Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in July 2020. It has been updated to include the latest information.
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses were forced to move their in-person interactions to virtual. Practically overnight, the number of people taking advantage of remote working and collaboration, telemedicine and online education services skyrocketed. Businesses had to find a way to scale their IT infrastructure quickly to keep up with that unprecedented demand.
Now, it’s clear that many of the changes brought on by the pandemic have become permanent. For instance, we know that employees can successfully collaborate and innovate from anywhere—provided employers put the right infrastructure in place to support them. Despite the efforts we’ve seen to enact return-to-office policies, most companies will continue to include remote and hybrid work as part of their hiring and talent retention strategy, as shown by this IDC prediction:
Effectively blurring space and place, by 2025, 65% of G2000 companies will consider online presence to be at parity to ‘in real life’ across their engaged workforce.”
As enterprises seek to scale IT resources and network capacity to support their remote and hybrid workers—and to ensure they’re prepared for any unexpected disruptions they may experience in the future—it’s more important than ever to provision resources on demand through private, secure physical and virtual infrastructure. By interconnecting to key providers and utilizing platform APIs, enterprises can quickly scale network capacity and add the clouds and applications required to future-proof their operations.
Equinix Fabric interconnects your global digital infrastructure
Equinix Fabric® is a software-defined interconnection platform that provides direct, secure and flexible connectivity to service providers, other enterprises and your own infrastructure deployed in different locations.
In this section, we’ll summarize some common use cases for Equinix Fabric.
Scale support for remote workforces in new and existing locations:
- Rapidly deploy applications from our ecosystem of thousands of network, cloud and IT service providers, and cloud-based services such as virtual desktop infrastructure.
- Connect to unified communication and collaboration services such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Dropbox and RingCentral.
- Once connected, seamlessly scale bandwidth up or down and create new connections via the self-service portal or Equinix Fabric APIs.
Improve business productivity and agility through hybrid multicloud connectivity:
- Keep sensitive workloads/data in your private colocation space or on-premises and choose the best cloud for the job for your cloud-based workloads to avoid vendor lock-in.
- Access cost-effective pay-as-you-go services from multiple cloud service providers (CSPs) across the globe without compromising performance, security or compliance.
- Establish private connectivity to clouds for more reliable networking.
Gain reliable business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) capabilities:
- Reach your digital ecosystem partners across multiple metros.
- Increase uptime with geo-redundant connections to multiple cloud and IT service providers.
- Integrate your IT infrastructure in different regions for data replication, backup and recovery.
Connect distributed infrastructure across multiple metros:
- Privately connect to your distributed IT infrastructure at the edge for better performance and security.
- Deploy and interconnect apps closer to end users for improved experience.
- Rapidly scale to collaborate across locations or expand into new regions quickly.
Network Edge helps you deploy virtual network services quickly
Network Edge from Equinix enables you to select, configure and connect virtual network services from industry-leading vendors without requiring additional space, power or hardware. Network Edge is a complementary solution built upon Equinix Fabric, which means that any Network Edge device can connect to any other device or service that connects to Equinix Fabric, virtual or physical, anywhere in the world.
In this section, we’ll summarize some common use cases for Network Edge.
Support applications that span multiple clouds:
- Deploy virtual cloud routers on demand for optimized multicloud connectivity.
- Improve application performance by passing data between clouds quickly.
Expand your reach to the digital edge:
- Connect to clouds in a new metro without deploying hardware or paying upfront CAPEX.
- Establish a presence in the new metro in a matter of minutes.
- Take advantage of a consumption-based billing model for optimized cost-efficiency.
Streamline network integration:
- Grant access to your corporate WAN from new or acquired branch locations, quickly and securely.
- Integrate two networks in minutes, not months.
- Connect via your existing network service providers.
- Route traffic to the cloud across a mix of network connections, based on real-time availability and performance needs.
- Use the most cost-efficient network options for each workflow; bring together branches, data centers and clouds for about one-third the cost of traditional WAN alone.
- Localize and optimize traffic flows for proximity and better app performance.
Virtual network functions on Network Edge
When you need Network Edge and Equinix Fabric together
While each can be helpful with specific use cases, enterprises get the most value from Network Edge and Equinix Fabric by using them both to support hybrid workloads. For instance, Network Edge is a fully virtual solution that’s ideal for customers looking to reduce their dependence on physical hardware—either temporarily as part of a short-term project or permanently. It uses a consumption-based billing model, which is helpful for some workloads but may not be the most cost-effective option for connections with greater than 10 Gbps throughput. In contrast, Equinix Fabric can be attached to both physical and virtual infrastructure and supports bandwidths as high as 50 Gbps, giving customers the higher scalability needed to support high-traffic use cases.
Some customers may choose a combination of virtual Network Edge connectivity alongside physical Equinix Fabric ports. This can help them reduce their CAPEX spend for physical infrastructure without having to go fully virtual. It also allows them to better meet the needs of different locations across their distributed digital infrastructure. For example, they may choose Network Edge for virtual infrastructure in smaller metros, while using physical Equinix Fabric connectivity in larger markets with higher throughput requirements.
The built-in integration between Network Edge and Equinix Fabric can help deliver the best results for many of the use cases described above, and help customers capitalize on the unique value that each solution offers. Use cases where customers could benefit from the integration between Network Edge and Equinix Fabric include:
- Multicloud or cloud-to-cloud routing: Privately connect to and between cloud providers via a Network Edge virtual router and Equinix Fabric for optimized performance, cloud migrations and replication between clouds.
- Connect edge deployments to cloud: Connect your Network Edge virtual router to multiple clouds in one metro, and then set up an Equinix Fabric connection to physical infrastructure colocated in a different metro.
- Fast access to digital ecosystems: Access pre-integrated digital ecosystems of clouds, networks, public internet, WAN providers and digital supply chains. Gain quick, reliable and secure connectivity to cloud-based services such as unified communications and worker productivity platforms.
Learn more about how Equinix Fabric and Network Edge scale access to resources and service providers to support the workplace of the future.
 Amy Loomis, “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Future of Work 2023 Predictions,” IDC Blog, December 7, 2022.