B.A.N.I. – Brittle, Anxious, Nonlinear and Incomprehensible world. Do any of those–or all–sound familiar to you when working to bring the best from yourself, your team, your applications and your business? While combining vision and technological resources at your disposal to build and enhance the foundations required for your business to thrive in the digital economy?
This is not exclusive to discussions with C-Suites, technologists and business technologists. The perspectives become more interesting when bringing expanded roles and skills into this conversation. Jamais Cascio—an American Anthropologist, author and futurist—when presenting the BANI acronym, drives us to address the complex changes happening worldwide in which the digital subscription economy rules, and to be able to compete and challenge those rules.
Leaders’ guide to digital infrastructure
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As reported in the Equinix 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey (GTTS), 80% of IT leaders around the world see digitizing their business as a future-proofing priority. Changing at software-speed, a digital-first strategy, is required if you are looking to deliver digital services as you expand your market share, digital ecosystem participation, and place your business and applications where they can return growth with consistency. In a future-back thinking and digital-first approach, you may start to think in ways that best support the evolving distributed and virtual nature of your businesses, to grow and expand in a sustainable way.
Looking at the trends for emerging technologies, we are seeing the adoption of technologies that are foundational to competitive advantage in a world with customer requirements for excellence in serving your value-chain. This is exemplified by businesses adopting multi-access edge compute (MEC) use cases, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), Metaverse, data compliance and 5G.
But how do we keep up to speed? Well, acquiring technology in the form of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is creating its own edge use case. Companies have been on a tech buying spree, driving record spending to assure their continued technological enhancement, however, this technology assimilation does not come without ramifications. According to 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, in 2021 the value of tech M&A transactions reached $1.2 trillion, exceeding the total from the two previous years combined. Integrating an acquired business into a company’s existing IT infrastructure creates new edge challenges. It requires the fast assimilation of new processes, cultures, IT, locations, and employees, partners and customers, while preserving a business’s best capabilities and expanding them by interconnecting to new technologies.
These and other edge use cases have one dependency in common—connectivity. According to the GTTS, improving cybersecurity, complying with data protection regulations, future-proofing business and improving customer experience are the highest priorities flagged by organizations across the globe. Successful business leaders have taken the opportunity brought by several disrupters to evolve, taking bold leaps to implement future‑proof business models built on technology platforms—starting by reviewing their foundational technology strategy using the future-back thinking from edge-to-cloud or edge-to-core.
Why on-demand interconnection is essential to reach people, places and business where they are
According to 451 Research, “Several critical factors lead workloads to be executed at the edge, including security, performance or latency requirements, and data sovereignty.” Network optimization via on-demand interconnection in distributed metro areas is an enabler for all of these, including fast, direct access to cloud and 5G services. Proximate software-defined interconnection and virtual network services deliver faster response times and a greater user experience than traditional physical network infrastructure with an additional secure layer provided on the edge through interconnection. The speed at which virtual network functions (VNF) devices (e.g., SD-WANs, cloud routing, VPNs, firewalls, etc.) securely interconnect edge IT infrastructure, people, clouds, data and things can be reduced from months to days.
As network security is critical to any physical or virtual infrastructure (no matter where it is), interconnection puts security guardrails where they are needed. This is especially critical when integrating a newly acquired company’s IT from distributed edge locations, or as your business moves on expansions into new markets–by crossing industries or geographical areas. Data protection and sovereignty at the edge can be quickly ensured by deploying security controls through direct connectivity to edge-based security services such as distributed denial of service (DDoS), either on-premises or in the cloud.
5G radio access networks (RANs) and virtual RANs
One of many 5G components, a RAN uses 5G radio FDD frequencies to provide wireless connectivity (either physically or virtually) to devices and access to a wide range of applications. RAN devices help convert wireless signals into IP traffic and MEC allows for the hosting of application services as part of a 5G digital infrastructure at the edge. Given that 5G components can be scattered across different metro edge locations, secure interconnection across a 5G core control plane and between network and cloud ecosystems within a vendor-neutral multi-tenant infrastructure hub can be essential for 5G deployment success.
Network slicing refers to the ability to provision and connect virtual network functions within a common physical network. For example, network slicing enables enterprises to use 5G networks and services on the same physical infrastructure. Software-defined interconnection and virtual network services on a distributed, interconnected digital infrastructure platform allow for agile network slicing across a wide range of physical and virtual environments. This enables you to quickly determine traffic patterns and provision network services, build a secure and smart edge perimeter as you standardize, orchestrate and monitor edge access control policies as needed.
As the world’s digital infrastructure company™, Equinix provides edge locations, interconnection and digital infrastructure services orchestration where enterprises can directly and securely interconnect and integrate with digital ecosystems of businesses at software speed. As digital leaders shift to a digital-first model that incorporates both edge and cloud, they are using Platform Equinix® with Equinix Fabric™ and Network Edge on-demand interconnection services to unlock their digital infrastructure’s true value.
For example, Verizon connects its global, fiber optic backbone network to reach Platform Equinix worldwide. This includes the capability to leverage 5G Ultra-Wideband and MEC capabilities in many locations and allows connections through the fiber backbone to reach any business on Platform Equinix, including hyperscalers, cloud providers and ecosystem partners—providing the foundation for a MEC platform.
Exoscale, a subsidiary of the A1 Telekom Austria Group, was quickly growing its cloud hosting business and expanding its solutions for application developers across Europe. Exoscale leveraged Equinix’s broad European reach and Equinix Fabric software-defined interconnection in metro edge locations to deliver on its cloud hosting security, performance and reliability service level agreements (SLAs) for its growing customer base.
A global financial services provider wanted to improve the overall customer experience for its Software as a Service (SaaS) solution by taking a different approach with its existing private connections. Prior to implementing its services on Platform Equinix, the deployment time for installing physical hardware was 7-9 months (on average). Interconnecting customers to its SaaS solution using Network Edge and Equinix Fabric on Platform Equinix modernized the provider’s network and gave it the on-demand connectivity it required to accelerate services to its customers.
These are just a few examples of how on-demand interconnection at the edge is transforming how companies deploy and connect with MEC applications on Platform Equinix. Edge connectivity via Equinix Fabric also includes providing access to Equinix Metal™, an on-demand, high performance Bare Metal as a Service running on Platform Equinix. For example, one of our customers deployed a virtual infrastructure and interconnected with ecosystems of cloud and network service providers using Equinix Metal, Equinix Fabric and Network Edge services, removing the hardware expense of setting up a test environment while speeding the deployment of its proof of concept.
 451 Research, “The Role of Datacenter Services in Multi-Access Edge Computing,” Pathfinder Report, May 2022, Commissioned by Equinix.