As digital transformation shifts into hyperspeed across the globe, no one company can stay ahead of the rapid pace of change. Government, retailers and healthcare providers are turning to digital service providers to help them implement the digital infrastructure they need to adapt, while network, cloud and other IT service providers are tapping into ecosystems to expand and scale their services. Even the largest system integrators rely on partners to help fill capability gaps.
It’s one reason why the idea of the “Power of Three” is central to the Equinix Partner program. With three or more partners, you have an ecosystem. And diverse ecosystems of partners collaborating and innovating together are what drives maximum business value. As cited in the Global Interconnection Index (GXI) Volume 4, published by Equinix, IDC predicts that by 2025, 80% of digital leaders will see the impact of connecting to multiple ecosystems, including improving their value to end customers.[i] By tapping into a digital infrastructure platform with a high density of secure connections to dense global ecosystems such as those found on Platform Equinix®, partners can accelerate growth, launch new services, scale with agility, deliver world-class digital experiences and generate new value.
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5 things Equinix partners need to know
In the blog, “5 Technology Trends to Impact Digital Infrastructure for 2021,” Equinix has outlined key technology predictions for this year. Here’s what we think our partners should know about each of these trends:
- Cloud-native: Open-source and cloud-native technologies are making it easier for organizations to build, run and orchestrate scalable hybrid and multicloud architectures globally. As a result, businesses are increasingly moving away from purchasing traditional point solutions or pieces of technology in a CAPEX model, and moving toward more flexible, outcome-based services with cloud-like consumption models. This holds true even in digital transformation projects where legacy applications need to be shifted to cloud platforms. Some implications for our partners include:
- Capabilities: Do you have the right expertise on your team to support cloud transformation and/or cloud-native projects?
- Contracting: Will you be able to offer your products and services in a cloud-like OPEX consumption model?
- Customer experience: Can you provide a digital experience for your customers, from deployment to billing to support, that is as transparent, flexible and fast as they’ve come to expect from cloud?
Platform Equinix already provides our partners with access to more than 2,900 cloud and IT service providers across 63 metros on five continents – a value that no partner could easily build on its own. We also continue to invest in helping both our partners and customers have a more fluid digital experience, whether that is in products such as Equinix FabricTM or Network Edge, or in support tools such as Partner Central or the Equinix Customer Portal.
- Edge-first: Computing continues to move away from centralized data centers to a distributed, interconnected infrastructure that is close to data creation and consumption sources. Edge-first deployments are essential for latency-sensitive applications, workloads and processes that require the greatest proximity to users, systems or clouds. Partners that want to take advantage of this opportunity will need to expand their breadth of services to address these needs, which represents a paradigm shift for hardware companies in particular. Rather than ship physical appliances to a colocation facility and configure them for customers, hardware businesses can now take the software functions traditionally embedded in their hardware and run them on more flexible edge substrates like Equinix MetalTM to achieve the same goal.
As a case in point, I was recently in discussions with Michael Rau, SVP of Corporate Development for F5, an Equinix partner, and he said:
You have Equinix Metal in all these cities in front of all these cloud on-ramps. If I wanted to turn on a service before, I had to ship my appliances to your sites, get them racked, stacked and configured and have someone manage them. Now I can just push code onto Equinix Metal, turn it on, interconnect with Equinix Fabric, and have a service for my customers.”
- 5G: With wider area coverage, greater transmission reliability, higher bandwidth and better security, 5G is the first generation of mobile communications capable of handling advanced enterprise services. As demand for 5G grows, distributed infrastructure to process more data at the edge will be essential, but even that data will need to be aggregated and exchanged to be useful. The major implication for our partners on this is clear – interconnected data centers with rich ecosystems of networks, clouds and businesses such as those found on Platform Equinix will be key to the success of 5G deployments.
For example, Three U.K., a network service provider, recently deployed network nodes in Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers across the U.K. to create a virtual, cloud-based 5G network with lower latency for its customers’ gaming and internet of things (IoT) applications. Equinix is also partnering with Nokia WING to build 5G IoT infrastructures for operators, and we have launched a 5G and Edge Proof of Concept Center (POCC) to enable our partners and customers to test and demonstrate complex 5G and edge deployment scenarios.
- AI: While artificial intelligence (AI) is not new, model accuracy depends on processing large data sets from multiple sources. Because of this, public clouds with compute clusters that can auto-scale have traditionally been an attractive place to deploy AI. However, significant improvements in hardware and AI algorithmic efficiency are enabling AI processing to be distributed to the edge for use cases that require proximity to users and sources of data creation and consumption. As AI workloads are distributed to the edge, businesses will need to consider the trade-offs between AI model accuracy and edge constraints for power, performance, data privacy and security and latency. Key questions for our partners to consider when deploying AI include:
- What is the use case you are solving for and where does data need to be processed?
- Where are the sources of data creation and consumption?
- What are the requirements for latency, performance, data privacy/security?
- What other entities (networks, clouds, partners) do you need to exchange data with to create maximum value?
- Do you want to specialize in a particular area such as storage, networking, data services, AI processing, etc.?
Secure, low-latency digital exchange is essential for deriving optimal insights and value from AI. Interconnected ecosystems of networks, clouds and data marketplaces such as those found on Platform Equinix enable our partners to connect AI data and algorithms to their choice of destinations. To make it even easier for our partners to accelerate the development of AI infrastructures, products and services, we are also offering an AI as a service test drive sandbox in partnership with NVIDIA, NetApp and Core Scientific.
- Sustainable data centers: Corporate responsibility is increasingly shifting from avoiding negative impact toward creating positive impact. And as the digital economy continues to expand, data center operators will be looking to move from environmental-neutrality toward environmental-positivity. Today’s sustainable data centers will become integral parts of their communities in the future, serving as ecosystems for compute, connectivity, grid power and heat. Technology-driving strategies will intelligently balance the availability of clean power with the variability of demand to advance grid-positivity. For our many of our partners, our sustainability strategy and leadership is not only an essential confirmation of shared values but also an important way for them to meet their own sustainability targets.
Benefits of partnering with Equinix
We continue to invest in tools and platforms to help our partners prepare for these technology transitions. For example, last year, we overhauled Partner Central Portal to make it easier for partners to find the tools and resources they need to reach more customers. And, this quarter, we will be launching two new Partner Certifications to empower our partners to develop and offer consumption-based services on several of our products. Additional benefits of partnering with Equinix include:
- A broadened portfolio: You can build the solutions your customers need, deploy at the edge and offer new services through direct access to thousands of network, cloud and service providers.
- Expanded market reach: With 220+ locations across 63 markets on five continents, as well as over 10,000 customers, Platform Equinix allows you to expand to new geographies and opportunities.
- Increased revenue: Connecting your customers to all the network, cloud and SaaS providers they need creates many new recurring revenue opportunities.
- Improved margins: Once you’re connected on Platform Equinix, you can scale your offerings without significant infrastructure investment, enabling you to reduce cost and churn and grow profitability.
- Joint GTM market opportunities: Equinix analyzes partner nominated customers to identify core priority accounts for joint GTM opportunities and provides access to marketing content including campaigns-in-a-box, listing on the Equinix Marketplace and the Partner Directory.
To learn more, visit our Partner Central site.
[i] IDC FutureScape Webcast: Worldwide Digital Transformation 2020 Predictions,” IDC, Doc # US46287720, May 2020.