Equinix and CDW Enable Citizen-Centric Digital Services in Canada

Canadian government agencies must take a digital-first approach to become more responsive and resilient

Sanjeevan Srikrishnan
KJ Burke
Equinix and CDW Enable Citizen-Centric Digital Services in Canada

While government agencies in Canada can capitalize on digital transformation opportunities in similar ways as their private sector counterparts, they must overcome challenges unique to the Canadian public sector to do so. These could include geopolitical hurdles as well as stringent compliance requirements. According to the Global Interconnection Index Volume 5, there are three main components of digital infrastructure: the digital core, edge and ecosystem. To be successful with their digital transformation initiatives, Canadian public sector organizations need a digital-first strategy that addresses all three components:

  • Digital core: Placing core systems adjacent to the cloud to enable rapid transaction processing and overcome the limitations of traditional centralized architectures.
  • Digital edge: Building out distributed infrastructure in proximity to population centers nationwide, so that citizens in Calgary can feel as close to digital government services as those in Toronto or Montreal.
  • Digital ecosystem: Capitalizing on public-private partnerships to increase speed, maximize flexibility and unlock new capabilities.

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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Current cloud provider density in Canada is centered around the eastern metros of Toronto and Montreal. To truly service their constituents across the country, public sector organizations also need to tap into digital infrastructure in edge metros like Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Public sector organizations need a digital-first strategy

Government agencies must pursue digital transformation because Canadian citizens expect digital services from government that are as good as the digital services they get from private businesses every day. This was true even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with uncertainty surrounding the delivery of traditional in-person services, it’s more important than ever that citizens be able to access digital government services quickly, conveniently and reliably.

To ensure digital readiness and resiliency, agencies must modernize their approach to take advantage of all three components of digital infrastructure. Effective digital service delivery requires a scalable IT architecture, without introducing security or compliance risks. To accelerate service delivery, agencies will also need to implement cloud-native platforms. Finally, they’ll need to ensure trusted data exchanges with partners, without creating data privacy issues. As if these challenges aren’t enough, they’ll have to address them all while limiting the waste of taxpayer resources.

Equinix and CDW Canada are partnering to help Canadian government agencies overcome these challenges and take a citizen-centric approach to digital government services.

Equinix and CDW Canada enable key public sector use cases

National interconnection backbone

The rapid increase in application demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic made it plain to see which organizations could adapt and which couldn’t. Organizations still relying on traditional centralized IT experienced poor application performance, frustrating user experiences and degraded customer service.

To help meet the increased demand, we’ve expanded our presence nationally to 8 Canadian metros, allowing coast-to-coast coverage. This is further strengthened by our Equinix Fabric™ global interconnection backbone that spans 6 Canadian metros and more than 50 global metros. Instead of routing all transactions through a centralized hub, public sector organizations can now use distributed infrastructure to process transactions from anywhere, at any time. Connecting with the Equinix ecosystem of cloud and network service providers—either in a colocated Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center or via Equinix Fabric software-defined interconnection—allows agencies to reduce cost and latency, while quickly tapping into new capabilities.

For instance, government agencies can use Equinix Fabric to interconnect with public cloud providers and SaaS productivity tools (2,900+ globally and counting), enabling them to scale capacity on demand. In addition, Network Edge services from Equinix make it quick and easy to deploy new virtual network functions from leading providers like Cisco, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks, including SD-WAN, virtual firewalls, VPNs and routing. Finally, agencies can interconnect with network service providers to connect hubs, branch offices and data centers back to their on-premises systems.

Our globally consistent security posture with Platform Equinix® at its core is built to meet the high standards of public sector organizations, as demonstrated by our ITSG-33 (NIST 800-53) certification and ISO 27001 accreditation.

The Equinix Global Security Posture, with Platform Equinix at the Center

CDW Canada collaborates with Equinix in this use case by architecting, deploying, training and supporting the technology required on-premises and in the public cloud to help our joint customers execute their digital maturity journey.

Resilient disaster recovery

While business continuity efforts have traditionally focused on the data center, it’s all about applications now. To keep those vital applications available, CDW Canada helps customers come up with a detailed plan for what applications need to be protected, what disasters they need to be protected from, and what level of outage the organization can withstand. This plan is then backed up with redundant networks, cloud partners and collaboration tools spread across different Equinix metros in Canada.

With Equinix’s nationwide presence, public sector organizations can take advantage of diverse disaster recovery options, choosing from several different hybrid cloud models. To put it simply, Equinix distributed infrastructure enables redundancy, which in turn increases agility for service restoration. The end result is that key applications are available when and where citizens need them.

Anywhere-ready workforce

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for employees to be productive from anywhere, at any time. To meet this need, Canadian government agencies can take advantage of Equinix’s nationwide presence to create the distributed infrastructure they need to support an anywhere-ready workforce. Taken together, the national interconnection backbone and resilient disaster recovery solution help ensure that employees can get secure, reliable access to applications and resources—with the same level of access they’d get working in a central office—over any internet connection, from wherever they are.

As the needs of their distributed workforces change, government agencies can apply Equinix capabilities to adapt their digital infrastructure with flexibility and agility. For instance, agencies can deploy new Network Edge VNF devices and connect them to cloud providers in a matter of minutes via a traditional point-and-click dashboard, or automate the process using API scripts.

Equinix empowers digital transformation for the Canadian public sector

Equinix understands the unique challenges facing Canadian public sector organizations as they undertake digital transformation, and we have the expertise and nationwide presence to help overcome them. In addition, our coast-to-coast network of Canadian data centers ensures that government agencies can establish sovereign data paths, moving sensitive personal data from anywhere in Canada to anywhere else without it ever leaving the country.

To learn more about how the Equinix approach to interconnection can support digital transformation for your organization, read the GXI Vol. 5 report. Also, contact an Equinix Canada sales representative to start executing your digital transformation today.

You may also be interested in

Check out this recording of “Digital, human, inclusive, resilient: The future of citizen-centric service”, a joint session delivered by Equinix and CDW Canada at FWD50.


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Sanjeevan Srikrishnan Principal Global Solutions Architect
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KJ Burke Guest Author: Principal Technology Strategist, Hybrid Cloud, CDW Canada
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