Equinix: A Private Connection to the Public Cloud


November 8, 2015

The public cloud has been a point of concern and skepticism for some IT directors. The potential of leveraging the vast infrastructure and capabilities of organizations like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and other hyperscalers is enticing, but the public cloud model has always seemed to have two distinct drawbacks.


Two Public Cloud Concerns

  • Data Transfer Billing: First, the pricing model is on a per use or bandwidth basis. Instead of a monthly subscription, a company is billed every time they pull data out of the cloud. A company can put all the data they want into AWS, Azure, or similar platforms, but retrieving their data costs money. This model makes the overall cost very high and extremely unpredictable.
  • Data Sovereignty: The second concern relates to data sovereignty—where the data is actually located. In the public cloud model, a customer’s data exists somewhere in the cloud provider’s data center. The provider is in control of where the data lives, and while they may not necessarily own the data, they are certainly in possession of it. This becomes problematic if a company ever wants to change providers. For instance, migrating that data from one cloud to another costs money because moving it incurs the same charge as accessing it. Furthermore, migration must occur over the standard internet network, so speed becomes an issue. Transferring data could take hours or even days depending on the quantity and often results in unacceptable downtimes.

Equinix, the world’s leading interconnection platform, seeks to alleviate these two key public cloud concerns through the Equinix Cloud Exchange.


What Are the Cloud and Public Cloud?

The biggest problem with how we in the industry talk about the cloud is a semantic one. We almost unanimously refer to the cloud as a singular entity — the cloud. This phrasing encourages the misconception that there is one location, one technology, one thing called the cloud.

The cloud is a simple concept. Companies migrate their data, virtual machines, and/or applications to a third party and/or to an off-site data center. There the data is housed and accessed remotely by the company when required. At these data centers, resources are pooled and allocated as needed through virtualization technology to increase the overall performance and efficiency of everything involved.

By making this switch, companies no longer need to purchase hardware and refresh it every few years. Instead, the cloud transitions IT expenses from a capital expenditure model to an operational expense model. Companies only need to pay a monthly fee to access, store, and utilize their environment.


The Equinix Solution

Equinix describes itself as an interconnection platform—Equinix owns the data centers where the public clouds of AWS, Azure, Softlayer, and numerous other public cloud players host their cloud. Because the cloud physically exists within their data centers, Equinix can offer a private connection to up to 1,300 cloud solutions at once. Equinix customers can then privately connect to these clouds and are freed from the two biggest cloud concerns mentioned above.


Data Sovereignty through Equinix

Data has to exist somewhere. Even if it is “up in the cloud,” it is still housed in a physical place. Equinix offers their customers the option to rent NetApp storage in their data center and access the compute abilities of the cloud. In this model, the customer only needs to run their virtual machines (VMs) and applications from the cloud while all their data can be stored in the colocation (colo). The public cloud is effectively changed into a hybrid cloud model.

  • Easy Migration: Because the data is housed in a data center with a direct private connection to the cloud, migration is far simpler. Rather than moving data slowly across the internet from one cloud provider to another, the data can stay exactly where it is. Virtual machines need only be initiated in the new cloud provider and targeted towards the company’s data. The hours of downtime and expensive migration costs to access the data are replaced with a short process taking only minutes.
  • Increased Flexibility: The data is accessible to the company at all times. If it needs to be moved, modified, or altered, there is no charge to do so.


Consistent and Predictable Pricing

One of the largest hang ups with the public cloud model is the unpredictability of pricing. The company is billed for every time it accesses its data. From a single file to a huge migration, every interaction with the data is going to cost money. In this model, it is almost impossible to accurately budget the total cost of a public cloud solution. Furthermore, the repeated charges can add up to be very expensive.

  • Predictable Pricing: Instead of an ever-fluctuating bill based on use, Equinix provides a much more predictable cost. This allows customers to confidently and accurately budget for their cloud solution and receive a faster, more secure connection at far less expense.


Other Benefits of Equinix Cloud Exchange

  • Worldwide Availability: Equinix has data centers offering Cloud Exchange on five continents, including nine locations in North America. For our Chicago neighbors, there is even a data center right here in our backyard.
  • Multiple Cloud Providers Supported: All the largest and most influential hyperscalers are supported by Equinix. This list includes, but is not limited to, AWS, Microsoft Azure and Office 365, Google Cloud, and Softlayer.
  • Automated Connectivity: Equinix has built its program to streamline the management and provisioning to any number of networks and cloud services.
  • Faster Connection: The direct, private connection to the cloud is far faster than the public internet connection. Equinix has found increases in throughput of up to 147%.
  • Security: Anytime data traverses the public internet it is going to be less secure than a private connection. Equinix offers the security and reliability of a private connection within their facility.
  • Customizable Bandwidth: Customers can choose from a range of bandwidth options to align with their unique needs.

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About Mindsight

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For Further Reading:

Dispelling Managed Cloud Misconceptions

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