Three Cities Living on the Edge

How Atlanta, Los Angeles and Seattle are defining digital businesses at the edge

Tiffany Osias
Three Cities Living on the Edge

This is the tale of three cities. It’s a story of digital expansion and how companies are thriving at the edge.

Atlanta, Los Angeles and Seattle are huge metro areas with dominating industries such as financial, manufacturing, entertainment and information technology. And big brands, such as Home Depot, Disney and Microsoft have landed their headquarters in these rich commercial centers. So, why are we talking about these three mega metro areas as digital edge locations?

Consider what interacting at the digital edge means from the fifth annual volume of the Global Interconnection Index (GXI), a market study published by Equinix: Companies are expanding to strategic edge metros with ecosystem density, globally delivering differentiated experiences in proximity to population centers everywhere.

The time for a digital-first strategy is now.

The Global Interconnection Index (GXI) is the industry’s leading source of data and insight on interconnection and its increasing impact on the digital world.

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Why the edge?

The GXI Vol. 5 defines three components of digital infrastructure: digital core, ecosystems and edge.

The edge includes locations geographically close to front-end centers of revenue and operations. Businesses expand into edge metros from the core to open new markets leveraging partner ecosystems or access a growing customer ecosystem. As a result of the ongoing global pandemic, the distributed needs of the enterprise workforce, customers and business partners are driving the deployment of digital infrastructure and interconnection at the edge, along with hybrid multicloud architectures.

Before we dive into these leading edge metros individually, let’s take a look at the Americas from an edge interconnection bandwidth capacity growth point of view.

The GXI shows that the Americas’ edge interconnection bandwidth growth to have an estimated 49% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), driven by a large Service Provider presence (Network, Hyperscale, and Cloud & IT Providers) across multiple edge locations. Our target edge metros have some of the highest projected interconnection bandwidth growth rates: Los Angeles (51%), Seattle (50%) and Atlanta (48%).

Atlanta: A healthcare and commerce center with high growth potential

Atlanta has one of the busiest airports in the world and an amazing metro transit system that reinforces this vibrant city’s ability to connect businesses with each other. Atlanta is home to the third highest concentration of Fortune 500 company headquarters in the U.S., including Home Depot, UPS, Coca Cola and Delta Airlines, with over 1,200 multinational organizations and 13,000 tech companies residing in Atlanta.

As a well-known financial and consumer services center, Atlanta’s enterprise interconnection bandwidth growth is an estimated 48% CAGR. Much of this growth is coming from industry sectors such as Healthcare & Life Sciences (48.5%), Wholesale and Retail Trade (44.5%), Banking & Insurance (40.6%), and Consumer Services (40.1%). Service Providers’ anticipated interconnection bandwidth growth, such as Cloud & IT Services (53.1%), Content & Digital Media (52.6%), Hyperscalers (52%), and Network (49.1%), represent expanding digital infrastructure deployments throughout the metro area as Service Providers continue to advance Enterprise digital transformation.

Aon, a global insurance leader located in Atlanta, offers its customers a range of financial risk-mitigation products, including insurance, pension administration, and health-insurance plans. Part of Aon’s multiyear strategic program, called “Core to Edge,” set out to transform its core infrastructure services. Working with partners like Equinix, Aon built its network performance hubs (NPHs) globally at the edge with access to dense ecosystems of network, cloud & IT service providers. When COVID-19 hit, Aon was able to pivot from 50,000 colleagues working in offices to them working 100% remotely over the course of a weekend, without any drop in capabilities or services.

Equinix provided us the most connected footprint of capabilities and services — be it public cloud connectivity to AWS, Azure, GCP—with Equinix Fabric, our easy access to the largest carrier-neutral telecommunication aggregation points in the globe. So, choosing Equinix was a no-brainer.” - Rakesh Inamdar, Senior Director of Core Infrastructure Services at Aon

Los Angeles: Expanding digital business regionally and around the world

Businesses across the Los Angeles (LA) metro area are massively distributed. A critical interconnection point, regionally and globally, LA is the second-largest metro economy in the country, with more than 244,000-plus businesses across the manufacturing, biotech, aerospace and Fintech sectors. As the entertainment capital of the world, LA is home to media giants such as Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures. The world also interconnects with LA across subsea cable routes to Asia, South America, Latin America and Mexico.

Los Angeles is the largest edge metro by interconnection bandwidth capacity in the Americas with an estimated 51% CAGR by 2024. The high growth enterprise industries in interconnection bandwidth include: Public Sector (49.8%), Healthcare & Life Sciences (47.8%) and Wholesale & Retail Trade (44.2%). Service Providers make up the majority of the estimated edge interconnection bandwidth growth: Hyperscalers (61.7%), Network (55.6%), Cloud & IT Services (45.0%), and Content & Digital Media Providers (44.6%).

One LA-based company provides two main security products, DNSFilter a threat protection and content filtering service, and Webshrinker, a paid direct feed that provides the intelligence that DNSFilter uses to determine what category domains are and to detect threats like phishing sites. One of the biggest customer segments for DNSFilter is managed service providers, which include the product in its offerings to other companies. DNSFilter runs its IP network on Equinix Metal in various Equinix locations, including Los Angeles, so that each customer has two IP addresses to configure for its DNS.

We have the technology where it needs to be, so we’re focusing more on growth and scaling, and offering a more complete product. Because Equinix Metal makes it easy to spin up servers in locations as needed, Equinix is going to be a really good partner to grow with. It’s going to be a huge differentiator moving forward.” - Mike Schroll, CTO, DNS Filter

Seattle: Technology central and gateway to the world

Seattle has a laid-back culture unlike any other I’ve encountered in the business community. Instead of being glued to cell phones during their downtime, you can see office workers connecting over a game of foosball. The Seattle metro area is ranked in the top 10 for global cities with technology venture capital investments. With Fortune 500 companies headquartered there such as Amazon, Costco, Microsoft, Starbucks, Nordstrom and Expedia, it’s no wonder that Seattle is ranked 2nd among the 30 biggest metros in the U.S. by GDP.

Going global? From Seattle, you can take high-speed, low-latency terrestrial fiber routes to Canada and the rest of the U.S., and subsea cable routes to China, New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii via the Hawaiki Cable, and the Japanese market via the FASTER subsea cable system.

Enterprise industries in Seattle forecast to lead in interconnection bandwidth capacity growth include: Public Sector (49.8%), Healthcare & Life Sciences (48.3%), Wholesale & Retail Trade (44.5%) and Industrial Services (41.1%). Service Providers are anticipated to see very high rates of growth in interconnection bandwidth capacity as they expand in this growing technology-dense metro area: Network (54.5%), Cloud & IT Services (51.7%), Hyperscalers (51%), and Content & Digital Media Providers (50.9%).

Vancouver-based SaaS provider Navarik, a real-time commodities data insights company, required seamless access to Google Cloud to accelerate and optimize the availability of its data processing and analysis applications. Navarik partnered with Equinix Seattle and connected to Google Cloud with Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric® (ECX Fabric®) to create a high-performance, secure and reliable hybrid IT infrastructure for its petroleum workflow solutions, reducing its development time from a four-week release cycle to 50 minutes for Google Cloud Service endpoints and 15 minutes for new API endpoints.

Google Cloud on Platform Equinix provided us the agility and the shared platform infrastructure that allowed us to use technologies we wouldn’t be able to access on our own and respond faster to our customers.” - Richard Halldearn, CEO, Navarik Corp

The opportunities offered by these three key Equinix edge metro locations for Enterprises to interconnect with Service Provider ecosystems in a variety of industries are infinite. And the possibilities to build and interconnect end-to-end digital infrastructures and hybrid multicloud architectures globally are endless.

Learn more about our three edge metro locations:

Equinix Atlanta

Equinix Los Angeles

Equinix Seattle

Tiffany Osias Vice President, Global Colocation Services
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