How Virtual Networking is Keeping Manufacturers Online and On Time

Virtual network devices hosted on VNF platforms are keeping manufacturing up and running around the world

Matt Ward
How Virtual Networking is Keeping Manufacturers Online and On Time

We’ve focused many of our Interconnections articles on manufacturing over the last year, and for good reason. The sector has been one of the hardest hit industries by the global pandemic, impacting millions of jobs, disrupting global supply chains and spurring manufacturers to accelerate digital transformation worldwide by leveraging interconnection. According to the Global Interconnection Index (GXI) Volume 5, global manufacturing interconnection bandwidth capacity is estimated to increase at a 41% CAGR by 2024.

On the upside, manufacturing companies are among those digital leaders that have truly innovated their way through a very difficult time and continue to raise the bar by incorporating innovative technologies such as the industrial internet of things (IIoT), artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), 5G, robotic automation and virtual network functions (VNF).

Many manufacturers on Platform Equinix® exemplify this innovation and excellence in their digital infrastructure deployments as they navigate constantly changing customer requirements, competitive pressures, and supply chain issues. These are just some of their stories.

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Cardboard boxes on moving belt conveyor at distribution warehouse. Modern warehouse with automatic moving conveyor machine.

Self-service SD-WAN expansion accelerates global supply chain

A multinational conglomerate in steel production needed to build a more agile wide area network (WAN) to quickly add new manufacturing locations and supply chain partners. The company wanted to leverage a more agile SD-WAN globally in just two weeks, since fixed MPLS solutions were not practical or cost-effective.

Placing its digital infrastructure in multiple Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers in Frankfurt, Singapore, Amsterdam, Ashburn and Dallas, the company deployed SD-WAN gateway and firewall devices on Network Edge from Equinix— without having to ship additional hardware to those locations. Equinix Fabric™ software-defined interconnection provided the company a fast “on-ramp” to multiple cloud providers worldwide, as well as connectivity to its MPLS network backbone and subsidiary and partner companies. The manufacturer’s digital-first strategy gave it the flexibility to quickly deploy:

  • Multiple SD-WAN and firewall virtual devices from its vendors of choice around the world.
  • Direct, secure, and redundant connectivity to multiple cloud and internet providers via Equinix Fabric.
  • On-demand connectivity to its subsidiaries and supply chain ecosystem via virtual peering based on Equinix Fabric.
  • Flexible connectivity to its current MPLS provider via Equinix Fabric

Geo-redundancy gives smart home manufacturer resiliency

A multinational smart home door and blind manufacturer needed to expand its regional presence and resiliency across Europe. The company was looking to gain greater global agility, scalability, redundancy, and faster time to market. It also wanted to improve both the end user and customer experience when accessing its services via the public internet and manufacturing supply chain.

The manufacturer deployed a geo-redundant digital infrastructure with a physical presence in Equinix IBX data centers in Geneva  and Zurich, and Network Edge services in Equinix Frankfurt. The manufacturer wanted to connect directly and securely to SAP Cloud and rollout an SD-WAN to connect to its SAP workloads across its worldwide locations. It also needed fast interconnectivity between its 60 worldwide locations and resilient European digital infrastructure. Choosing a digital-first strategy, the manufacturer deployed an SD-WAN gateway on Network Edge in Frankfurt to integrate with its locations around the world. Equinix Fabric allowed the company to connect quickly to SAP Cloud and move its workloads globally.

41% CAGR

According to the GXI Vol. 5, global manufacturing interconnection bandwidth capacity is estimated to increase at a 41% CAGR by 2024.

The manufacturer gained the following benefits:

  • Instantly deployed branch SD-WAN services with no additional hardware requirements or costs.
  • Reduced time for manual network and cloud configurations.
  • Enabled lower-cost network options.
  • Delivered optimized traffic flow and a consistent end-user experience.
  • Provided global agility and seamless connectivity.
  • Gained additional peace of mind as Equinix maintains the underlying hardware for Network Edge services.
  • The ability to grow and expand on Platform Equinix using an OPEX model

Repeatable virtual network solution enables faster hybrid IT deployments at the edge

A global beverage vendor adopted a digital-first strategy to be more agile, expand its global presence and accelerate its time to market. It moved its hybrid IT infrastructure to Equinix London and deployed Network Edge—without needing to visit the data center—with plans for future rollouts in Singapore and the U.S. The company required a redundant hybrid cloud environment where it could access a large choice of network, cloud and internet providers. The company achieved this using Network Edge, Equinix Fabric and the vast, interconnected digital ecosystem on Platform Equinix.

On Network Edge, the company could deploy a variety of VNF devices (SD-WAN gateway, cloud router and firewall) from different providers using the same interface, leveraging APIs and Terraform to cost-effectively build, change or add IT infrastructure via software. It can now replicate its digital infrastructure with greater agility worldwide and realize the same consistent performance with no additional risk.

Via Network Edge and Equinix Fabric this manufacturer gained:

  • Faster, painless deployment via a virtual solution.
  • The ability to choose multiple products on Platform Equinix to suit their requirements (physical and virtual).
  • A redundant solution and a choice of VNF devices from different vendors on Network Edge.
  • The ability to service chain multiple VNF devices in a configuration of their choosing.
  • DevOps friendliness and flexibility.
  • A cost-effective way to build virtual and physical IT infrastructure.
  • Flexible connectivity to CSPs, NSPs and ISPs using an OPEX model.
  • High-redundancy options and the potential for repeatable global deployments in the future.

The stories of these global manufacturers are just a few examples of what’s possible on Platform Equinix. As the world’s digital infrastructure company™, Equinix enables digital leaders in all industries to build and interconnect foundational infrastructure building blocks at software speed in all the right places, with all the right partners.

Learn more by reading the Smart Manufacturing solution brief.

You may also like to read:
CELSA manufacturing case study.

Equinix Fabric allowed the company to connect quickly to SAP Cloud and move its workloads globally.