How Equinix Fabric Supports Data Center Interconnection

Different Ethernet service options help enterprises get on-demand access to partners and applications, anywhere in the world

Dawn Howell
How Equinix Fabric Supports Data Center Interconnection

We are living in a world defined by digital infrastructure. This fact was driven home by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic: organizations that were digital leaders before the pandemic were well-positioned to adapt to the disruption, and in many cases have extended their competitive advantage. Meanwhile, companies that hadn’t made digital transformation a priority bore the full brunt of the disruption, as their legacy infrastructure made it difficult for them to adapt their business models, supply chains and customer engagement. It’s no wonder that the Equinix Global Interconnection Index (GXI) Volume 5 found that digital leaders are moving 4.5x farther ahead, while traditional business is still trying to get its bearings.

At the heart of any digital-first business strategy is the digital core, which includes corporate network, multicloud and regional back-end data infrastructure locations. However, the next challenge facing businesses in their digital transformation strategies will be connecting this foundation in a way that lets them move traffic anywhere in the world, quickly and securely. This is where data center interconnection from Equinix Fabric™ can help.

Connect everything in real time with confidence

Equinix recognizes that today’s enterprises need on-demand interconnection between their own digital assets, their partner ecosystem, and their customers, no matter where in the world those parties are located. That’s why we offer a network of more than 50 metros on five continents running Equinix Fabric, allowing you to connect in the places that matter the most to your business. Our customers also get access to our rich interconnected digital ecosystem of thousands of partners, service providers and customers.

In addition, we offer direct, on-demand provisioning, along with an easy-to-use portal that makes repeatable deployments quick and simple. Our flexible pricing and bandwidth control allows enterprises to adapt to changing business needs quickly, while still making the most of their precious resources.

Finally, we give our customers the confidence that comes from knowing their traffic is running over a purpose-built Layer 2 network, with secure private connections. At the same time, our rich developer tools allow enterprises to create programmable infrastructure, which can help support agile digital transformation.

Data center interconnection using Equinix Fabric gives enterprise customers options

To help our customers achieve their data center interconnection (DCI) goals, we offer two different Ethernet service options: Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL) and Ethernet Private Line (EPL).

Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL)

EVPL has been the standard DCI option for Equinix Fabric customers up until now, and it will likely continue to be the primary option for most customers going forward. It is based on point-to-multipoint VLAN Ethernet connections. It is ideal for most Equinix Fabric customers because it gives them the flexibility to interconnect with multiple parties from a single port or virtual device. This helps them quickly scale out their partner and customer ecosystem while keeping additional infrastructure investments to a minimum.

Ethernet Private Line (EPL)

We are proud to offer our Equinix Fabric customers EPL as a new Ethernet service option. It is a port-based point-to-point Layer 2 service, where all traffic is passed directly from one EPL port to another. In order to take advantage of the EPL service, customers must have two EPL ports, typically in different Equinix metros.

In contrast to EVPL, EPL only allows a single virtual connection between two ports. Traffic passing between two EPL ports is transparent to Media Access Control security (MACsec). For this reason, customers looking to secure their network traffic via MACsec encryption should select the EPL service option.

Connecting customer assets

To interconnect between their own assets in different Equinix metros, enterprises can access an easy-to-use online dashboard that allows them to order new ports and virtual connections with a few simple clicks. This helps them make on-demand modifications to their bandwidth capacity, adapting rapidly to keep up with the changes going on within their own business.

Customers can connect metros using either Equinix Fabric ports or Network Edge network services. Leveraging Network Edge from Equinix, you can deploy virtual network functions (VNF) devices from industry-leading vendors that will help you quickly modernize your digital infrastructure. This will help you prepare to take on new edge computing use cases by deploying at the edge in a matter of minutes, with no additional hardware investments required.

For this use case, the Equinix Fabric ports in each metro can either be VLAN-based (for EVPL connections) or port-based (for EPL connections). Regardless of whether you create the virtual connection via EVPL or EPL, you will need a physical cross connect between Equinix Fabric and your infrastructure in each data center. These cross connects are included in the Equinix Fabric port charges.

Connecting to cloud providers

Customers can create direct and secure interconnections with their cloud providers in different metros using the same simple online dashboard they would use for connecting their own assets. The technical specifications for the interconnection will also look similar regardless of whether you’re interconnecting with yourself or interconnecting with a partner.

The main difference is that an interconnection using an EVPL virtual connection will require a physical Equinix Fabric port or a virtual device on the customer side, which connects to a shared network-to-network interface (NNI) on the cloud provider side. For EPL virtual connections with cloud providers, customers will need a dedicated physical cross connect on the cloud provider side, as NNIs cannot be used for EPL connections.

Get started with data center interconnection

Creating an interconnected digital infrastructure, with on-demand access to your applications and business partners no matter where they are in world, can help you take the first step toward becoming a flexible, resilient business that’s well suited to thrive on disruption. To learn more about how Equinix Fabric on Platform Equinix® can help you connect your distributed infrastructure and digital ecosystems directly, securely and dynamically, read the Equinix Fabric data sheet.

To learn more about how Equinix Fabric supports data center interconnection, view the video below.

Subscribe to the Equinix Blog