The internet is a huge milestone in the history of the civilized world, and has brought enormous benefits for both business and society in general. While celebrating this, especially in C2C, B2C interactions and IoT, we must be cognizant of the unsuitability of the internet for evolving enterprise IT requirements and digital infrastructure. In particular, access to public cloud data repositories, processing, software applications, and mission-critical network services require different levels of performance, trust, security and availability that can be difficult or even impossible to guarantee over the internet. The Equinix answer to these challenges has long been the appropriate use of local private interconnection via physical cross-connects, dark fiber, metro point-to-point services and internet exchanges.
Since 2020, Equinix Fabric™ has further developed our private interconnection offering with regional and global reach. Today, Equinix Fabric is a federated platform that allows interoperability and information sharing between over 3,000 autonomous customer and partner networks, technology systems and applications. The tools we place at Equinix Fabric users’ disposal leverage software-defined technologies to flexibly support both architectures and sales motions suited to both buyers’ and sellers’ needs. In this respect, Equinix Fabric diverges from historic systems integrator offerings, in that the customer has much broader choice and greater freedom to build the most perfomant and cost-effective solutions for their IT needs.
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Equinix Fabric delivers on the aspirations of Gaia-X
The Gaia-X project was first presented to the public at a European Digital Summit in October 2019. It is an international nonprofit association with a primary objective to create a trusted, sovereign digital infrastructure for Europe. The objective of Gaia-X is to define a framework of open standards and APIs supporting decentralized regional, federated digital infrastructure that will:
- Provide a framework of open standards and APIs for European service providers to interoperate.
- Operate through authorized Gaia-X access nodes.
- Respect the regulations of individual member states.
- Define a common repository of compliant software.
- Ensure data is stored in Europe, compliant with sovereignty regulations.
In March 2022, Equinix was accepted as a member of Gaia-X. With our long-standing experience operating Equinix Fabric, we look forward to playing our part in its working groups to bring this important European project to fruition.
We think the analysis of IT infrastructure in the Gartner® report “The Evolution of IT Infrastructure — Designing for the Unknown”, took a very practical “horses for courses” approach to dictating optimum workload placement. Equinix Fabric and the Gaia-X project independently recognized the key findings and have begun to implement the Gartner report’s recommendations on how the future of enterprise IT and digital transformation needs to be supported.
Conceptually, Equinix Fabric can be thought of as six digital infrastructure “building blocks.” We use building blocks purely as an analogy: essentially, Equinix Fabric hosts groups of provider and service types, each of which can stand alone as a single-service provision, or be combined in virtually unlimited combinations to support specific complex scenarios. This is the real power of federation: multi-partner alliances are essential to meeting the future needs of our connected society as data and pervasive computing transform our lives.
How service providers and enterprises are applying Equinix Fabric building blocks
Equinix Fabric is a globally distributed platform enabling federated services. It delivers service provider offerings alongside—and in some cases, integrated with—Equinix products like Equinix Metal™, Equinix Precision Time™ and Network Edge.
Equinix Fabric is host to more than 500 cloud and SaaS providers across the globe, helping enterprises maximize performance and flexibility by making private connections with the public cloud and SaaS services of their choice. Providers hosted on Equinix Fabric include public clouds such as Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Orange and SAP, and SaaS providers such as Salesforce and ServiceNow.
Edge compute and MEC services
Equinix Metal, our automated Bare Metal as a Service (BMaaS) offering, supports a variety of service provider edge compute functions, including private cloud, hybrid cloud, Amazon ECS, Google Anthos, Kubernetes, NVIDIA AI at the edge, and multiaccess edge compute (MEC). In addition, Equinix Metal provides native support for anycast CDN nodes and AR/VR applications. Global networks can leverage Equinix Metal to roll out SD-WAN services for their off-net CPE emulations.
Virtual network function hosting
Equinix Fabric integrates with Network Edge virtual network functions such as virtual routing and forwarding (VRFs), firewalls, and VPN gateways. Some Equinix enterprise and managed service provider customers are bypassing colocation, instead creating virtual points of presence to route workloads between public clouds, build IT presences, and interconnect with partners and providers in remote locations. Financial service providers, NSPs and MSPs are using Network Edge to deliver services off-net in markets where they don’t have a presence.
SDN and NaaS
In addition to leveraging Equinix Metal and Network Edge to build out off-net services, an increasing number of NSPs such as Verizon, Colt ODI, euNetworks, GNX and Zayo are delivering last-mile and WAN services to thousands of non-Equinix data centers, offices and facilities served by their networks. Some NSPs are fully API-integrated with Equinix Fabric, while others are partially integrated or deliver customer network connectivity as fully managed services. We also see enterprise customers leveraging Equinix Fabric point-to-point L2 connectivity for “connect to self” WAN services on demand between branch offices.
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)
Equinix hosts a large number of SASE providers such as Akamai, Cloudflare, F5 and Imperva, offering full application stack security, web application firewalls, and DDoS mitigation. As an L2 private WAN platform, some providers offer highly secure “non-GRE/non-internet” delivery of geo-diverse DDoS mitigation services. These represent a gold-standard service which is highly resilient to attack.
Equinix Precision Time provides time synchronization services with accuracy of up to 50 microseconds. Financial service providers and fintechs, NSPs and various enterprises can use these services for a broad range of applications, such as network performance monitoring and timestamping for regulatory and standards compliance.
Put Equinix Fabric to work for you
Equinix Fabric and the service provider partners we host are delivering on the same essential elements that Gaia-X is working toward with European providers. As a new member of Gaia-X, Equinix is proud to play a small but experienced part in building the digital futures of enterprise IT and service provider infrastructures alike.
To learn more about how you can apply the building blocks described in this blog, read the Equinix Fabric data sheet today.
 Gartner, “The Evolution of IT Infrastructure — Designing for the Unknown”. Author: David Cappuccio. February 2022, ID G00742745. GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.