Digital Realty Defies Data Gravity

Mitch Wagner
11/7/2019

Digital Realty is launching a global data center architecture to help enterprises move data anywhere in the world, solving a problem known as "data gravity."

"Data gravity" is the tendency of data to accumulate in place. Terabytes become petabytes and accumulate associated applications and services and soon the aggregate becomes to heavy to move out of an individual data center, which cripples cloud, SD-WAN and edge applications requiring global data mobility.

"We see data gravity as the silent killer of all digital business," Tony Bishop, Digital Realty SVP platform and ecosystem strategy, tells Light Reading.

Digital Realty is defying gravity, today launching PlatformDIGITAL, a uniform architecture for its more than 210 data centers in 36 metros and 15 countries.

PlatformDIGITAL comprises: Network Hub, which consolidates and localizes traffic into ingress/egress points to optimize network performance and cost; Control Hub, for implementing controls for security and IT operations; Data Hub, for localized data aggregation, staging, analytics, streaming and data management to optimize data exchange and maintain data compliance; and Service Exchange (SX) Fabric, adding an SDN overlay to multicloud and business-to-business application ecosystems.


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PlatformDIGITAL provides repeated types of data centers with standardized space, power, cross connect, physical security, cabling and other parameters, Bishop says. It provides multiple footprint types, with each type available in small, medium and large flavors, optimized for artificial intelligence, cloud connectivity, analytics and other applications.

With SX Fabric, Digital Realty plugs its switching infrastructure into the Megaport provisioning engine to virtualize connections to public clouds and between metros, allowing enterprises to pass workflow results from one metro to another around the world, Bishop says. Megaport, in which Digital Realty is part-owner, provides connectivity to major hypercloud providers such as Microsoft, Amazon and Salesforce.

At launch, Digital Realty is partnering with: Cisco, to provide that vendor's NFV, security and orchestration tools; IBM Cloud, to provide blockchain, Watson and dynamic provisioning; and VaporIO, which is providing its SDN controller technology to enable edge computing.

The PlatformDIGITAL launch fallows an announcement last week that Digital Realty plans to buy European data center operator Interxion in a deal reported at $7.15 billion.

PlatformDIGITAL, combined with the Interxion acquisition, will step up Digital Realty's competition with Equinix. "We'll become a platform for consistent, standardized and interconnected experience," says Bishop, who came to Digital Realty from Equinix. "Where you used to come and put a footprint in one of our data centers, you now will be able to put a presence in our platform and our capabilities in a consistent way around the world."

One competitive advantage Digital Realty has over Equinix, claims Bishop, is that Digital Realty can support smaller data centers, 500kw to 1 megawatt.

Equinix, meanwhile, is making its own forays in Europe, launching a joint venture valued at more than $1 billion to build data centers for hypercloud providers.

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