Edge Cloud - Powering Digital Transformation

Equinix Builds ‘Network Edge’ for Global NFV

This article appeared on Light Reading on Feb 27, 2019

Equinix is launching a global NFV infrastructure as a foundational building block in its strategy to partner with enterprises and service providers in the transition of enterprise workloads to the public cloud.

Equinix has launched its network functions virtualization infrastructure (NFVi) platform in Silicon Valley, California, as well as Washington DC, Amsterdam and London, with plans to bring Singapore and Sydney, Australia, online soon. The initial use cases are virtual router and firewall virtual network functions (VNFs) from Cisco and Juniper, with SD-WAN VNFs in the pipeline from those vendors. Equinix is also working with security vendors Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet and others, Equinix says.

Equinix sees NFV as an extension of its core mission of providing network-to-network connectivity for enterprises, telcos and other communications network service providers, and cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, Jim Poole, Equinix VP of business development, tells Light Reading.

“The value of Equinix lies in positional value,” Poole says. “We sit between networks and the cloud. We create a physical PoP that is a neutral control point between a corporate network and the cloud network.”

The NFVi platform launched in private beta in October, and public beta in December. A limited release will come later this year, with a plan to go into general availability in September, Poole says. Initially, the program will be available to enterprise customers, with general availability to both enterprises and operators in the third quarter.

“The goal is not to replace operators. If you're a big enough enterprise customer — the global 200 — you come directly to us, but we would be just as happy if customers come to us through an operator,” Poole says. Equinix's core enterprise customers are organizations large enough to essentially run their own carrier networks for internal use, and those are the initial users for Network Edge. Later, Equinix hopes to provide point-and-click capabilities that will enable its carrier customers to offer the VNFs as white label services to their own enterprise customers.

Beyond virtualized router, firewall and SD-WAN, Equinix exploring operator-specific VNFs, such as virtual EPC, IMS and MNO core functions. “Ninety percent of all mobile traffic today terminates in a cloud,” Poole says. Equinix sees its position between cloud and operator data centers as ideal for running those kinds of VNFs.

Initially, Equinix is running the VNFs on OpenStack. Poole declined to name the vendor. “We may not stick with them,” he says. Equinix is also considering supporting containerized VNFs with Kubernetes, and bare metal.

In addition to working with enterprises and carriers, Equinix also serves vendors who are transitioning from hardware to recurring services business model. For example, it's providing space, power and interconnect services for Ericsson's Edge Gravity and Nokia Wing Internet of Things orchestration platforms, Poole says. Ericsson and Nokia provide hardware and software.

Equinix sees its interconnection capabilities as a platform enabling it to offer new kinds of services to enterprises, cloud providers, telcos and other communication network providers. For example, Sentara Healthcare provides a customer portal accessible via Amazon Echo smart speakers that connect to both Azure and AWS, with Equinix at the center. Equinix also provides Sentara with access to Microsoft 365, SAP and Salesforce.

– Mitch Wagner, Executive Editor, Light Reading

Edge Cloud - Powering Digital Transformation

Edge Cloud – Powering Digital Transformation

Welcome to our new blog series: Edge Cloud Thought Leadership. This collection of blogs will focus on new technologies and industry leaders in the edge computing market as way to educate a broad IT audience in the future capabilities at the edge.

Mobile World Congress Session – Edge IT: Powering Digital Transformation

Abstract
In a digital age, your business possibilities have no limits and neither should your IT. Your customers, employees and partners are dispersed over more geographic locations, consuming more data, using a multitude of devices and expecting more than ever. Various forces and opportunities are driving this change at the Internet and Telco edge, requiring you to re-architect your infrastructure to answer to this call. To succeed, you need to build your digital infrastructure where it can scale to match your opportunities, and where you tap into ecosystems that will drive and deliver value. Equinix is expanding our global platform for digital business physically and virtually around the world and working with ecosystem partners to enable you to reach everywhere, interconnect everyone and integrate everything. Build and partner here, and you can go anywhere. Please join us for our panel discussion with Ericsson’s Edge Gravity and Haste for an open dialogue about:

  • Disruption at the Edge
  • Forces driving change
  • Ecosystem collaboration for success

The event session is broken down into several videos for faster consumption of information based on interest.

Jim Poole, Equinix

Jim tells the history of Equinix at Ashburn, VA to build a new data center for a proper ecosystem with content providers and ISPs. From there he talks about financial networks and the algorithmic trading services bringing them to a single data center. Equinix currently has 200+ data centers around the world with 300,000+ interconnects.

Alan Evans, EDGE GRAVITY

Alan presents EDGE GRAVITY’s perspective on edge cloud and where the future of edge is between existing public clouds and the end users at the service provider edge. This new infrastructure layer will deliver exceptionally low latency applications for customer consumption in ways we have not yet begun to understand.

Paul Dawes, Mode

Paul discusses Mode’s focus on the enterprise wide area network market using EDGE GRAVITY and Equinix infrastructure. They provide a software defined core that SD-WAN does for the edge of the network.

Panel Discussion

Jim sits with Alan and Paul to discuss various topics in edge cloud, telecommunications, and infrastructure for next generation services.

To see more thought leadership videos from the Global Edge Forum event visit our YouTube playlist: Global Edge Forum 2019.

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