25 January, 2021
  • Equinix Metal brings Packet’s bare metal service into Equinix’s own footprint so customers can migrate services to new locations fast and bring them down with a similar level of flexibility at the push of a button.
  • It means Equinix now plays in the hosting market. Equinix foresees some of its managed service and hosting customers will also leverage this service.
  • The service is available in Amsterdam, New York, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. and is expected to be available in 14 global metros by early 2021.

US-based retail colocation provider Equinix stopped referring to itself as a ‘colocation provider’ a few years ago. It focussed instead on connectivity before shifting to focus on its ‘platform’, a term previously reserved for cloud providers. It is a shift the industry should be taking note of. Equinix is one of the world’s largest retail colocation and interconnection providers. It started in a market where hosting and other service provider customers preferred not to see their colocation provider compete. That is changing, however, as more enterprises seek options that enable access to the cloud and flexibility for more agile data centre deployments without the added complexity of multiple contracts and providers.

Through Q3, Equinix formally announced a new bare metal service – called Equinix Metal – put together after acquiring Packet (a venture-backed bare metal cloud provider founded in 2014). Packet brings dedicated servers and automation capability into Equinix’s product mix.

For Equinix, it is all about enabling fast deployments and access to new markets. This is a requirement exacerbated by COVID-19 (think of remote workforces with fluctuating needs or companies wanting to set up new online environments temporarily, including managed service providers).

From a colocation perspective, the bare metal offering allows Equinix to capture the interest of businesses that may have otherwise gone only to the cloud. It enables more capabilities from a colocation base while providing a platform from which to provision the hybrid cloud. It builds on a portfolio that already provides hyperscale data centres (xScale), internet exchanges, an interconnection network fabric to connect clouds, networks and enterprises (Equinix Fabric, formerly known as Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric), edge services, and security (SmartKey). It also lays the foundation for Equinix at the edge, allowing it to cater to customer demands without always investing in new data centres. Test and Dev services are another candidate, especially for cloud as Equinix targets managed service and other providers as well as enterprise customers.

Behind this service is Equinix’s vast web of connectivity options, allowing interconnection in and across data centres, in and across regions and the world, underpinned by software-defined capabilities that enable provisioning within minutes. Equinix is planning rollouts in 14 metros globally by early 2021 – and in many leading European markets

Equinix won’t be the only provider to open up service offerings over time. We have already seen wholesale providers become retail providers, and retail providers become wholesale providers – the lines between colocation service offerings have been blurring. Rackspace and other hosting providers also dabble in colocation and telcos have tried their hands at almost everything. The difference is, we are now seeing colocation providers starting to find new benefits from the connectivity options they have built up over the years and leverage growing customer ecosystems.

Equinix is not the only provider to have investigated needs for ‘agility’ and ‘portability’ but it is the first to build out a global digital infrastructure offering based on these business needs.

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