Making the Metaverse: The Digital Infrastructure Opportunity

Enterprises are dreaming big, but to take the metaverse mainstream, they need a new approach to digital infrastructure

Wellington Lordelo
Making the Metaverse: The Digital Infrastructure Opportunity

The concept of the metaverse goes back decades, but the excitement around it has never been higher than it is now. Facebook got the ball rolling when it announced its new Meta branding[1], signaling it will base the future of the company on the metaverse. After this, many other metaverse announcements followed in quick succession. Most recently, Microsoft spoke about its planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard by saying it “will provide the building blocks for the metaverse.”[2]

It’s easy to get excited about the possibilities of the metaverse:

  • Automotive engineers can perform virtual crash tests (no dummies needed).[3]
  • Big box retailers are expanding into virtual goods and cryptocurrencies.[4]
  • Gaming companies are introducing virtual rewards that can be sold for real money or saved in crypto wallets/banks.

However, if the metaverse is going to be as transformational as the internet and mobile wireless networks before it—and I see no reason it won’t—enterprises must ask themselves some serious questions about how they’re going to get there. The metaverse is tomorrow’s technology, and we can’t achieve it using yesterday’s IT infrastructure. Until enterprises break free from the traditional approach to IT and replace it with modernized, distributed digital infrastructure, they won’t be able to deliver the true promise of the metaverse.

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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Raja Koduri from Intel argued that scaling persistent, immersive, real-time computing globally to support the metaverse will require computational efficiency 1,000 times greater than today’s state of the art can offer,[5] and it’s hard to disagree with his assessment. To realistically render avatars in a virtual world and allow users to interact with objects and other avatars in that virtual world—all in real time—it’s going to require truly mind-boggling amounts of data to be captured, transmitted, analyzed and acted upon with extremely low latency. We’ve seen companies achieve this for demos and small numbers of early adopters, but there’s still a lot more to do before the metaverse can go mainstream.

The metaverse is the future, but that future depends on digital infrastructure

The “true believers” of the metaverse seem to assume that the necessary infrastructure upgrades will simply fall into place as the natural result of technological progress. I question this line of thinking: enterprises certainly have the opportunity to deploy a metaverse-ready digital infrastructure, but they need to be proactive about making it happen.

The Global Interconnection Index (GXI) Volume 5 includes data about how organizations across the globe are growing interconnection bandwidth as they work to address their most pressing challenges. GXI data can help us understand how an optimized digital infrastructure—one that brings together and interconnects physical and virtual compute, storage and networking capabilities, along with advanced applications and cloud services—can be an unmatched source of competitive advantage.

The metaverse is tomorrow’s technology, and we can’t achieve it using yesterday’s IT infrastructure.”

Furthermore, the GXI shows how digital leaders are emphasizing all three components of digital infrastructure: the digital core, ecosystem and edge. Each component of digital infrastructure has a role to play in enabling the metaverse.

The digital core: Breaking through the silos

Traditional IT architectures were based on siloed, centralized data centers; all transactions flowed through these data centers, regardless of where they initiated. Today’s digital core is different: only certain critical workloads need to be deployed on-premises at the core, but even these on-premises systems can be cloud adjacent, allowing them to tap into transformational cloud services quickly and easily. In addition, digital core environments enable OPEX models, which can help enterprises balance their metaverse dreams against their financial realities.

The digital ecosystem: Teaming up to overcome challenges

Building the metaverse is too big of a challenge for one company to even think about undertaking alone. Delivering the capabilities and capacity the metaverse demands will require an ecosystem of partners working together. This ecosystem will include cloud service providers that help quickly scale compute and enable rapid, reliable data migration, network service providers that help remove bottlenecks and virtualize key functions, and vendor-neutral interconnection partners that bring the whole thing together.

The digital edge: Meeting users where they are

Each component of digital infrastructure has a role to play in enabling the metaverse.”

Deploying digital infrastructure at the edge is a key step toward making the metaverse possible. According to the GXI, edge locations are the bridge between the virtual and physical worlds; enterprises deploy infrastructure in these locations to get as close as possible to as many users as possible.

When data sets are as large as those created by the metaverse, moving that data back and forth between users and centralized IT hubs creates unacceptable levels of latency. Infrastructure at the edge allows data to stay local, thereby keeping latency manageable.

Partner with Equinix to start making the metaverse today

As the world’s digital infrastructure company™, Equinix has the global presence, partner ecosystem and technical resources needed to make the metaverse a reality. With more than 235 Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers in 65 major metros worldwide, we make it easy for customers to ramp up the distributed infrastructure they need to deliver metaverse capabilities to end users—no matter where those end users are located.

In addition, with our partner ecosystem of more than 3,000 cloud and IT service providers and 1,800 network service providers, accessing cutting-edge services from leading vendors has never been easier. Add in our Global Solutions Architects—technical experts who help plan and design IT infrastructures to unlock new capabilities and maximize return on investment—and you’ve got a recipe for metaverse success.

Read the GXI Vol. 5 report today for more insights on the future of digital infrastructure, and how companies around the world are making that future a reality.

 

 

[1] Introducing Meta: A Social Technology Company

[2] Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard to bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone, across every device

[3] The titans of the metaverse have a bandwidth issue

[4] Walmart is quietly preparing to enter the metaverse

[5] Powering the Metaverse

…Equinix has the global presence, partner ecosystem and technical resources needed to make the metaverse a reality.”
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