Equinix is bringing its exchange business model and expertise to the cloud market, announcing Wednesday the Equinix Cloud Exchange, which will allow direct, on-demand access to multiple clouds and networks in 13 of its locations around the globe.
The announcement is just the latest indication of how fast the cloud is moving away from pure Internet connections to a hybrid and private-network world. (See Equinix Announces Cloud Exchange.)
Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX) has already been active in the cloud market, offering direct connections to Microsoft's Azure cloud and Amazon Web Services, as well as private network links to Verizon Terremark's cloud services. However, the Equinix Cloud Exchange is a more ambitious move, which ties Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers more tightly into the global cloud ecosystem. (See Equinix, Microsoft Team on Azure Connection and Verizon Connects Cloud With On-Demand WAN.)
For cloud service providers, tying into the Equinix Cloud Exchange enables them to reach across multiple network service providers to enterprises and cloud consumers, as well as managed service providers and systems integrators, making use of large-scale, high-bandwidth, and highly redundant connections, says Sean Iraca, director of cloud and content at Equinix.
"They can access all of that across a single infrastructure, which would allow virtual management through a single portal," Iraca says. "It allows them to run private VLANs [virtual local area networks], all through a single portal and extend their reach globally across multiple network service providers, delivering the same customer experience."
Network service providers benefit by being able to leverage the Equinix API to get dynamic bandwidth-on-demand connections into other networks, enabling scaling of networks that today requires significant development around portal integration, Iraca adds.
Enterprises benefit from being able to access cloud services over higher throughput; and the entire range of cloud users, including IT departments and systems integrators, can use the exchange for faster scaling of their cloud infrastructures in today's hybrid cloud environment.
The service is available in IBX data centers in Silicon Valley, New York, Washington, Toronto, Seattle, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Paris, with six markets to come later this year. The IBX data centers in Silicon Valley, Washington, and London offer the direct connections to AWS and Microsoft Azure.
The last service-specific exchange Equinix launched -- an Ethernet Exchange for direct carrier-to-carrier Ethernet traffic -- did not attract carriers as expected, Iraca concedes, but neither did its competitors in that space. This exchange gets back to the Equinix roots of connecting many different networks and users, much like its original Internet exchange and its financial and advertising exchanges.
"If you look at the ecosystem within these facilities, it includes 750-plus networks and 450 cloud providers all within our facilities, so it is natural for us to start to alleviate that challenge or that burden around those services," says Iraca. "Leveraging this new cloud exchange, we are simplifying and lowering that barrier to entry for these respective parties."
Equinix is poised for the Cloud Exchange to take off, in terms of being able to scale up both its infrastructure and its staffing, according to Iraca. In addition, the company is already moving to standardize on the operations side, to enable support of multiple clouds without massive customization.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading