Industry talking to customers What's this? Equinix weaves Canada into global tapestry of interconnectivity Published: November 4th, 2020 By: IT World Canada Bell Canada data center acquisition is more than just about buildingsInterconnectivity was growing exponentially prior to the pandemic, and as endpoints proliferate in the form of remote workers, Equinix wants to better connect Canadian businesses to each other and the rest of the world. Andrew Eppich, Managing Director (Canada), EquinixEquinix is the world’s digital infrastructure company. Digital leaders harness its trusted platform to bring together and interconnect foundational infrastructure that powers their success. The Equinix platform allows customers to access all the right places, with all the right partners to create all the right possibilities to create digital value chains that are agile. Customers interconnect so they can securely and efficiently store and move data to support their business-critical workloads across what is essentially a private Internet. A key component of this infrastructure is more than 225 data centers in 55 cities around the world, including those Equinix recently acquired from Bell Canada along with 600 customers.But the Equinix value proposition is far more than its growing data center footprint, said Andrew Eppich, managing director for Canada at Equinix. “It’s the collaboration and interconnection of a lot of different variable components and parts and how they connect with each other.” These foundational building blocks are expandable and repeatable opportunities that help enterprises move their physical value chains into the digital world securely, he said.Equinix has been doing business in Canada for 10 years, but Eppich said customers were scratching their heads a little because the company was only one city within Canada. Given the country has two official languages and customers who value redundancy and data sovereignty, Equinix needed to take a leap so it could have a presence in five-and-a-half time zones, he said. Especially if it wanted its platform to deliver the same value proposition within Canada that the company aspires to globally.Delivering that value proposition means rearchitecting data centers, said Eppich. The traditional model that began to flourish in the early 2000s can’t keep up with the real-time requirements of data, he said, nor can they handle the massive volumes or security now required on a public internet versus a private interconnection.“All of these different variables conspire simultaneously,” he said. Equinix’s global platform enables digital leaders to build what their businesses need in an elegant way while increasing efficiencies and lowering costs.The sudden shift to remote work has illustrated the gap between leaders and laggards, said Eppich, as the pandemic has pushed the edge out to the user in the home office, which threatens to broaden the digital divide. This means interconnectivity is now also critical for residential users working at home, not just enterprises, as well as smaller businesses looking to do their own digital transformations to survive in the new normal, as revealed by Equinix’s annual market study.Pandemic propels the pace of interconnectivityThe COVID-19 pandemic has already had a dramatic effect on how businesses are planning their digital infrastructure initiatives over the next three years, according to this year’s Global Interconnection Index (GXI.)The GXI forecasts that overall interconnection bandwidth, which is the measure of private connectivity for the transfer of data between organizations, will achieve a 45% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2019 to 2023.Digital transformation was already driving interconnectivity growth as enterprises were extending their digital infrastructure from centralized locations to distributed edge locations, Eppich said. “People are looking for efficiency opportunities to extend their reach into different customers.” Today’s scaling efforts to support real-time interactions by strategically interconnecting workflows closer to and across people, things, locations, cloud and data means capacity of this connectivity is equal to 64 zettabytes of data exchange, he said.The GXI draws its insights by tracking, measuring, and forecasting growth in interconnection bandwidth among a diverse set of partners and providers at distributed IT exchange points inside carrier-neutral colocation data centers. Some of those insights include global macro trends and how the pandemic has impacted certain industry segments. For example, traditional businesses within industries such as banking and insurance, manufacturing, and business and professional services are expected to represent a combined 30% of global interconnection bandwidth by 2023 due to their growing need to move workloads to the digital edge while scaling core IT infrastructure.Among traditional enterprises, healthcare, life sciences, government, and education are expected to lead the traditional enterprises in their interconnection growth rate as public and private initiatives on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are forecasted to drive a combined 47% CAGR in interconnection bandwidth from 2019 to 2023. Overall, said Eppich, all organizations are seeking more efficient and optimal data access and more robust networking strategies. “If you’re not contemplating these things, COVID just makes it 10 times worse.”Interconnectivity means rethinking and re-architecting data centersThis rapid pace of interconnectivity growth means organizations can no longer rely on the traditional architectures of legacy data centers.Because we’re now talking about moving zettabytes, said Eppich, the throughput necessary to move data means the conventional architecture where storage can sit in an Island somewhere isn’t going to provide any value from a real-time workload perspective. Businesses need a hybrid, multi-cloud strategy so that data is pushed to the edge where it’s valuable, he said. “You can’t have this long haul back to a single location. It’s got to be at the edge.”Eppich said the immediacy of data, the volume of data, and the ability to access the data in an efficient way are all conspiring against enterprise digital leaders. They must rethink and re-architect so they can move these workloads over a private, interconnected platform rather than having it traversing the broader, public Internet. Within the Equinix platform there are more than 1,700 network service providers that cover the entire globe to pass those packets of data back and forth, he said. “We can help enterprises that use our data centers and what’s inside them, either virtual or physical, to optimize their value chain.”But Equinix didn’t come to Canada to just buy buildings, said Eppich. “We came to extend a global platform into what we think is a very important region. We’re going to bring the best of Equinix to Canada.” Those buildings are a key part of that goal, as they will be highly interconnected and allow for better efficiencies within the country; but more importantly, they’re part of a platform that’s an on-ramp to rest of the world, new partners and possibilities, he said. “We’re a resource and an exporting nation, so why shouldn’t we be enabling all these enterprises to export digitally?”Equinix will be discussing its plans for its recently acquired Canadian data centers during its Virtual Briefing Experience Thursday, November 12, 1:30–3:00 p.m. ET, as well as technology trends, digital transformation and platform strategy. Click here to reserve your spot.