The Cloudification of Colocation

Industry embraces cloud computing as enterprises accelerate advancements

Leading colocation providers want to cloudify the colocation experience. They would equip their data centers with programmable infrastructure in order to enable customers to blend physical and virtual assets across technologies and geographies.

This trend is tied to the rise of cloud computing, which has altered user expectations for how digital infrastructure is delivered. In an as-a-service world, customers expect to provision servers quickly through online services.

They now want colocation to look more like their favorite cloud platform.

That’s a challenge for the colocation industry where customers rent space to house their servers and storage equipment. The colo-sales process typically has focused on hardware and facilities, involving physical tours of spaces and detailed agreements that require executive and legal review. In short, it hasn’t been a point-and-click kind of offering.

The growing adoption of virtualization and cloud computing has enabled users to provision virtual servers in standard configurations. This can be ordered through online interfaces and brought online in hours or minutes.

Enterprise users now are embracing hybrid architectures that combine cloud, colocation and on-premises data centers. Also, they’re seeking tools to manage these IT assets across these locations, do it quickly and with more control over the process.  

That’s why large colo-providers, like Equinix, Cyxtera, Digital Realty and Evoque Data Center Solutions, all have rolled out new strategies to cloudify their offerings, embracing online ordering, software-defined networking (SDN), application programming interfaces (APIs), orchestration tools and DevOps expertise.

Rich Miller, Editor, Data Center Frontier

“Our vision is delivering physical infrastructure at software speed,” said Chief Product Officer of Equinix, Sara Baack. “We see a future where customers can deploy in minutes, on demand and anywhere in the world from an ecosystem of providers. That’s the future we are working to build.”

Some examples of what Equinix’s strategy will look like:

  • Equinix Metal is a bare metal server offering that comes integrated with virtual networking technology to quickly connect users with essential clouds and services.
  • Network Edge provides enterprises with access to its SDN fabric and uses virtual network functions (VNFs) to manage and extend their network infrastructure to on-premises sites.
  • Secure Cabinet Express is a new service that will make the most common cabinet configurations available for online ordering, pre-wired for the SDN fabric.

Digital Realty also intends to be a key player in the cloudification trend. It is developing its own orchestration and fabric connectivity software and working with connectivity partners to create an open fabric of fabrics, which would provide software-powered connections spanning the globe’s major data hubs. Recently, Zayo Networks was announced as Digital’s first partner in the open fabric, with plans for next-generation interconnection and security capabilities.

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