Equinix and IBM Take Next Step with Direct Link (2.0) Integration

Collaboration enables seamless connectivity experience, linking on-premises infrastructure to IBM Cloud resources via Equinix Fabric

David McCullough
Equinix and IBM Take Next Step with Direct Link (2.0) Integration

Equinix and IBM have a long history of collaborating to support IBM hybrid cloud and multicloud use cases for mutual customers. The movement to hybrid architectures is a digital transformation emphasis that we at Equinix have seen gaining momentum among our global customer base for quite some time. According to the Equinix 2020-21 Global Tech Trends Survey (GTTS), 46% of the global respondents have deployed hybrid cloud and 28% have deployed multicloud. Those represent 12% and 11% increases, respectively, from the previous year’s GTTS survey.

Equinix has been pleased to support IBM Cloud Direct Link (2.0) on Equinix Fabric™ since its launch by IBM Cloud. However, the two companies are now taking the next step in providing a fully API-integrated ordering experience for Equinix and IBM Cloud customers with an industry-leading cloud connectivity solution.

This integration offers a higher degree of ordering automation and a more user-friendly ordering experience for customers to connect to their IBM Cloud environments. Equinix Fabric provides low-latency, high-capacity and software-defined interconnection to IBM Cloud-enabling direct, private and secure access to our global service and content providers ecosystem.

Connect with IBM Cloud Direct Link 2.0

Equinix Fabric enables enterprises to do more in the cloud by providing secure, direct, flexible network connections to a wide range of cloud service providers globally.

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Integrating Equinix Fabric and IBM Cloud Direct Link (2.0) is a crucial element for customers seeking a comprehensive cloud networking topology that encompasses several IBM and Equinix services. These include the Red Hat OpenShift container platform, IBM Cloud Satellite, Equinix Metal™, and Network Edge. For more about how some of these services align into a cohesive solution enabling the programmatic deployment of infrastructure and interconnection, refer to our companion blog exploring the Equinix Platform and IBM Cloud Satellite.

IBM Direct Link (2.0) on Platform Equinix enhances direct integration with IBM Cloud

The speed and reliability of IBM Cloud Direct Link (2.0) over Equinix Fabric allow you to extend your on-premises network with consistent, high-throughput connectivity that bypasses the public internet. IBM Cloud Direct Link (2.0) is available in 17 Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center locations across three regions. Enterprises can also quickly and privately connect to IBM Cloud from any Equinix Fabric global location, even in metros without a native IBM Cloud Direct Link presence. Equinix Fabric is now available in over 50 metros globally.

Benefits of IBM Direct Link on Platform Equinix include:

  • Private connectivity between on-premises data centers and IBM Cloud environments
  • Low-latency, reliable access to IBM Cloud services including Cloud Paks, virtual private clouds (VPC), bare metal compute and cloud storage
  • Stability, high availability and security
  • Pay-as-you-go billing from both IBM Cloud and Equinix

API integration with Equinix Fabric means that businesses can provision IBM Cloud Direct Link through the Fabric portal in minutes.

Platform Equinix Integrated IBM Cloud Environment via Direct Link (2.0) and Equinix Fabric

The Direct Link (2.0) offering allows connectivity to both classic infrastructures as a service (IaaS) and VPCs. In contrast, classic IBM Cloud Direct Link 1.0 always connects to the IaaS network where the global virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) function must first be enabled on a customer’s account.

The new integration and support of Direct Link (2.0) on Platform Equinix provides several enhancements. Highlights include [i]:

  • Provisioning of Direct Link (2.0) within minutes as a fully self-service user experience
  • Support for multiple VPCs, with or without access from classic Direct Link within the same account
  • Improved BYOIP (Bring Your Own IP) address options with VPC to create native connectivity between an on-premises environment and IBM Cloud
  • Support for connections to multiple IBM Cloud accounts via VPC from a single Direct Link
  • Metered billing, which provides flexibility and lowers the barrier of entry to IBM Cloud
  • Enhanced user experience (UX) across Direct Link connections, with improved inventory and visibility to router diversity

Customers on Platform Equinix benefit from being able to access both versions of IBM Cloud Direct Link (2.0) (Direct Link Dedicated and Direct Link Connect):

  • Direct Link Dedicated is a single-tenant, fiber-based, cross-connect that enables a private network connection to IBM Cloud. It can also be used by colocation facilities adjacent to IBM Cloud points of presence (PoP) and data centers. Users can select speeds of 1, 2, 5 or 10 Gbps.
  • Direct Link Connect allows IBM Cloud users to quickly establish and deliver connectivity to IBM Cloud locations via the Equinix Fabric. Equinix is connected to the IBM Cloud network using multitenant, high-capacity network-to-network interfaces (NNIs). Users can select between speeds of 50, 100, 200 and 500 Mbps, or 1, 2 and 5 Gbps.

Supporting diverse redundant and multicloud deployments

The default deployments of Direct Link Connect 2.0 on Platform Equinix via Equinix Fabric do not require a redundant configuration, although redundancy can be deployed in different ways on discrete routers. Many enterprise customers choose to create redundant deployments by setting up an additional Direct Link connection. With that in mind, IBM recommends establishing a second, diverse direct link to prevent outages, whether unplanned or planned due to maintenance.[ii]

IBM also provides specific guidance for diverse, redundant, and multicloud deployment options for Direct Link Connect.[iii]  Equinix Fabric supports integration with other cloud providers, such as AWS, Azure or Google Cloud. The following figure illustrates an overview of how to establish this type of connection on Platform Equinix.

Using Direct Link Connect in Conjunction with Multicloud Environment

Direct Link (2.0) integration supports wider IBM collaboration initiative

Over the years, the collaboration between IBM and Equinix has benefitted our mutual customers. Equinix customers have gained access to the diverse resources and capabilities inherent to the global IBM Cloud environment—including secure, reliable connectivity to many IBM Cloud software services. IBM Cloud customers have, in turn, gained access to our Equinix Fabric network, which provides low-latency connectivity between globally interconnected data centers. We’re known for our industry-leading data center reliability, unrivalled connected ecosystems of network, cloud and content providers available in more than 220 IBX data centers in 63 metros worldwide.

Learn more about connecting to IBM Cloud via Direct Link (2.0) with Equinix Fabric at our product documentation portal.




[i] IBM, Cloud/Blog/Announcements, “Introducing IBM Cloud Direct Link 2.0,” 30 September 2020.

[ii] IBM, IBM Cloud Docs/Direct Link (2.0), “Models for diversity and redundancy in Direct Link (2.0),” 2020-07-07.

[iii] IBM, IBM Cloud Docs/Direct Link (2.0), “Alternatives for your Direct Link Connect (2.0) deployment,” 2020-07-16.

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