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Equinix Execs Preach The Power Of Cloud And ‘Interconnection’

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

Data centre operator Equinix came to London this week and the power of cloud was very much the message of the day

Data centre operator Equinix hosted an event in the capital this week as part of London Tech Week, where conversations centred around ‘innovation through interconnection’.

The company’s global CEO and UK MD both made presentations highlighting the importance of enabling connections in today’s fast-paced, constantly-moving world, a topic of course close to home for anyone in the data centre business.

And, with nearly 180 data centres in five continents around the world, including the recently-acquired campus in Slough, its a message that certainly seems to be resonating with businesses.

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Click and connect

“It doesn’t matter where you look, whether it’s in financial services, in cloud, in content and digital media, retail or healthcare, all of the innovation that we see is dependent upon and can only happen through interconnection,” said Russell Poole, MD of Equinix UK.

“It really is all about connecting thing A to thing B to solve problems for customers.”

Related to this, he went on to highlight two main problems facing businesses. One, as you would probably expect was security, while the other invoked painful childhood memories of sitting in a classroom and being utterly confused. I’m of course referring to physics lessons.

“Physics, we learn about this in school,” Poole explained. “Speed equals distance over time, so therefore time equals distance over speed and given that the speed of light is fixed, the only way to reduce time, improve latency and ultimately improve the user experience is to shorten distance.

“And, by connecting within a data centre or on a dedicated piece of fibre or through a secure switch infrastructure, you’ve solved that distance piece. You’ve reduced distance, therefore improved latency.”

In a practical sense, Poole was referring to effectively connecting businesses with data and with their customers, both of which are essential components for virtually every organisation on the planet.

It was at this point that Steve Smith, Equinix’s CEO, took up the mantle to discuss the current wave of cloud adoption that is sweeping across countless industries.

“We’re currently in the place where cloud is the X-factor, the world is moving to cloud today,” he said. “There’s going to be multi cloud, hybrid cloud, there’s going to be all kinds of flavours of it and it’s going to be mobile.

“There’s no question about that, it’s irreversible. Every company is going to adopt some of their workloads into the cloud, if not most of their application workloads and it’s going to be surrounded by the evolving Internet of Things control points.”

The ‘flavours of cloud’ point was an interesting one. Cloud landscapes are becoming increasingly complicated, with the majority of organisations now opting to split workloads depending on their features, so that some go to the cloud – whether that be public or private – and others stay on-premise.

This is what has prompted the whole multi-cloud vs hybrid-cloud debate. Smith revealed that Equinix itself uses 13 different cloud providers and firmly believes that the majority of companies will follow a similar path.

Need for speed

He also highlighted that, with cloud paving the way for more devices, more data and more network connections than every before, speed and agility are going to be crucial.

“We’re living in a mobile cloud enabled world with evolving internet of things concepts. Almost every company we talk to, those three requirements are out in front. Our view is that the companies that continue to be agile and quick are going to have a lot of opportunities in the future,” said Smith.

“We do believe if you’re a global company and you distribute your information and you interconnect it around the world, you’re going to get big cost savings and faster performance on your applications.”

He finished off by warning, in a somewhat ominous Game of Thrones style, that “change is coming.” And those companies that embrace this change and run with it, will be the ones reaping the rewards.

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