When I first started in the telecommunications industry, cloud service providers (CSPs) had yet to emerge, and connections between network and internet providers mainly consisted of physical cross connects, with the public internet acting as the primary conduit for customer connectivity. Times have certainly changed! Today, software-defined networking (SDN) and virtual network functions (VNF) are delivering more automated, flexible and scalable virtual connectivity versus manual physical connections. Software-defined interconnection is one of the many technical advances revolutionizing connectivity for our customers on Platform Equinix®, and today we have announced how Equinix Fabric has become the new standard for interconnecting digital infrastructure.
For more than 20 years, we have been evolving Platform Equinix to help our customers meet the demands of the rapidly evolving digital economy. Equinix Fabric™ (formerly Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric®) has been instrumental in enabling the world’s leading enterprises to privately interconnect with CSPs more efficiently and cost-effectively, as well as seamlessly interconnect their IT infrastructures across our global platform. We have expanded our Equinix Fabric capabilities to meet the growing digital business requirements for greater access, agility and automation.
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Equinix Fabric™ directly, securely and dynamically connects distributed infrastructure and digital ecosystems on Platform Equinix®. Establish data center-to-data center network connections on demand between any two Equinix Fabric™ locations within a metro or globally via software-defined interconnection.Download Now
Equinix Fabric gives enterprises broader, more flexible access to edge and network services, and the rich global ecosystems they need to create competitive advantage. In recognition that enterprises today are interconnecting to more than CSPs, we’re changing the product name from Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric to Equinix Fabric to align with the product’s evolution. No longer just for cloud connectivity, Equinix Fabric has progressed to become a new standard and the optimal choice for how our customers connect all their digital infrastructure on Platform Equinix. With these expanded capabilities, customers are unlocking the differentiated value of agile, on-demand, private interconnectivity across the world’s largest digital ecosystem.
The Equinix Fabric innovation evolution
Let’s take a closer look at the progressive journey of customer value over the last six years:
- Since Equinix Fabric emerged in 2014 under the name Equinix Cloud Exchange™ (ECX™), it has established a track record as the optimal way for companies to leverage high-bandwidth, low-latency private connections to their cloud and SaaS providers. It gave our customers virtual connectivity to multiple clouds via a single physical port, accelerating the wave of enterprise cloud adoption and the expansion of ECX across Platform Equinix globally. Today on Equinix Fabric, there are more than 300 networks and 550+ clouds and IT services, and those ecosystems are still expanding worldwide.
- In 2017, we took the product’s capabilities to the next level with the introduction of Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric® (ECX Fabric®). Its new capabilities allowed businesses to interconnect distributed IT infrastructure (physical and virtual) between Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers across global metros. It also enabled self-provisioning of network and cloud connections and bandwidth on-demand via the ECX Fabric portal and APIs. The Forrester Consulting report “The Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) of Equinix” found that ECX Fabric customers could reduce latency by a minimum of 30% and lower cloud connectivity and network traffic cost by 60% to 70%.[i]
Today cloud connectivity is still a top priority for our customers and prospects. As their digital infrastructure continues to change and grow, we’ve innovated Equinix Fabric to stay in lockstep with our customers’ business evolution.
Changing the way digital business connects
According to the fourth annual Global Interconnection Index (GXI), a market study published by Equinix, private interconnection bandwidth capacity is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45% between 2019 – 2023.[i] More specifically, the GXI predicts a 59% CAGR in global interconnection bandwidth between enterprises and cloud and IT service providers, and a 35% CAGR between enterprises and network service providers (NSPs).
We have seen tremendous growth in customer usage of Equinix Fabric, but this is just the beginning. In fact, over half (53%) of our customers surveyed plan to explore new ways to use software-defined interconnection solutions, such as Equinix Fabric, in the next 1–2 years for more agile, programmable connectivity. For example, enterprise prospects have an increased interest in using virtual connections to access new CSPs and NSPs. In addition, service providers have an increased interest in leveraging Equinix Fabric to simplify customer access to their services, which indicates they are looking to leverage partner solutions for improved network automation as delivered by the Equinix Fabric “self-serve” customer portal and APIs.
New Use Cases Using Software-Defined Interconnection Solutions
Now with a broader set of use cases, digital leaders are harnessing Equinix Fabric as a single, automated interconnection approach to expand and connect digital infrastructure and access new services quickly and easily at global scale, in addition to the core benefits that Equinix Fabric provides for high performance, reliability and security.
Here’s why enterprises are choosing Equinix Fabric:
- Interconnection for automated cloud and network access: We’ve enabled automated network access to the world’s top network and cloud providers for businesses, versus using a cross connect. This includes NSPs such as Cisco, euNetworks, Verizon, AT&T, Hurricane Electric and Unitas Global and CSPs such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Oracle Cloud.
- Interconnection to an expanded ecosystem: We’ve dramatically expanded the number of digital ecosystem customers that can now be accessed via Equinix Fabric, with the ability to connect to any other customer on Platform Equinix. This increases the interconnection reach to service providers, partners and customers by more than 3x (from 2,300 to over 10,000). Today, Equinix Fabric is available in 49 global metros, and by the end of 2021, we plan to expand to a total of 57 strategic markets across the globe.
- Interconnection for SD-WAN and other virtual devices: Equinix Fabric supports connectivity to virtual devices in minutes, including routers, firewalls and SD-WAN gateways on Network Edge with greater agility, speed and automation. Today all leading SD-WAN vendors are on Network Edge: Cisco, Fortinet, Juniper Networks, Palo Alto Networks/CloudGenix, Silver Peak, VMware Velocloud and Versa Networks. We’ve also recently expanded the availability of Network Edge worldwide in 2021, totaling 15 markets around the world.
- Interconnection for automated physical infrastructure: Equinix Fabric supports interconnection to automated bare metal servers available with Equinix Metal™. Equinix Metal allows customers to deploy automated single-tenant Bare Metal as a Service in minutes and is seamlessly integrated with Equinix Fabric, putting virtual infrastructure and customer and partner ecosystems immediately within reach.
These capabilities seamlessly bridge the gaps that have long existed in legacy networks, bringing companies network optimization and modernization possibilities that accelerate their digital transformation and create new levels of competitive advantage.
How Equinix Fabric is interconnecting today’s digital infrastructures
According to IDC, “By 2022, 46% of an enterprise’s products and services will be digital or digitally delivered, in turn increasing the business’ reliance on infrastructure to support much more than traditional business applications.”
At Equinix, we’ve seen this growing pursuit of enterprise digital transformation drive greater demand for our interconnection services. This has been especially true during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses in every industry around the world have been scaling their digital infrastructure and networking capabilities to meet the needs of an exploding remote workforce and distributed customers and partners. As a result, we have seen a significant increase in our customers’ virtual connection volume year-over-year (Q3 2019 – Q3 2020) of approximately 32%,[ii] which includes high growth in enterprises connecting to collaboration services such as Cisco Webex and Zoom.
As businesses have continued to pursue new paths to digital leadership, we have met their growing needs by building new Equinix Fabric capabilities to address a much more expansive set of customer priorities. We have transformed Equinix Fabric from a tool for connecting clouds to a solution that can connect everything and everyone that matters to your business across Equinix’s globally interconnected platform. Armed with the combined power of revolutionary interconnection capabilities, expanding ecosystems, and automated cloud and network access, Equinix Fabric is changing the way digital business connects.
Learn more by reading the Equinix Fabric data sheet.
[i] IDC, “Future of Digital Infrastructure: Ever Faster Delivery of Reliable Digital Services and Experiences,” September 2020, IDC #US46807920.