Optimally placed edge infrastructure will power 5G: Jeremy Deutsch, Equinix

Jeremy Deutsch, President, Equinix Asia-Pacific, on why interconnection-first architectures, sustainability metrics, the advent of 5G, multi-cloud needs and edge computing are having a pronounced impact on the data centre space. Excerpts from an interview with Pratima Harigunani.

How much has the data centre industry changed over the last decade?

The rapid growth of the digital economy has driven increasing demand for interconnection, edge services and hyper-scale development. In order to overcome legacy IT constraints on digital transformation, enterprises want to build interconnection-first architectures – deployment of IT traffic exchange points that integrate direct, private connections between counterparties. Furthermore, many global businesses have implemented work-from-home policies and enabled their employees to work remotely under the pandemic, causing traffic to shift from corporate networks to their homes. Given the dynamically changing environment, businesses need the ability to quickly ramp up – adding new locations, connections and applications – for business continuity and digital resilience. Businesses need to continue assessing their situational risks/needs, evaluating business continuity options and scenario planning.

Does your company’s portfolio echo this evolution?

To support leading businesses around the globe in the increasingly digital world, we have transformed Equinix into the world’s digital infrastructure company by not only expanding our global footprint but also enhancing our interconnection and edge service portfolio. We are giving digital leaders one global platform to scale, interconnecting their digital infrastructure for optimal performance, speed and flexibility so they can move fast, get to market first and pivot quickly when customer needs and market conditions change.

Which areas represent these important changes the most?

Organisations have realised that what they need today is not just a place to store data, but a vendor-neutral platform that allows them to interconnect and succeed in the digital era. Such interconnection is essential to business success in this new era of the digital economy. Today, geographically dispersed customers and employees are processing more data than ever, and existing IT architectures will not be able to keep up. To succeed, companies must re-architect IT infrastructures out to the digital edge, where they are close to the users in distributed locations around the world. Also, we are seeing organisations increasingly look at multiple cloud providers as certain workloads may run better on one cloud than another. Many organisations do not have the processes and/or resources in place internally to manage hybrid multi-cloud computing and look at interconnection and multi-cloud access as a way to bring various silos of computing together to be more competitive.

In today’s dynamic environment, customers are assessing their situational risks and needs, evaluating business continuity options and scenario planning. As part of this, they are looking at adding supplemental capacity to meet new needs especially in support of distributed remote workforce (VPN, Unified Communications) and for business continuity purposes.

How crucial are forces like IoT and ever-escalating data requirements in redefining data centres?

New technologies like 5G, edge computing and IoT rely on real-time processing and use huge amounts of data that depend on cloud computing. These data-dense technologies will drive the need for data centres because they offer more scalable and cost-effective cloud computing. Successful IoT initiatives rely heavily on interconnection, requiring digital infrastructures that can physically link dispersed sensors, devices and machines that make up public systems, services and experiences, so they can exchange information in real-time. IoT deployments can involve interactions between more than a dozen players across a single or even multiple ecosystems. Making these complex IoT ecosystems work together intelligently requires a foundation of direct and secure interconnection that can deliver the performance, scalability and security required to build a smarter world.

“Organisations realise they need not just a place to store data, but a vendor-neutral platform that allows them to interconnect and succeed in digital era.”

What are the key challenges, then, we see today and how are you addressing them?

The enterprise digital estate is fast morphing into a hybrid combination of public and private clouds; physical and virtual deployments. Most enterprises looking to support their future business applications will need to deploy a hybrid digital infrastructure with the majority of new applications being deployed to the cloud, and legacy applications being cloud-enabled. There is a huge requirement for cloud-to-cloud interaction and sharing of data which is not best served by each-and-every cloud holding copies of the same data. Not only can that lead to prohibitive storage costs, but data ownership and integrity issues can arise. Private storage outside but adjacent to the clouds, which need that data is a cost effective, compliant and high-performance option.

Equinix enables businesses to deploy digital infrastructure in strategic interconnection hubs on a globally trusted platform. Adjacent to a rich network and cloud ecosystems, digital leaders can leverage dedicated, private connectivity to ecosystem partners and fast-track agility to offer differentiated experiences. With Equinix’s digital infrastructure businesses can modernise IT systems with multi-cloud capabilities, scale with cloud adjacent data to optimise application performance, and build new digital capabilities with access to a choice of SaaS and business partners.

Is environmental responsibility a big concern too? How are you moving forward on this path?

We are committed to preserving our collective future by taking responsibility for our share of carbon emissions and advancing a bold sustainability agenda across our business. We are leveraging our position as a large corporate buyer of energy by partnering with like-minded companies to advance low-carbon policies, sharing renewable energy buying knowledge and encouraging innovation to drive change. We are pioneering green data centre design innovations and building and operating resilient, efficient and sustainable data centres around the world.

Where possible, Equinix leverages water recovery systems, rainwater capture and greywater recycling to reduce water consumption within our data centres. Looking ahead, we are evaluating methods to reduce the embodied carbon in our building materials for our new data centres. In our recently launched Co-Innovation Facility (CIF), we work with innovative partners to pilot and showcase advanced power, cooling and control methodologies for use in our future data centres.

Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres feature advanced design, security, power and cooling elements to provide customers with industry-leading reliability, including an average uptime of 99.999% globally in 2020. As of December 31, 2020, all our IBX data centres are equipped with UPS power, backup systems and N+1 (or greater) redundancy.

What trends will emerge or be cemented as we step forward?

How much has the data centre industry changed over the last decade?

The rapid growth of the digital economy has driven increasing demand for interconnection, edge services and hyper-scale development. In order to overcome legacy IT constraints on digital transformation, enterprises want to build interconnection-first architectures – deployment of IT traffic exchange points that integrate direct, private connections between counterparties. Furthermore, many global businesses have implemented work-from-home policies and enabled their employees to work remotely under the pandemic, causing traffic to shift from corporate networks to their homes. Given the dynamically changing environment, businesses need the ability to quickly ramp up – adding new locations, connections and applications – for business continuity and digital resilience. Businesses need to continue assessing their situational risks/needs, evaluating business continuity options and scenario planning.

“The enterprise digital estate is fast morphing into a hybrid combination of public and private clouds; physical and virtual deployments.”

Does your company’s portfolio echo this evolution?

To support leading businesses around the globe in the increasingly digital world, we have transformed Equinix into the world’s digital infrastructure company by not only expanding our global footprint but also enhancing our interconnection and edge service portfolio. We are giving digital leaders one global platform to scale, interconnecting their digital infrastructure for optimal performance, speed and flexibility so they can move fast, get to market first and pivot quickly when customer needs and market conditions change.

Which areas represent these important changes the most?

Organisations have realised that what they need today is not just a place to store data, but a vendor-neutral platform that allows them to interconnect and succeed in the digital era. Such interconnection is essential to business success in this new era of the digital economy. Today, geographically dispersed customers and employees are processing more data than ever, and existing IT architectures will not be able to keep up. To succeed, companies must re-architect IT infrastructures out to the digital edge, where they are close to the users in distributed locations around the world. Also, we are seeing organisations increasingly look at multiple cloud providers as certain workloads may run better on one cloud than another. Many organisations do not have the processes and/or resources in place internally to manage hybrid multi-cloud computing and look at interconnection and multi-cloud access as a way to bring various silos of computing together to be more competitive.

In today’s dynamic environment, customers are assessing their situational risks and needs, evaluating business continuity options and scenario planning. As part of this, they are looking at adding supplemental capacity to meet new needs especially in support of distributed remote workforce (VPN, Unified Communications) and for business continuity purposes.

How crucial are forces like IoT and ever-escalating data requirements in redefining data centres?

New technologies like 5G, edge computing and IoT rely on real-time processing and use huge amounts of data that depend on cloud computing. These data-dense technologies will drive the need for data centres because they offer more scalable and cost-effective cloud computing. Successful IoT initiatives rely heavily on interconnection, requiring digital infrastructures that can physically link dispersed sensors, devices and machines that make up public systems, services and experiences, so they can exchange information in real-time. IoT deployments can involve interactions between more than a dozen players across a single or even multiple ecosystems. Making these complex IoT ecosystems work together intelligently requires a foundation of direct and secure interconnection that can deliver the performance, scalability and security required to build a smarter world.

What are the key challenges, then, we see today and how are you addressing them?

The enterprise digital estate is fast morphing into a hybrid combination of public and private clouds; physical and virtual deployments. Most enterprises looking to support their future business applications will need to deploy a hybrid digital infrastructure with the majority of new applications being deployed to the cloud, and legacy applications being cloud-enabled. There is a huge requirement for cloud-to-cloud interaction and sharing of data which is not best served by each-and-every cloud holding copies of the same data. Not only can that lead to prohibitive storage costs, but data ownership and integrity issues can arise. Private storage outside but adjacent to the clouds, which need that data is a cost-effective, compliant and high-performance option.

Equinix enables businesses to deploy digital infrastructure in strategic interconnection hubs on a globally trusted platform. Adjacent to a rich network and cloud ecosystems, digital leaders can leverage dedicated, private connectivity to ecosystem partners and fast-track agility to offer differentiated experiences. With Equinix’s digital infrastructure businesses can modernise IT systems with multi-cloud capabilities, scale with cloud adjacent data to optimise application performance, and build new digital capabilities with access to a choice of SaaS and business partners.

Is environmental responsibility a big concern too? How are you moving forward on this path?

We are committed to preserving our collective future by taking responsibility for our share of carbon emissions and advancing a bold sustainability agenda across our business. We are leveraging our position as a large corporate buyer of energy by partnering with like-minded companies to advance low-carbon policies, sharing renewable energy buying knowledge and encouraging innovation to drive change. We are pioneering green data centre design innovations and building and operating resilient, efficient and sustainable data centres around the world.

Where possible, Equinix leverages water recovery systems, rainwater capture and greywater recycling to reduce water consumption within our data centres. Looking ahead, we are evaluating methods to reduce the embodied carbon in our building materials for our new data centres. In our recently launched Co-Innovation Facility (CIF), we work with innovative partners to pilot and showcase advanced power, cooling and control methodologies for use in our future data centres.

Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres feature advanced design, security, power and cooling elements to provide customers with industry-leading reliability, including an average uptime of 99.999% globally in 2020. As of December 31, 2020, all our IBX data centres are equipped with UPS power, backup systems and N+1 (or greater) redundancy.

“Private storage outside but adjacent to the clouds which need that data is a cost effective, compliant and high-performance option.”

What trends will emerge or be cemented as we step forward?

The circumstances we experienced in 2020 have accelerated years’ worth of digital transformation in a matter of months, bringing a profound and sustained impact to how we live and work. Some of the significant trends we are witnessing right now span three key areas. First, cloud-native infrastructure will dominate. Second, the edge-first paradigm will fuel innovation. The modern applications of today are increasingly architected from the ground up for automated and elastic deployment at the edge. There, vast amounts of data originating from multiple sources must be processed quickly. Finally, optimally placed edge infrastructure will power 5G. Enterprises will begin to consider 5G in their infrastructure deployment planning. High-performance 5G capabilities require physical infrastructure that optimally extends into the edge. By placing applications and ‘fixed-end IT environments proximate to 5G access and core functions in cloud-adjacent, richly interconnected data centres, enterprises can reap the benefits of this powerful new technology.

By Pratima Harigunani

maildqindia@cybermedia.co.in

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