Equinix today announced new functionality for its Equinix Cloud Exchange, using APIs to eliminate the need for provisioning separate cross-connects in order to add cloud access. In addition, Equinix added IBM SoftLayer cloud services to its Cloud Exchange, thus completing its portfolio of major hyper-scale cloud service providers to the exchange, which offers direct access to cloud services to enterprises. (See Equinix Cloud Exchange Adds SoftLayer, APIs.)
The Equinix Cloud Exchange already offered direct access to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google cloud services in the nine markets in which it is available in Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX) data centers. The exchange will now be able to offer direct access to IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) SoftLayer's business-specific applications.
The new application programming interface (API) access means service providers can offer a single interface to the Equinix exchange for private, secure and on-demand connections to cloud services without requiring a cross-connect to be established, so that provisioning is much faster. (See Google Teams With Carriers for Cloud Interconnect, Cloud Exchange Gathering Steam and Equinix Brings Exchange Model to Cloud.)
"That allows different types of hybrid cloud architecture," says Chris Sharp, VP of cloud innovation for Equinix. "The real-time provisioning via our APIs is a different way for customers inside of Equinix to consume these cloud services from SoftLayer. It is not the traditional type of cross-connect -- it's a direct link capability."
As the industry has generally moved toward hybrid cloud architectures -- which allow enterprises to not only use different clouds for different workloads, but also combine public and private clouds and on-premises compute resources -- Equinix is aiming for a more flexible delivery platform that reaches a wide range of cloud service providers, Sharp adds.
Today, Equinix is connected via Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) links -- including the former tw telecom network -- as well as Orange (NYSE: FTE) and Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), but that network service portfolio is expected to grow in 2015, Sharp says. The real-time provisioning aspect, without the traditional cross-connect, is expected to have particular appeal. (See Telefónica Offers Secure Line to Equinix Cloud Exchange.)
"We are building out that ecosystem of key partners, and that will drive a lot more utilization across the platform," Sharp says. "In the past, some of the services from service providers were beholden to the provisioning of cross-connects, which stops the overall automated approach and can slow down the entire process. With the cloud exchange, we remove that barrier to provisioning [in] real-time."
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading