Opinion

Harnessing interconnection to prepare for the third wave of cloud adoption

Jeremy Deutsch | Updated on July 13, 2021

This is underpinned by private interconnection to the cloud to secure mission-critical workloads and data, such as those from financial services and healthcare which handle highly sensitive data

The disruptive forces of the pandemic have altered global business ecosystems, with the impact likely to last for at least the next few years. To help keep up with the rapid pace of change, businesses are digitally transforming with increasing pace — making significant investments in public cloud for their applications and IT services. In fact, IDC predicts that by the end of this year, 80 per cent of enterprises will put a mechanism in place to shift to cloud-centric infrastructure and applications twice as fast as before the pandemic.

With cloud adoption ramping up, IT organisations are having to manage higher demand for fast and secure interconnectivity to public clouds for mission-critical applications and business continuity services. The requirement for dependable and private interconnection with cloud service partners is increasing as more enterprises move into the ‘third wave’ of cloud adoption.

This follows the first wave — the initial phase of cloud adoption when businesses were consuming compute and storage services for application development and testing, and transfers were done over the public internet — and the second wave — the period marked by the adoption of SaaS and shift of latency-sensitive applications to the cloud as the popularity of private interconnection deepened across industries and businesses.

The third wave is focussed on the dynamic nature of today’s business operations, which demand absolute resiliency. This is underpinned by private interconnection to the cloud to secure mission-critical workloads and data, such as those from financial services and healthcare which handle highly sensitive data.

However, running business operations, particularly on a global scale, can be challenging due to the geo-distribution of applications and data availability. Data residency requirements make it tough to deploy applications and data in geo-redundant locations within the same country, as this increases the complexity of a multi-vendor setup. Cloud service providers (CSPs) have been critical in architecting access to their services to lay the foundation for geo-resiliency.

Winning in the third wave

As organisations tread the path towards IT modernisation, cloud must be looked upon as an operating model rather than a destination. At the centre of this is interconnection, which is key to building a secure, modern IT platform that can deliver the kind of agility and efficient new capabilities organisations need to tackle issues of legacy infrastructure. Establishing this kind of digital foundation requires:

Moving to a distributed model: This means maintaining your core data centres but deploying software-defined network (SDN) interconnection and network functions virtualization (NFV) infrastructure at multiple smaller edge data centre points of presence (PoPs) inside a colocation provider, such as Equinix. Proximate, direct, low-latency interconnection to leading CSPs provides a high-speed on-ramp to scalable resources and services. This improves cloud application performance and user experience while offering an OPEX-based consumption model for edge connectivity to the cloud.

Redesigning how information exchange takes place: Organisations must reduce the distance to their users by setting up a regional presence in optimal locations. It is also critical to deploy security and control services that facilitate secure data exchanges. Leveraging interconnection can ensure that traffic travels through a control hub, passing through security levels that make for real-time compliance. Interconnection also helps build a private information exchange, customized according to mission goals, regions and demographics.

Using hybrid multi-cloud for local integration: Adopting a hybrid multi-cloud approach can help solve cloud, application and data complexity to deliver better local experiences. Capable of supporting colocation as well as virtual services, such an integrated approach allows organisations the opportunity to access multiple digital and business ecosystems either physically or virtually.

The data centre landscape is continuously evolving, and according to insights from JLL, the Indian data centre industry will grow exponentially to reach 1,007 MW by 2023 from its existing capacity of 447 MW. Further, the colocation data centre industry in India has seen an extraordinary increase of 102 MW during 2020, eclipsing that of many key markets in Europe and America.

Today’s leaders are faced with fragmented, complex infrastructure that is spread across geographies, present in private and public environments, and involves multiple providers. In order to see continued growth, they must implement solutions that help interconnect the infrastructure they need to fast-track their digital advantage, and architect for success at the edge.

The writer is President, Equinix Asia-Pacific

Published on July 13, 2021

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