Enterprises around the world are investing in digital transformation, empowering themselves to be more responsive to the demands of end users everywhere. One crucial factor driving this trend is the growth of digital ecosystems, which allow business partners to exchange data and services with one another, thereby unlocking new capabilities and co-innovation opportunities.
The Global Interconnection Index (GXI) 2023, an annual market study published by Equinix, shows how the distinction between digital service providers and traditional enterprises is growing increasingly blurry. In fact, the GXI predicts that by 2025, 90% of Fortune 500 companies will be both consuming digital services and selling them to their own customers. It’s no wonder we like to say that when it comes to digital transformation, your ecosystem is now your infrastructure.
A few weeks ago, we hosted Equinix Accelerate, our premier customer education event. In recognition of the increasingly important role digital services play in the modern business landscape, we took the opportunity to highlight three digital services use cases that can help enterprises deploy optimized digital infrastructure for a world defined by complexity and constant change.
Break through hybrid multicloud networking bottlenecks
The growth of public cloud is helping drive the shift from traditional IT to digital services. According to the GXI, the interconnection bandwidth consumed by cloud and IT service providers will increase at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36%. This shows that the volume of data enterprise customers exchange with their cloud providers will increase significantly in the years to come. In turn, this underscores the fact that enterprises need simple, reliable ways to move that data back and forth to the cloud.
This is where hybrid multicloud networking comes in. In short, hybrid multicloud involves setting multiple connections between the on-premises environment and the different cloud providers, allowing the enterprise to move data sets where they’re needed to support specific applications or workloads. It’s no secret that hybrid multicloud networking is hard, and the shift toward cloud-centric infrastructure certainly won’t make it any easier.
An effective architecture for hybrid multicloud networking allows enterprises to migrate applications and data sets to the cloud with speed and flexibility. In addition, enterprises need to reduce multicloud risk and complexity by avoiding vendor lock-in and maintaining centralized control over their various cloud connections. They must do this in order to avoid high costs, ensure high availability via redundant services, and take advantage of best-of-breed offerings from multiple cloud providers. Finally, applications need low latency and guaranteed availability in order to function properly; for this reason, enterprises need direct access to multiple cloud providers in different regions throughout the world.
Equinix Fabric helps reduce hybrid multicloud complexity
To help our customers simplify and streamline their multicloud access, we created Equinix Fabric™, our software-defined interconnection service. Our intuitive web portal provides “a single pane of glass” to manage virtual connections with all the cloud providers you work with. As your cloud needs change, it’s quick and cost-effective to change your connections accordingly. Equinix Fabric is available in many different Equinix IBX® colocation data centers around the world, so it’s easy to tap into cloud on-ramps from top providers when and where you need them.
Simplify your SD-WAN strategy
Another logical outcome of the “cloudification” of IT is that many enterprises are looking to replace MPLS with SD-WAN technology for greater visibility, scalability and security. However, there’s a clear disconnect between recognizing the potential benefits of SD-WAN and actually achieving them. In a recent survey, 43% of organizations said they have an SD-WAN strategy, but don’t know when they’ll deploy it. In contrast, only 26% said they’ve already deployed SD-WAN.
When attempting to make the transition, many enterprises find it challenging to design a global SD-WAN architecture they can implement quickly and cost-effectively. In addition, they often struggle to integrate their new SD-WAN architecture into their legacy infrastructure without causing disruption or security issues in the process.
Equinix offers solutions to simplify SD-WAN deployment in a way that optimizes speed, cost-efficiency, reach and integration. Network Edge from Equinix offers virtual network functions from a variety of top providers, including SD-WAN devices. Enterprises can simply select a device from the vendor of their choice, deploy it on Platform Equinix® to reach all the global locations that matter to their business, and then interconnect it to their ecosystem of cloud and IT service providers. The whole process can happen in a matter of minutes, and isn’t impacted by physical hardware shortages. In addition, the shift to OPEX allows enterprises to deploy SD-WAN and other network services at a predictable cost.
Network Edge devices support simplified branch-to-cloud SD-WAN
Cloud adjacency provides a smarter way to tap into cloud services
3 use cases for digital services:
1. Hybrid multicloud networking
3. Cloud-adjacent data"
We discussed earlier how to reduce hybrid multicloud complexity with software-defined interconnection, but that still leaves the question of where data should be stored when it isn’t moving to cloud. Storing data in the cloud is a non-starter, as it can create higher costs that will grow as data gravity grows. Instead, many digital leaders are learning that building an authoritative data core can help them take a cloud-adjacent approach. This means they can move data into the cloud as needed to support specific applications and workloads, without having to store it there over the long term.
An authoritative data core is made up of a series of interconnected cloud regions that are strategically located based on your business requirements. It allows you to aggregate data from across your global business footprint, while also maintaining authoritative copies of all your data sets in one environment. As a result, you can move any data set into any cloud without risking vendor lock-in.
By deploying your authoritative data core on Platform Equinix, you can use several of our digital services to enable your cloud-adjacent infrastructure. Equinix Fabric and Network Edge can serve as the upstream layer that connects the authoritative data core to multiple clouds and the downstream layer that connects the authoritative data core to the digital edge.
An authoritative data core moves data sets from edge to cloud using digital services
Cloud-adjacent infrastructure allows businesses to get the most out of cloud processing and flexibility without the higher costs of cloud data storage. Equinix offers virtualized, on-demand private infrastructure in the form of Equinix Metal®, our bare metal infrastructure service. This allows you to collect data from IoT devices and other sources and move it up into the authoritative data core, where it can then be moved into the cloud as needed. Equinix Metal can also help you move data from the core down to the far edge, where it can be used to support digital applications in regional locations.
Get more from your digital services
At Equinix, we’re dedicated to helping our customers simplify complexity and get the most value possible from their digital services. To get a closer look at how we’re doing this, view the session replays from the Equinix Accelerate event:
- Multicloud Networking: Rethinking Your Network Architecture for Cloud Deployments
- SD-WAN: Extend your SD-WAN to the Cloud
- To the Data Center and Beyond: How Cloud Adjacent Solutions Reduce Network Complexity
In addition, we invite you to contact us to schedule a digital strategy briefing. You’ll meet with an Equinix expert to analyze your business’ strategic objectives and create a digital strategy to help achieve those outcomes.
 Interconnection bandwidth is a measure, calculated in bits/sec, of the capacity provisioned to privately and directly exchange traffic between two parties, inside carrier-neutral colocation data centers.
 Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a form of exponential growth, measuring a quantity over multiple years. The GXI calculates the compound annual growth rate over a five-year period. CAGR is not a linear growth rate, and takes into account the annual increased speed of growth in addition to the amount of growth.
 Pulse QA Equinix quick poll, posted September 2022
...there’s a clear disconnect between recognizing the potential benefits of SD-WAN and actually achieving them."
...many digital leaders are learning that building an authoritative data core can help them take a cloud-adjacent approach."