Why advanced interconnections are vital for cloud service providers

When CDM Smith, a global consulting, engineering and construction company, transformed its network architecture to a hybrid cloud model, it aimed to ensure high application and network performance as well as business and IT agility.

So, the company decided to distribute IT resources to nine Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers around the globe. The move gave users across its 160 global offices high-performance interconnection to support real-time collaboration and access to many networks and cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure.

CDM Smith’s distributed, interconnection-based approach to data center computing illustrates a tantalizing solution for cloud service providers (CSPs) under pressure to deliver low latency and high-performance connectivity to users wherever they are.

Cloud expectations

In a 2014 Gartner survey across 10 countries including China, India, South Korea and Australia, cost, innovation and agility were cited as top reasons for organizations’ adoption and deployment of cloud services.

“We’ve seen a real transition from use cases in previous surveys where early SaaS adoption focused on smaller pilot projects,” said Joanne Correia, research vice president at Gartner. “Today, the projects are mission-critical and production grade.”

The study also found that concerns around security and shared technology in a multitenant environment as well as general privacy issues will result in private cloud adoption growing across all software markets by nearly twice the rate of public cloud adoption over the next two years.

Added to that, users and application components, unlike in the past, are distributed regionally or even globally, and users expect the same application performance with web applications that they have experienced with desktop applications.

Hence, partnering a global infrastructure provider that has multiple geographically dispersed data centers will be a boon to the performance and distribution of cloud-based services.

Smart connections

The most direct way of reducing latency is through optimized networks. To that end, CITO Research finds that web application optimization is most effectively achieved by connecting to many ISPs via locations known as carrier-neutral data centers.

Coupled with many carrier-neutral interconnections and peering points forming a robust cloud ecosystem, CSPs can connect to each other, a broader customer base, and a broader choice of partners, networks and carriers. The ability to connect via private connections rather than the public internet, for instance, offers a secure, low-risk alternative.

CSPs can place the application server close to local customers or where their internet service providers (ISPs) or multi-service operator (MSOs) connect directly to a global or regional carrier’s backbone. This speeds up data communication among the user, infrastructure elements or internet service partners, and the application.


For example, proximity enables FedEx to process 10.5 million shipments daily for fast, reliable delivery from its massive physical network of operating facilities and drop-off locations.

It colocates warehouse and distribution centers with multi-tenant airports, and local depots and retail shipping centers within multi-tenant malls. The same principle explains how network proximity reduces latency of cloud service delivery.

Proximity is also important where CSPs need to establish a presence for regulatory compliance or respond to regional cultural sensitivities.

Wired for growth

Beyond optimized application delivery, CSPs must have seamless, on-demand and direct access to multiple clouds and multiple networks around the globe. This helps their customers to attain the agility to adapt to prevailing market trends and technologies.

Leading cloud players such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google achieve this inside the Equinix Cloud Exchange, which is also designed to shield CSPs from the complexities of multi-cloud and hybrid cloud interconnections.

The Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute service, for example, establishes private connections between Azure data centers and an organization’s on-premise or colocated infrastructure. It enables real-time provisioning so enterprises can integrate between cloud services, internal applications and their IT infrastructure while experiencing flexible and dynamic bandwidth.

With hybrid cloud adoption growing, service providers like HarperCollins, a division of the NewsCorp Group, have connected to ExpressRoute and integrated the cloud and network providers inside Equinix Cloud Exchange with its presence in the Equinix London IBX data center. The outcomes are reduced latency, increased performance, streamlined operations and lower costs.

“A high-performance global network with the ability to deploy a hybrid cloud is key to facilitate the collaboration that will enable us to deliver new innovative solutions to our customers,” says David Neitz, CIO of CDM Smith.

Boasting over 10 million square feet of data center capacity across 32 strategic markets globally, Equinix IBX data centers serve more than 1,000 network service providers, an extensive choice of private line providers, and nearly 500 other CSPs and partners such as managed service providers and system integrators. It enables 135,000 connections among more than 4,500 customers.

This creates the opportunity for both major CSPs such as AWS, Cisco, Google, Microsoft and SoftLayer, and smaller local players to find the interconnection they need in the Equinix Cloud Exchange to optimize performance and prepare for growth.

This is a QuestexAsia feature commissioned by Equinix.