Equinix leans in to ecosystem approach to smooth cloud path for enterprise

Equinix wants to make it easier for enterprises to adopt cloud native infrastructure. But rather than offering a managed service itself, the company has been working with ecosystem partners to make it easier to run Kubernetes-based services on its bare metal infrastructure.

The company launched its bare metal service in October 2020, offering customers access to dedicated physical infrastructure that is theirs to control and run. Since then, though, it’s realized that many enterprises need a bit of a helping hand.

“They’ve been telling us this is great, but we need full solutions, we need to fill the gaps, we need more than computers, network, storage disks,” Equinix VP of Bare Metal Strategy Jacob Smith told Fierce. “They’re looking for more of a solution versus than a component. And bare metal’s really a component.”

So, Smith said Equinix has spent the past several months working to beef up its integrations with partners, ensuring Kubernetes-based services from its ecosystem vendors run smoothly on its bare metal. Most recently, it was able to secure a position as a launch partner for Amazon Web Services’ EKS Anywhere. It has also tightened its cloud relationships with IBM, Google Cloud, Mirantis, Canonical and SUSE Rancher.

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He explained Kubernetes has matured as the option of choice in the enterprise space over the past year or two, to the point where it’s the “de facto standard” for enterprises pursuing cloud deployments. That being the case, Smith said it made sense for Equinix to huddle with ecosystem partners to ensure Kubernetes deployments are as compatible as possible with its bare metal.

Though the approach is different from what other companies might do, Smith said Equinix has always been ecosystem-oriented.

“So instead of offering a managed Kubernetes service because it would be easier, people would probably like it, we think our ecosystem can solve that,” he said. “Mirantis does private clouds. They’re really good at the things that companies like Visa care about, whereas someone like Rancher has really found their niche in multi-cloud and edge…those are super different and I think that’s where ecosystem has always been a winner for Equinix because we find that our customers are really scaling with digital and they tend to have just different needs.”

Smith added Equinix will likely continue to expand its other offerings around networking, noting it already provides network edge, NFV and Fabric services. However, he concluded “I don’t see us going and offering a Kubernetes-as-a-service or a container service or even a database service that’s branded Equinix.”