Digital transformation requires evolving three primary components of your digital infrastructure: the digital core, digital ecosystems and digital edge. The network is the foundation of the digital core, tasked with interconnecting your business infrastructure to key partners, service providers and end users distributed around the world. Traditional centralized IT infrastructures simply weren’t built for the connectivity needs of today’s digital enterprises. By its nature, a centralized infrastructure design is commonly susceptible to increased latency and network complexity—and can’t provide the flexibility that distributed businesses need. On the other hand, an architecture designed around the idea of interconnection delivers greater speed, scalability, choice, reliability and efficiency.
Many organizations are realizing the need to modernize their networks to keep up with the requirements of business today and in the future. Network modernization is therefore a pillar of transforming the digital core and a frequent jumping-off point for digital transformation. Network modernization involves establishing localized hubs to maximize efficient traffic flows in the locations closest to the highest concentration of your partners and providers. By localizing traffic, network modernization helps you optimize network performance flexibility so you can take advantage of digital ecosystems.
Network modernization is also evolving as more capable technologies and offerings enter the market—things like virtual network functions (VNF), SD-WAN and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). As we move toward the future of network modernization, organizations will increasingly face pressure to advance their networks to meet changing requirements. Issues like remote work and economic and geopolitical uncertainty demand greater infrastructure flexibility. As the use of streamed content, web applications and mobile devices expands, demands on the network will increase, and the market will respond with offerings that address these needs. Companies have the opportunity to modernize their networks to prepare for this future and take advantage of the latest solutions that enable their growth and innovation.
Why network modernization is now a business imperative
At the speed of today’s business, organizations can’t afford performance-related delays. It can impact operational costs, customer experience and your bottom line.
If you’re not yet convinced of the need to modernize your network, consider some of the benefits it can deliver:
- Lower latency: 45% average latency reduction
- Reduced costs: 60% transport cost reduction
- Better market access: Over 5x improved market access
As companies work to build more agile networks to future-proof their business, a few network modernization use cases are becoming common, such as SD-WAN and hybrid multicloud networking. The digital core is the very place where digital leaders begin to transform their networks by interconnecting their traditional infrastructure with network, communication, security and cloud providers that are part of their ecosystem.
Let’s take a glance at these use cases.
SD-WAN optimization to increase network agility
Many organizations already use SD-WAN or are in the process of implementing an SD-WAN strategy to support distributed architectures and edge computing. SD-WAN is appealing because it delivers clear benefits for modern multicloud infrastructures, including better network efficiency as well as greater visibility, scalability, flexibility, transport cost reductions and improved security. SD-WAN boosts network agility by enabling you to adjust your network as requirements change. Implementing and further optimizing SD-WAN is a key aspect of network modernization for many companies today—and you can deploy its key structural components through a colocation facility, bare metal or as a VNF.
Organizations that have already implemented SD-WAN are now evolving their SD-WAN to integrate security in a SASE model. SASE is an emerging architecture concept where significant revenue growth is expected in 2023, so clearly organizations are taking it seriously as they evolve their networks for the future.
Hybrid multicloud networking for fast, secure connection to cloud providers
Companies now commonly use multiple cloud environments to leverage the unique strengths of each. In the Equinix Global Interconnection Index (GXI) 2023 report, Equinix predicts that by 2026, 80% of G2000 companies will be interconnecting with 4+ hyperscale providers and 30+ SaaS providers and business partners, on average.
Managing cloud access—and more specifically, multicloud networking—has become a big challenge for companies operating hybrid multicloud environments. They need to be able to quickly and easily connect to applications and data stored in data centers and with cloud providers, while balancing performance, costs and security. Some businesses have spent huge sums of money on data egress fees from their clouds and unnecessarily waste their own network bandwidth because they don’t handle routing and security at the edge, right between the cloud environments.
According to the Equinix GXI report, by 2026, 80% of G2000 companies will be interconnecting with 4+ hyperscale providers and 30+ SaaS providers and business partners, on average."
One way to address these challenges is to deploy purpose-built private infrastructure at the edge to securely connect between clouds, networks, partners and your own infrastructure. Companies are also deploying VNFs like routers, firewalls and more at the edge to facilitate multicloud routing and increase security and control.
The next innovation of multicloud networking will automate multicloud networking for users, providing a common control interface, repeatable designs and more to help manage connectivity between diverse cloud environments.
A trusted platform to support your network modernization journey
Wherever your company is with your network modernization, working with a platform that positions you for future success is critically important—perhaps the most vital decision you’ll make. Effective network modernization necessitates fast, simple access to all the right partners in all the right places. As you evaluate your options, look for a platform with global reach, flexible infrastructure choices, a robust ecosystem of partners and digital services to accelerate your deployments.
More than 50% of the Fortune 500 have leveraged Platform Equinix for their digital-first strategies, according to the Leaders’ Guide to Digital Infrastructure."
Platform Equinix® offers a range of solutions to support the modernization of your network. We’re always looking toward the future, and we have a stellar track record of delivering solutions to power the world’s leaders—through our own portfolio, our partner network and the wider ecosystems available on Platform Equinix. In fact, more than 50% of the Fortune 500 have leveraged Platform Equinix for their digital-first strategies.
What does Equinix deliver?
- The reach to launch digital infrastructure globally: You won’t find another partner that’s already present where you want to be in terms of global locations. Equinix is in 71 markets in 32 countries and counting.
- The ecosystems to multiply value: Platform Equinix connects you to a vast ecosystem of partners and providers that’s continually evolving to meet the needs of our customers. Today, there are more than 3,000 cloud and IT service providers, as well as 2,000 network service providers in our ecosystem.
- Flexible infrastructure choices: Every organization’s needs are different, and your infrastructure requirements change over time, so flexibility matters. With Platform Equinix, you can access colocation as well as on-demand digital infrastructure services. You can order space, power and cooling and set up your own infrastructure, or use our digital services for ready-to-consume solutions.
- Digital services to consume network infrastructure on demand: Equinix digital services, including Equinix Fabric® software-defined interconnection, Network Edge VNF automation and Equinix Metal® Bare Metal as a Service (BMaaS) help companies solve network modernization challenges through instant, online configurable services.
- The highest standards of sustainability: Equinix uses 95% renewable energy today and is aiming for 100% by 2030. So, you can solve for network modernization while addressing your environmental targets.
Taking the next step to modernize your network
As you plan for the future of your business, you need a network that supersedes traditional technology limitations and enables innovation. There’s more than one path to network modernization, and your next step should be tailored to the present and future needs of your business. Whether you’re implementing SD-WAN for the first time, adopting a SASE approach, expanding your edge infrastructure or taking steps to improve multicloud networking, network modernization is an important investment in your future success.
Learn more about interconnecting the digital core and accelerating digital transformation in the Leaders’ Guide to Digital Infrastructure.