While digital infrastructure was once an enabler for businesses, it is now a primary source of competitive advantage. Digital infrastructure brings together and interconnects physical and virtual technologies such as compute, storage, network, applications, and IaaS, PaaS and SaaS platforms to build the foundation for a company’s digital operations. Businesses use this foundation to re-architect their services for global digital delivery and to access the ecosystems and capabilities they need to rapidly build products and services and deliver them at scale.
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Three technology trends that are driving infrastructure change
Technology trends that were already well underway in recent years shifted into overdrive during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the results of the Equinix 2020-21 Global Tech Trends Survey (GTTS), 47% of IT decision-makers said their organizations had accelerated their digital transformation initiatives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, while 60% said the pandemic forced them to revisit and revise their IT strategy.
As businesses plan for a post-pandemic future, many of the same technology trends first brought to light by the pandemic will continue to play a significant role in driving infrastructure change. These trends represent new opportunities that digital leaders are already beginning to capitalize on, as well as new challenges they’ll have to adapt to in order to overcome.
Trend 1: Digital infrastructure is shifting to the edge
Business leaders are starting to understand the value of shifting their digital infrastructure to the edge, rather than relying exclusively on a centralized digital core. By distributing infrastructure at the edge, digital leaders can analyze data closer to the source to gain insights quickly and efficiently, and take advantage of the full potential of 5G apps with low latency.
However, this growing shift to the digital edge will also open businesses up to more complex cybersecurity threats. These threats can only be mitigated using new and innovative security strategies.
Trend 2: Digital infrastructure is increasingly developer-led and software-defined
Developers are gaining more influence in their organizations’ technology buying decisions. As these developers move into the driver’s seat, one of their top priorities will be to increase business agility through greater adoption of new technologies such as virtualization, containerization and automation. In addition, the advent of software-defined everything (SDx) will help businesses deploy and manage their infrastructure at software speed. And as end-user demands continue to change rapidly, API standardization will help businesses scale their digital infrastructure autonomously to keep up with those changes.
Trend 3: Digital infrastructure is increasingly comprised of interconnected partner ecosystems
Global digital businesses simply can’t be successful operating in a vacuum. They need to be able to capitalize on their own strengths, while also quickly and easily drawing from the respective strengths of a diverse group of partners.
Digital infrastructures are changing to reflect the growing importance of partner ecosystems. Many organizations are building hybrid multicloud environments, interconnecting with multiple cloud providers to optimize performance without the risk of traversing the public internet. Businesses are also planning for hybrid IT environments. This will require them to integrate both physical and digital infrastructures from multiple providers, including on-premises, cloud and colocated environments. Finally, businesses will need to be able to access data from across internal and external data sources in order to ensure their modern applications are performing at their full potential.
Unlock the future of digital infrastructure with interconnection
The right digital infrastructure enables organizations to adapt to all these technology trends dynamically—in an edge-to-cloud automated and flexible consumption model—so that when the need arises, they can rapidly assemble and reassemble the right building blocks and resources. In many ways, the ability to interconnect with partner and customer ecosystems is key to helping organizations realize the true value of their digital infrastructures.
Interconnection is the direct and private exchange of digital traffic between two or more parties inside a carrier-neutral colocation data center. Bypassing the public internet to connect directly with strategic ecosystem partners is the secret sauce that helped digital leaders modernize IT systems, optimize application performance, improve security and scale faster, all while reducing cost and inefficiency.
The results of the Equinix GTTS show that digital leaders from across the globe recognize the key role that interconnection plays in driving their digital transformation strategies:
- 58% of IT leaders said interconnection is a key facilitator of digital transformation.
- 50% of IT leaders said interconnection is key to their business’s survival.
In short, the future of digital business is an interconnected one.
Equinix’s role in a digital-first world
Equinix is the world’s digital infrastructure company, providing a trusted global platform that delivers everything digital leaders need to accelerate transformation and advance their competitive advantage. Our internal benchmark studies of digital leaders have helped us identify three components as foundational building blocks for digital infrastructures:
- Digital core: Includes corporate network, multicloud and regional back-end data infrastructure locations.
- Digital ecosystems: Includes locations close to specific ecosystem concentrations—driving gravity, density and value.
- Digital edge: Includes locations geographically close to front-end centers of revenue and operations.
Equinix enables its nearly 10,000 customers and partners to build and interconnect these components directly and dynamically to anyone on one global platform: Platform Equinix®.
To learn more, check out the Platform Equinix vision paper.