26 Jul 2013
The throes of an ongoing digital revolution demand that companies adopt a resilient digital strategy to maintain stability and competitiveness, the likes of which commonly elicits the establishment of a comprehensive IT infrastructure. It is paramount that in an ever-changing and increasingly IT-reliant business climate, company IT infrastructures remain secure, while also abiding by ambitious performance and costing targets. A growing reliance on new technology means that companies are to ensure their IT systems remain robust if they are to protect against the exponential costs of failure.
Equinix is such a company whose commitment to providing dynamic and enterprising data centres is second-to-none. The world’s leading technology companies have successfully leveraged Equinix collocation sites around the world for more than a decade.
As enterprises integrate their businesses into the global digital economy, CEOs, CFOs and CIOs need to learn what leaders already know or be left behind. More enterprises are coming to Equinix to understand the potential advantages for their businesses.
The company has, since 1998, offered businesses a means of running and growing their operations, encouraging each to foster a highly collaborative and profitable relationship with other businesses cohabiting its data centres. European CEO spoke to Eric Schwartz, President of Equinix Europe, on the company’s IT offerings, its ecosystem, and the ways in which it seeks to uphold and inform an effective digital strategy.
How are data centres evolving to match changing demands and why are they so important?
Most major corporates want greater capabilities and know they need to stay competitive, which drives a demand for data centres as an effective means of support. Quite simply, as demand accelerates, so too does the need for infrastructure to accommodate growth.
Data centres today far surpass the capabilities of those five years ago, as the ability to support higher power and cooling configurations allows customers a previously unrealised freedom and flexibility in meeting their ever-pressing IT requirements.
Throughout the industry is a concerted effort to achieve a greater degree of sustainability, which drives the adoption of advanced technology, though also spurs continuous improvements to efficiency and energy consumption.
Data centres are often built before the contained equipment is specified, and though a facility is considered a long-life asset, the equipment often boasts a mere three-year lifespan. For this reason our goal is to offer flexibility and durability in weathering continuous technological advancements and in meeting ever-changing market demands.
What are Equinix’s key innovations in these areas?
Historically, data centres have been somewhat isolated to prevent the accommodated companies from conflicting with one another. However, Equinix seeks to house customers in a common facility, in effect allowing us to build bigger centres and to reach higher operating efficiencies.
Our goal is to establish a model for building data centres that accommodate multiple customers and to furthermore encourage collaborative behaviour between our cohabitants. Initiating and fostering commercial relationships is at the very core of our business model, so it is of paramount importance that our customers build better systems and IT capabilities by means of collaboration.
How important is Equinix’s ecosystem and your focus on global partnerships?
Whereas other data centres place a lesser emphasis on global partnerships, we consider them fundamental to our enduring success. We’ve designed each of our facilities and internal operations to support and to catalyse collaboration. Every connection made between our customers is a productive business relation and one that creates value for all related parties. The diverse level of choice our customers are afforded in our data centres is part and parcel of our positive, virtuous cycle.
Tell us about the way companies are partnering within Equinix’s data centres and improving their outsourcing propositions.
We’re fast approaching 5,000 customers so the potential for collaboration is near limitless. We’re continually impressed and excited by how creative customers continue to be in finding ways to leverage each other’s capabilities. Whether it’s carriers working with providers, or financial services collaborating with stock exchanges and data analytics, the cases continue to multiply at the speed of the market.
Today, the largest beneficiaries of collaboration are telecoms, and financial services. However, I believe we will start to see more connections between content companies, digital media, advertising, and cloud providers.
As companies grow more confident with the diverse outsourcing opportunities at hand, the ease by which they can outsource solutions will grow accordingly. As these choices proliferate, outsourcing opportunities increase not only from an availability perspective, but also from a cost perspective they’re above and beyond anything they may otherwise have experienced.
How does Equinix’s global presence allow companies to collocate?
As the world has become more networked, not only from an internet and telecoms standpoint, but also from an economic standpoint, opportunities in global operations have become far greater. As companies see their business as increasingly global, they require investment in IT to grow and to support global expansion. Equinix was the first, and is to large extent the only provider that permits companies the capacity to maintain a consistent and reliable IT infrastructure worldwide.
With close to 100 centres in over 30 major markets, Equinix offers a powerful proposition to those looking to deploy their IT infrastructure on a global basis. Far from the inconsistency of having a number of local providers, Equinix offers a proven means of ensuring operations, infrastructure and overall execution remain consistent across the board.
How has the role of the CIO changed of late?
A far cry from the former operator of software and infrastructure, CIOs have since emerged as key players in the broader business processes of present day. CIOs are often challenged to define the opportunities for their respective companies, whether they be new products, services or more general IT advances. Every company is turning to the CIO and asking that competitors don’t leapfrog them with tech and that they utilise new and existing technology in differentiating the company from competitors.
Advances in IT have resulted in a permanent dimension of competition among digital companies, so it only follows that CIOs are constantly seeking valuable IT infrastructure and insight in improving the stature of their respective companies.
What are the main issues behind the success of a digital business?
Availability is important in that disruptions are proving increasingly costly as companies rely on IT more than ever before. As such, Equinix is continually upgrading and investing in both our facilities and services.
Flexibility is perhaps the second-most important issue, as the unceasing advancement of technology requires that digital businesses adapt to an ever-changing industry. Finally, aside from mere adaptation, for a digital business to succeed it must achieve a marked degree of creativity and innovation in differentiating its services from those of competitors.