Equinix, Oracle Advance Hybrid Connectivity

Global co-location powerhouse Equinix expanded connectivity to Oracle's second-generation cloud centers this week from its American and European facilities, enabling some of the largest enterprise customers to tap advanced Oracle services.

Equinix, which offers network neutral connectivity around the world, introduced Oracle's FastConnect service across 16 of its IBX data centers in North America and Europe by leveraging the interconnectivity provided by its Equinix Cloud Exchange.

FastConnect establishes private, high-speed links to Oracle's Gen2 cloud regions, where services like bare-metal compute and bare-metal database are available. Some Equinix facilities already had deployed Oracle FastConnect Classic, which only connects to Oracle regions without those latest cloud services.

[Related: Verizon, Equinix Promote Hybrid IT By Putting Data Center, Network And Security Services On One Menu]

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The expansion of FastConnect is important to enterprises since Oracle's Gen1 data centers, or its "classic cloud," already are considered legacy technology among Oracle's partners, Abdul Sheikh, CTO of New York-based Oracle partner Cintra, told CRN.

"The bare-metal, or Gen2, is definitely where all of our focus and momentum is right now," Sheikh said. "So customers seeing the maturity of Equinix products into that space is an absolute must. Until that box is checked it’s a bit of a barrier."

Robert Blackburn, Equinix's global managing director for Oracle strategic alliances, told CRNFastConnect is "necessary to achieve consistent network performance and the throughput you need to run heavy-duty enterprise workloads."

Oracle's dedicated connection service delivers the consistent performance for production-grade hybrid environments, he said.

Washington, D.C, previously was the only one of Equinix's IBX data centers in North America to offer FastConnect. Now eight others—Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Silicon Valley and Toronto—can access that facility, through the cloud exchange, as a gateway to Oracle.

Equinix also deployed Oracle's technology in Frankfurt, and made it possible for several European IBX facilities to connect through there, via the exchange, directly to Oracle's advanced cloud regions.

Equinix is looking to build the relationship with its neighbor in Redwood City, Calif., because of Oracle's focus on helping a large base of enterprise customers transform their infrastructure to embrace cloud, Blackburn told CRN.

"We have a similar mission," he said. "Enterprise is our fastest-growing customer segment. We're enabling the interconnection to the cloud, helping customers optimize and manage their network so they can achieve that with their cloud provider of choice. And we can do that because we're the leading interconnection partner for those major services providers."

A channel program Equinix introduced in 2015 is seeing a growing base of systems integrators, many of which overlap with the Oracle PartnerNetwork, Blackburn said.

Those partners are "cloud-ready and can provide recurring services as well as integration capabilities that customers need," he told CRN.

Oracle's cloud business has been taking off. A late entrant into the public cloud arena, Oracle is leveraging its install base, technical aptitude and financial resources to catch up to Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service providers that have been on the market longer. The bare-metal offerings in its Gen2 cloud are a key component of that strategy.

Cintra's Sheikh said big companies are looking to modernize IT infrastructure by leveraging hybrid resources.

Cintra sees Equinix as a key enabler of those strategies through the locality delivered by its industry-leading footprint of more than 175 data centers, and the unparalleled connectivity built into those facilities that allows customers to avoid traversing the public internet, and suffering latency as a result.

The ability to build a private cloud in an Equinix environment that is "already hard-wired into all of the public clouds" solves a major problem for many large enterprises, Sheikh said. "That effectively mitigates the risk of user-experience deterioration in going to the public cloud."

Equinix delivers a credible multi-cloud story to customers. They can optimize private clouds for everything they're not comfortable putting in a public cloud, then provision analytics from Google, e-commerce from Amazon Web Services, deploy Oracle workloads on Oracle infrastructure, or Windows workloads on Microsoft Azure.

"That resonates with our customers," Sheikh said. "The right mix of clouds and on-prem modernized data center strategies."