-optimized WANs

Core to the Equinix and Cisco partnership is the understanding that the enterprise wide area network (WAN) provides the foundation for hybrid multicloud deployments and digital transformation initiatives. Put another way, enterprise WAN optimization must be addressed first, before you can successfully deploy hybrid, multicloud and digital transformation strategies that will:

  • Deliver the best user QoE for application performance across both private infrastructure and public clouds
  • Protect against cyber threats and meet compliance regulations
  • Reduce overall costs and operational complexity

To address these challenges, it’s important to keep in mind the following:

  • If a business connects to the public cloud without using a technology like SD-WAN, it can’t guarantee the delivery of adequate bandwidth with reduced latencies. Its data traffic also becomes more vulnerable to security risks
  • Location also matters because long-distance data paths can increase the number of hops data must take, negatively impacting bandwidth and latency.

Businesses are increasingly relying on applications and workloads running in hybrid and multicloud environments. To optimize user QoE, best practices recommend that businesses re-evaluate their WAN architectures to make sure they are sufficiently meeting bandwidth, latency and security needs.

Cisco and Equinix have uniquely partnered to help with this. We provide our mutual enterprise customers with options to optimize their WAN architectures to be the best bridge for applications that span across on-premises and cloud environments.

Here are four specific use cases to consider:

Figure 1: Equinix and Cisco Joint Enterprise Use Cases

Figure 1: Equinix and Cisco Joint Enterprise Use Cases

Use case #1: Cloud connectivity

Cisco and Equinix provide a tightly integrated portfolio of software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV) and edge product/services capabilities that give customers a choice of physical and virtual deployment models for branch, multicloud and hybrid IT use cases.

Regarding cloud connectivity, the Cisco and Equinix approach offers both self- and partner-managed WAN options that are essentially faster, cheaper and more secure with QoS commitments. This is because the connections are private versus the alternatives provided by MPLS carriers today. Interconnection with Cisco SD-WAN on Network Edge from Equinix provides direct and secure connectivity to multiple cloud providers via Equinix Fabric™.

Figure 2: Equinix and Cisco Cloud Connectivity

Use case #2: Distributed WAN architecture

To improve application performance and security, enterprises are deploying a distributed WAN architecture. This replaces legacy, centralized topology running over MPLS circuits that connect to customer data centers and backhaul data over the public internet. This distributed WAN approach directly connects endpoints into Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®)data centers, which are securely interconnected globally through the ECX Fabric.

SD-WANs optimize latency through distributed private interconnection on-ramps, such as: AWS Direct Connect, Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute, Cisco Webex Edge Connect and others. These, in conjunction with ECX Fabric, offer the lowest possible latency and highest bandwidth capacity to our customers leveraging ECX Fabric. Our joint customers are taking this route, not only for SD-WAN optimization, but for aggregation of Layer 2 and Layer 3 Ethernet Virtual Private Lines (EVPLs) and MPLS WAN termination  ̶  all funneling into public cloud private interconnection via ECX Fabric.

Use case #3: Private cloud at the edge

Though it’s true that many CIOs are attracted by the control and security of running workloads on-premises in their own data centers, they’re increasingly drawn by the prospect of migrating these workloads to a secure, well-managed location. This gets them out of the data center business and allows them to focus their limited resources on core competencies. It also helps to improve application performance as workloads running in private and public environments can be connected with high-speed, low-latency connections.

Equinix provides the colocation data center and managed services offerings to move on-premises infrastructure to the edge into Equinix IBX data centers, physically located near cloud and SaaS providers. In fact, if you’ve already moved to Equinix in support of your WAN transformation, the next step is to also move your on-premises infrastructure to the same IBX data centers, deployed on Cisco compute, networking and security devices.

Use case #4: Collaboration devices

The Cisco Webex® Edge Connect on ECX Fabric and Network Edge solution delivers a more optimized and secure collaboration experience by providing a dedicated connection between customer premises to Cisco Webex. This is achieved through direct peering via ECX Fabric and bypassing the public internet.

Customer scenario: Re-energizing IT Infrastructure with public cloud

A Canada-based developer of energy infrastructure throughout North America made a strategic digital transformation move from onsite servers and data centers to the public cloud  ̶ moving 90% of the company’s corporate and commercial applications, including its SAP ERP environment, to AWS. As a result, the company realized a 30% reduction in workload costs in the form of greater elasticity by shifting apps to the cloud. The company’s CIO was also proud to make these changes without cutting personnel. He told us, “We are not trying to cut people, we are trying to repurpose and move people into more valuable work.”

Other oil and gas customers have leveraged dual CISCO ASR 9000 devices on Platform Equinix to terminate to dual 10 Gbps EVPLs via Equinix Fabric to optimize routing to Azure, AWS and other cloud and SaaS destinations.

When Equinix and Cisco work together we see customer success in a variety of industries. Equinix and Cisco have partnered to empower IT organizations to transform their companies to deliver greater value and meet the dynamic demands of today’s Application Economy.

To learn how together, Cisco and Equinix can help your business, please visit the Equinix/Cisco partner page.

And check out Cisco Webex® Edge Connect ebook.


[i] RightScale® 2020 State of the Cloud Report from Flexera™

[ii] Cisco Blog, “Cisco Ranked #1 for 2018 Market Share in SD-WAN Infrastructure,” July 29, 2019.

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Jason Zral Guest Author: Regional Director, Western Canada, Cisco
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Chad Arnold Senior Director, Canada Sales
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