Virtualization is now being applied to an increasing range of networking hardware. The functionality of purpose-built network hardware like routers, switches and firewalls is being replaced by network functions virtualization (NFV) architectures that run on commodity servers.
Two of the most powerful technology advancements in the past decade are mobile and cloud computing. Mobile puts more processing and communications capability in your hand than many organizations had in their entire data centers twenty years ago. The cloud efficiently and economically places services, applications and data in widely-distributed—and often remote—locations to meet the needs of market expansion, data sovereignty, new services delivery and optimized processing. Together, mobile and cloud have enabled more of the world to reap the benefits of an increasingly digital economy.
Communications, network and cloud service providers have assumed much of this responsibility and make it easy for enterprises to take advantage of the latest network capabilities. Providers like Equinix play a major role in enabling enterprises to connect globally and manage network resources and interconnection far more efficiently and cost-effectively than ever before.
Cloud technologies have transformed not only the provisioning and delivery of computing services, but also IT business and financial models. Enterprises have delegated management of an ever-increasing amount of their IT infrastructure to cloud service providers, due to the realization of significant capital expenditure (CapEx) savings through the economies of scale delivered by the cloud.
Networking has played a critical role in digital transformation, evolving from now-primitive centralized connections to today’s distributed software-defined networks (SDN). Software-defined networking, an approach to cloud computing, simplifies network management and configuration through programming to improve network performance and monitoring.
We at Equinix — the world’s largest interconnection platform provider — have made some key observations over the past several years, particularly relating to the evolving strategy of deploying wide area network infrastructures. The following provides a narrative for the illustration below, with emphasis on two sharply different methodologies in play from both the past and present.
Individually connecting multiple clouds over traditional wide area networking (WAN) infrastructures is operationally complex and costly, resulting in unreliable cross-cloud application interaction and performance, as well as poor scalability, visibility and control. Also, managing increasing data volumes from the cloud can’t be solved by public internet offloading, since doing so increases latency and risk.
About 47 percent of the global population of 7.6 billion people doesn’t have internet access, as tough as that is for those of us in internet-rich locales to imagine. But companies are working on ways to bridge this digital divide, and systems based on low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites are becoming a big part of the conversation.
Digital transformation is changing how we do business, consume services and interact with the world around us, forcing companies in every industry to redefine business models and customer engagement experiences. Disruptors such as Uber in transportation, Airbnb in hospitality and Amazon in eCommerce tend to get the most attention, but even traditional industries such as financial services, insurance and healthcare are embracing digital technologies to provide more personalized consumer experiences.
Is your data center interconnected? Does it have private interconnectivity with any partner or customer you want to reach across multiple global metros? Can you provide fast, direct and secure access to a cloud or software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider that is not directly located in the same city as your employees? Can you ensure the local security your users require at geographically dispersed data centers? These are the hallmarks of an interconnected data center.