Re-Architecting the Enterprise Data Center

Digital leaders are redefining the data center based on workload and user requirements, creating distributed digital infrastructure beyond their corporate walls

Theo van Andel
Valantis Almasidis
Re-Architecting the Enterprise Data Center

Modern digital businesses have expanded their definition of on-premises beyond the walls of the corporate data center and are moving into third-party colocation and managed services facilities. We see this shift as a result of how companies are re-architecting their data center parameters to best meet the global distributed digital infrastructure requirements of their workloads and users.

Being workload- and user-centric

IT organizations are increasingly sensitive to workload placement and proximity to users, and it is one of the first questions they must consider as part of a modern digital-first strategy. It has been well established that placing data and applications closer to the systems, employees, partners or customers that use them helps drive greater performance. As a result, strategically placed hybrid IT that combines on-premises, cloud and SaaS environments are becoming the norm. According to the Equinix 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey, digital leaders are considering all of these options, with more than half of them moving IT infrastructure to a third-party colocation data center or migrating IT to the digital edge or the cloud. When deciding where to place applications and data, digital leaders are considering not only workload performance objectives, but also network optimization, security, business continuity and cost-reduction goals.

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Optimizing manufacturing operations

When faced with integrating multiple locations with dense cloud and network service provider ecosystems, we see digital leaders using interconnection options to streamline connectivity, optimize multicloud access and efficiently connect regions to more cost-effectively exchange workloads. This is exactly what CELSA Group, a multinational manufacturer of long steel products, did when it decided to integrate its on-premises and cloud digital infrastructures on Platform Equinix®.

Many of CELSA’s manufacturing workloads, such as its SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, were running in the public cloud. However, because of its industrial environment, some workloads needed to stay on-premises. Given this hybrid multicloud architecture, CELSA wanted to connect regional hubs, clouds and users across a high-performance, scalable and resilient network backbone, while reducing costs.

CELSA’s IT organization replaced their existing global MPLS network with dedicated “access to the internet” (DIA) links via Equinix Internet Access. In addition, they connected their regional headquarters to CELSA’s digital infrastructure within Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers over point-to-point (P2P) Level 2 lines. In both cases (internet and P2P), CELSA interconnected its infrastructure using Equinix Fabric™ software-defined interconnection at the edge in Stockholm, London, Paris, Warsaw, Barcelona and Madrid to deliver greater performance to their users for less cost.

Seeing immense improvements, CELSA reduced its network latency by 10x, scaled virtual connectivity and lowered infrastructure costs by 40% through orchestrating SD-WAN connectivity in all sites, including in Equinix data centers. It also greatly improved its application resiliency via geo-redundancy with Equinix Barcelona and London IBX locations serving as business continuity and disaster recovery sites. This modernized network backbone and interconnected digital infrastructure allow CELSA to pursue new projects that were not previously possible, such as creating data hubs for its customers and partners to gain quicker access to metal weight measurements.

Modernizing and scaling healthcare delivery

Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health needed to create a digital infrastructure from its legacy architectures so it could respond more quickly and reliably to market forces and, consequently, handle the dramatic rise in the patient portal and telemedicine visits brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sentara leveraged Platform Equinix and Equinix Fabric to integrate its siloed infrastructure across its 12 hospitals and 300 care centers via a redundant VMware SD-WAN™ by VeloCloud®. By moving 100% of its business operations from on-premises to multiple clouds, Sentara facilitated the fast and secure transfer of patient data to the cloud for data analytics and artificial intelligence. Sentara can now use cloud analytics services and compute instances in the public cloud to run applications that can analyze its data for actionable insights. The successful digital transformation of its network backbone, electronic medical records (EMR) and telehealth platform enabled Sentara to increase from 75 telehealth providers to 2,000, and from 90 patient appointments to 1,400.

Sentara also leveraged its new hybrid multicloud infrastructure to provide direct and secure interconnection to Microsoft Azure for backup and recovery of its large imaging and patient information data sets. As a result of its network modernization, the healthcare company lowered its overall infrastructure costs by up to 60% and increased its network performance by lowering latency from 20 milliseconds (ms) to 4 ms—even with a 500% increase in home interconnectivity to its patient portal over its network.

Accelerating food production and distribution

A global food supplier of multiple brands needed a more agile and modern IT infrastructure to support the on-premises systems and applications that run its food production, distribution and business operations. Its IT organization needed access to the public internet to manage the bandwidth consumption of its global SD-WAN and internet service providers (ISPs), along with application high availability and geo-redundancy.

On Platform Equinix, the company leveraged Equinix Internet Access to provide the network optimization and resiliency required for faster access to Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 for its business operations, secure remote worker VPN access, and interconnection to supply chain partners and customers. It also used Equinix Fabric to interconnect its digital infrastructures in two Equinix IBX data centers in different regions for greater resiliency and Equinix Smart Hands® for 7 x 24 remote support services. As a result, the company’s IT organization deployed and interconnected a new digital infrastructure in weeks rather than months and increased the depth of its IT infrastructure resources and cost efficiency.

This customer is committed to becoming a climate positive company. This means being as efficient as possible with its production supply chain partners. The company saw that Equinix shared similar cultural and environmental values, which factored in its decision to place its digital infrastructure on Platform Equinix.

Regardless of where your systems, applications or users reside, leveraging a globally distributed data center and digital infrastructure platform that increases operational performance, security and performance, while reducing costs, is paramount to ensuring digital business success. Learn more about how to invest in your digital infrastructure by reading the Leaders’ Guide to Digital Infrastructure.


Theo van Andel Field Development Senior Manager
Valantis Almasidis Field Marketing Senior Specialist
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