Equinix rolls out Equinix Metal, xScale expanding; wider portfolio takes it from data center to digital infrastructure

Equinix rolls out Equinix Metal, xScale expanding; wider portfolio takes it from data center to digital infrastructure

Data center service provider Equinix rolled out a new bare metal infrastructure service that will form the foundation of a push into digital infrastructure services. Equinix Metal is based on the platform built by New York-based Packet that Equinix acquired earlier this year.

The following company briefing has been made available through our partnership with Structure Research, an independent research and consulting firm with a focus on the cloud, edge, and data center markets.

Details: Equinix Metal is available in four Equinix IBX locations: Amsterdam, New York, Silicon Valley, and Washington, DC. The goal is to have the bare metal service up and running in 14 global locations by the end of 2021. The Equinix Metal service features native integration with the Equinix Fabric interconnection platform and server provisioning time is estimated at 15 minutes. The Equinix Fabric is online in 46 locations globally. There is a pay-as-you-go billing available.

Angle: The integration with Equinix Fabric is at the heart of the newly revamped service. Customers can now spin up bare metal servers on-demand and integrate with co-located or on-premise infrastructure through the Equinix’s interconnection platform.

Equinix Metal gives customers another deployment model – bare metal hosting as-a-service – where they can run workloads using whatever tools they want (what Packet has called un-opinionated infrastructure). This lies in contrast to being locked into the proprietary platforms built by the public clouds. Customers also won’t have to procure, rack, stack, and depreciate server hardware. The goal is not necessarily to sell bare metal as a standalone offering but to use it as a complement to other infrastructure models and help create hybrid scenarios. In the context of Equinix’s overall business, a hybrid cloud is a good thing because it will mean increased usage of interconnection services and overall growth in customer consumption.

Equinix xScale: Equinix has moved into the hyperscale game and confirmed that the service will be live in eight markets by the end of 2021. The xScale service is different from other wholesale colocation services. The idea for the latter is to host as many megawatts as possible, typically in a campus-style environment. Equinix, on the other hand, is looking to house smaller increments of hyperscale cloud infrastructure, but strategically placed in proximity to clusters of end-users and networks. For example, Equinix will work with hyperscale customers to host cloud nodes of 1-4MW but that are near Equinix data centers (on the same property/campus). This enables cross-connects with minimal latency and maximizes efficiency and performance for the customer. And of course, it also raises the volume of interconnection for Equinix. Equinix plans to have xScale up and running in eight locations by the end of 2021. Earlier this year, we saw the xScale platform in this kind of proximity scenario in Paris, France.

Analysis: Bare metal and hyperscale data center colocation are new additions to the Equinix product portfolio. Equinix is now pivoting from a focus on retail colocation and interconnection to serving a full range of services – retail colocation, wholesale colocation, interconnection, on-ramps to public clouds; on-premise and direct infrastructure-as-a-service, all of which will be pieced together through the interconnection platform.

To this point, Equinix has positioned around its primary products offered in the data center: colocation and interconnection. It has moved beyond that and now wants to be known as a digital infrastructure company. The idea is for Equinix to position around what is enables – digital infrastructure – and how that is enabled: connections between end-users, audiences, businesses, partners, and networks. It is less about the ping, power, and pipe, and more about the breadth of the portfolio, the software that brings it all together, and the outcomes created.

Phil Shih, Managing Director, Structure Research

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