Equinix Introduces On-Demand Software-Defined Networking Across Its Global Data Center Network

Equinix, the world's largest data center operator, has introduced major physical and virtual upgrades across its global network to enable enterprises to quickly establish secure connections to their customers and cloud providers.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based colocation giant specializing in network-neutral connectivity evolved the capabilities of an interconnection platform that links almost 200 data centers to each other, and to services providers that participate in its Equinix Cloud Exchange, James Staten, global head of market development at Equinix, told CRN.

"This allows customers to start with a single port connection in an Equinix cabinet, then fire up connections to everyone and anyone they do business with," Staten told CRN.

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Select Equinix data centers—called International Business Exchanges (IBX)—offer the Equinix Cloud Exchange, a service launched in 2014 that has steadily added direct links to most of the world's leading cloud providers. Equinix also delivers connectivity via the Equinix Internet Exchange, a direct peering service between many of its facilities.

The company has consolidated and rebranded both those services as Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric, reflecting the software-defined networking capabilities it is introducing at a global scale.

The Fabric incorporates virtual networking technology from Cisco that empowers customers to describe and immediately deploy new networks leveraging the infrastructure of providers that peer in Equinix facilities. Those on-demand virtual connections are available to businesses locating IT resources in any IBX center.

A new interface enables connections between enterprise customers, their business partners, and their services providers to take on the characteristics of "as-a-service" software deployment models, he said.

Once fully implemented, all Equinix facilities will connect through Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric to hyper-scale cloud infrastructure providers like Amazon, Microsoft and Oracle, and leading Software-as-a-Service companies like Salesforce, SAP and ServiceNow.

"Anything and everything you want to connect, you now can," Staten said of the carrier- and cloud-neutral services.

The self-service aspect, he said, adds more benefit to customers.

"You can do it in five minutes and its pay-for-use," Staten said.

D.R. Carlson, vice president of sales and strategic partnerships at Neovera, a managed cloud services company based in Reston, Va., said his company would be working with Equinix to deliver enhanced network solutions to enterprises looking for end-to-end managed IT services without deployment hurdles.

"As we continue to build out complex hybrid managed services and offer new feature sets to help our customers connect and extend to more markets, the integration of Equinix’s global platform uniquely allows us to accelerate our value to clients," Carlson said.