Easy IT architecture rollout through Global Consistency

In a digital economy where enterprise business models are increasingly interdependent, interconnection is essential to success. Equinix operates the only truly global interconnection platform. Within each of Equinix’s 185+4 data centres worldwide – aptly named International Business Exchanges, or IBX’s - companies come together and interconnect to spark new business opportunities. In this environment, global consistency in services is becoming more and more important – for both Equinix and its customers. Minkels Magazine sat down with Martijn Kooiman – Sales Director, Benelux at Equinix – to talk about this topic.

Can you tell us something about your ‘global consistency’ strategy?

“Equinix is active across the globe in 48 markets, across 5 continents: from Singapore to Amsterdam, from Sydney to Dallas. When you visit our IBX in Singapore, the building itself can be very different from the one in Amsterdam. Local rules and regulations apply to the building in terms of size, appearance and layout. However, the IT floors are very much alike and consistent with any other Equinix IBX. For one and the same customer, the IT floor and services in Amsterdam and Singapore can hardly be distinguished. This global consistency – in terms of products, services, operations and support – is very important to our customers: it means ease of doing business, speed of operations, and lower risks, to deliver a consistent user experience regardless of location In particular, when it comes to rolling out their infrastructure worldwide.”

Can you give an example?

“For example, enterprises can rearchitect and build out their entire global IT architecture in a very fast way. Most of our enterprise customers are undergoing an IT overhaul, driven by digital transformation, and have the need to build an agile, future-proof and more flexible IT platform. We remove the complexity in this process by developing a global standard for their IT architecture, guiding them towards locations where interconnection can add the most value in their specific business. This way, they can roll out an interconnection oriented IT architecture around the world very consistently in the most efficient manner.”

What exactly do your customers expect in relation to global consistency?

“This depends very much on the customer. For example, across many industries, enterprises look to us to be a global full-service data centre and interconnection partner. They value our knowledge and expertise when setting up their IT rooms within our IBX’s. Many enterprises are relatively new to architecting a hybrid, cloud connected infrastructure, and very much appreciate our years of experience in designing, building and maintaining these types of deployments. On the other hand, for example, public companies have different demands. They are active locally and don’t design for global consistency. They are more concerned with national consistency, redundancy and security, from one city to another, from one data centre to another. However, we have found that most companies do anticipate growing their businesses internationally, and as such, a globally consistent platform ensure it can scale with them and help future-proof their IT investment as business needs change.”

What does Equinix expect from their partners in terms of global consistency?

“It’s not easy keeping up with the pace of our demanding customers. For example, when our customers update something in their global standards, our partners need to be able to act quickly by designing and supplying the necessary products. That’s why Equinix likes to dig deep to uncover what’s actually going on behind the ‘marketing and sales talk’ of (potential) partners. We want to know about production facilities and inventory management. We demand open and transparent communication and engagement, across the right levels. The more we are able to align with our partners, the better the experience for our customers. To make sure that our customers can standardise on a certain brand around the globe, we prefer partners who can offer global agreements. This ensures an efficient delivery and the same set-up worldwide. This frees our customers to focus on their business. Of course, this is only possible when we can count on our partners the same way that our customers can count on us.”

What makes the partnership between Equinix and Minkels successful?

“We have known Minkels for a long time. They have won our trust over the years and live up to our expectations. We can count on delivery times and their expertise. We’re working closely together to respond quickly to new trends. This leads to a more relevant offer for our joint customers – which we are both continuously focused on. We started with a local partnership, which grew to an agreement in the EMEA region. Right now, we are providing customers around the globe with Minkels products.”

Which data centre infrastructure is used?

“We have made agreements with Minkels to standardise on the most relevant components. This ensures we have a pre-sorted, validated program available which fits optimally with our IBX’s and customers in terms of costs, consistency, quality and speed of delivery. Minkels also provides us with expertise and development of specials – depending on the customer demand. The main Minkels products that we use are cabinets, corridors and cabling infrastructure. Some customers have specific and challenging requirements for security, but we have always been able to provide them with an appropriate solution – using our combined expertise.”

Do you aim for 100% standardisation?

“We are not aiming for 100% standardisation. We strive to design and deliver the optimal solution for each individual customer, in each individual situation, and in some cases this does not match with what we have defined as our standard offering. However, in most cases customers choose our standards because of the quality, convenience and efficiency in deployment.”

What do you expect of the future?

“Platform Equinix interconnects the infrastructures that power trends such as IOT, Machine Learning and Virtual Reality. We are growing rapidly, and we expect a lot from our partnership with Minkels. We have recently expanded our Amsterdam Science Park campus with a new IBX known as AM4. At AM4, we have 12,000 m2 of new, high dense data centre space in one of the world’s most densely connected campuses. We have also announced our expansion into Spain and Portugal, as well as a new data centre we acquired in Istanbul. Exciting times, with many new customers joining our platform, makes global consistency – and our partnership – even more important.”