How Application Modernization is Transforming the Retail Sector

Major retailers are transitioning to hybrid multicloud infrastructure by leveraging Equinix Fabric and Google Cloud

Melissa Cotton
How Application Modernization is Transforming the Retail Sector

Large big-box retailers that have been in business for any length of time may have started with one or two locations. Whether their expansion occurred at a steady pace, or they experienced explosive growth, it’s likely they didn’t evolve their business applications and infrastructure simultaneously.

Added to the pain of maintaining and upgrading legacy applications was the new challenge of running an e-commerce division that required 24/7 availability and real-time inventory management to display product availability in a mobile app. Finally, the expansion of physical locations may have led to a statewide, regional, national or worldwide footprint, producing a massive amount of data that must be accessed, shared and managed—fast and securely.

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These newly minted digital businesses now must modernize their applications and establish digital infrastructure in core and edge locations, close to where they’re transacting with customers and suppliers. These changes were necessary even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but they took on a new urgency as customers around the world changed their buying habits en masse and supply chains were thrown into chaos. Today, even brick-and-mortar retailers that were relatively successful with weathering the pandemic are finding they need to take a digital-first approach to give customers the personalized, convenient omnichannel shopping experience they expect, and adapt supply chains with agility to ensure inventory is aligned to changing demand.

When retailers update and transform their legacy applications by moving them to the cloud, they must plan and implement an application modernization strategy. Application modernization converts a traditional or legacy system to modern programming languages, architectures, technologies and strategies. Transferring business systems to the cloud reduces the need for on-premises data centers, which are a huge overhead cost for retailers.

Traditional versus modernized application architecture

Container management services such as Kubernetes offer more efficient application deployments—improving performance, consistency, flexibility and cost-efficiency—and require high-performance and secure dedicated connectivity such as Equinix Fabric™ software-defined interconnection. No matter where the applications live—on-premises or in the cloud—Equinix Fabric interconnection provides:

  • Speed and latency to run business-critical workloads in the cloud.
  • Instant deployment of workloads through Network Edge virtual network services and Equinix Metal™ automated Bare Metal as a Service (BMaaS) offerings.
  • Secure data migration from on-premises or public cloud environments to Google Cloud.

These capabilities are key to helping retailers better understand their customers, and create an exceptional experience that exceeds customer expectations, even when those expectations are always changing.

Streamlining application modernization with Equinix and Google Cloud

Retailers can accelerate application modernization by scaling compute and storage resources via fast and secure interconnection to Google Cloud via Equinix Fabric and Google Cloud Interconnect (GCI). This gives businesses the power to achieve capabilities not possible on traditional technologies.

Equinix Fabric drives the consumption of services on Google Cloud such as data, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). It helps transform the IT ecosystem based on current market trends and build a flexible foundation for future innovation.

Equinix and Google Cloud help retail businesses transfer costs from CAPEX to OPEX by enabling secure application modernization through private interconnection that provides the low latency and speed needed to run applications in Google Cloud and deliver more robust services to end users.

Application modernization with Equinix and Google Cloud provides enterprises tools to accelerate application development and delivery while modernizing legacy applications and platforms. This allows retailers to focus on meeting the needs of their customers.

Making hybrid multicloud a reality

Equinix and Google enable retail businesses to deploy high-performance hybrid multicloud environments and increase customer satisfaction by localizing applications and services through interconnected ecosystems. As Google’s leading interconnection partner, Equinix connects more workloads and customers to Google Cloud (and all other public cloud providers) than any other company.

Google Cloud Interconnect on-ramps on Platform Equinix make it easier for retailers to leverage low-latency and high-bandwidth networks to migrate applications and data to Google Cloud safely. Equinix Fabric and Google Cloud Interconnect are available in Equinix IBX® data centers in more than 35 metros worldwide, delivering private, dedicated and secure internet for hybrid multicloud deployments. With Google Cloud, customers can implement a hybrid multicloud solution interconnected with Equinix Fabric to allow for portable data and applications on-premises, in the cloud or at the edge.

Retailers with locations across the country or worldwide can eliminate their reliance on a single centralized data center and reduce latency by localizing their infrastructure across multiple Equinix IBX metro data centers closer to where their customers are. Instead of shipping all the location-specific data for customers and vendors back to the main data center, they report into data centers strategically positioned in different parts of the world, dramatically reducing the distance data has to travel. In effect, they are operating as their own internet service providers. This helps them get the speed and low latency necessary to migrate business-critical applications into Google Cloud.

Google Cloud Interconnect Deployments on Platform Equinix

Together, Equinix and Google Cloud are powering digital transformation

Digital leaders in the retail sector are taking applications they traditionally ran on physical hardware and moving them into the cloud. While there may be some physical components left on-premises in a private cloud or in an Equinix colocation facility, businesses rely on Equinix Fabric interconnection to provide the low-latency connection between those application components. Equinix powers digital transformation for retailers when they modernize their applications through interconnection.

Equinix Metal is Anthos Ready

Equinix Metal has been certified as Anthos Ready which makes it easy to deploy hybrid workloads. As such, retailers can leverage Equinix Metal and Anthos to manage their infrastructure and applications across multiple clouds, on-premises and at the edge—seamlessly and securely. Equinix Metal is available on-demand in minutes in a variety of configurations, forming a secure and cost-effective infrastructure substrate for hybrid, multicloud and latency sensitive use cases.

Anthos unifies the management of infrastructure and applications across on-premises, edge, and in multiple public clouds with a Google Cloud backed control plane for consistent operation at scale. This means Equinix Metal and Anthos can be scaled up to meet temporary spikes in customer demand driven by seasonal events such as Mother’s Day or Black Friday, and then scaled down again once the additional capacity is no longer needed. Retailers can also speed up development, deliver new services faster, and reduce hardware costs and system maintenance overhead, giving retailers more time and resources to focus on their core business processes. Running Anthos on Equinix Metal can help retailers achieve their digital transformation through application modernization and the reduction of overall CAPEX.

Learn more about running Anthos on Equinix Metal by reading our reference architecture guide.

Check out this video to see how, together, Equinix and Google Cloud can help your business accelerate application development and modernization.



Melissa Cotton Partner Account Director, Strategic Alliances
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