Verizon turns up Software-Defined Interconnect service with Equinix

Verizon is providing its enterprise customers with more flexibility and faster provisioning times with the launch of its Software-Defined Interconnect (SDI) solution. SDI works with the Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric (ECX Fabric) by offering organizations with Verizon's MPLS service, which is called Private IP, direct connectivity into 115 Equinix International Busienss Exchange (IBX) global data centers.

Vickie Lonker, Verizon

Enterprises sit in colocation facilities so they can connect to the cloud, to IoT applications and services, and to other enterprises. A colocation site is a data center facility where a business can rent space for servers and other computing hardware. Most colocations include the building, cooling, power, bandwidth and physical security while the customer provides servers and storage.

Verizon's SDI service is an extension of its Secure Cloud Interconnect offering that it launched several years ago.

"It basically allows customers with Verizon Private IP networks to connect in near real time to their resources that sit in Equinix data centers, specifically in colo cages," said Verizon's Vickie Lonker, vice president of product management and development.  "The goal of the product is to give customers a really fast and easy way, and not to mention a secure way, to spin up or access their resources in these data centers without having to physically provision circuits, which sometimes can take long lead times."

Verizon's SDI solution uses an automated application programming interface (API) to quickly integrate and offer pre-provisioned Verizon Private IP bandwidth via the ECX Fabric. The API governs the network-to-network interface (NNI), which is a physical socket that Verizon built into the Equinix data centers that makes the capacity essentially pre-provisioned.

"Customers can access our Dynamic Network Manager tool, and use that to provision the services, provision and adjust port speeds, for example, or the capacity that they need," Lonker said. "And, they can do that all in real time with existing tools that they use to manage their Private IP networks today."

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Lonker said that last week Verizon provisioned several customers—one was a large retail customer and the other was a government customer— onto SDI, and that it has more customers in its queue.

"They were amazed," Lonker said. "They were expecting many hours of activation and it was actually 15 minutes."

In addition to cutting down the provisioning times to spin up or spin down bandwidth, it also offers a cost savings, according to Verizon.

Partnering with Equinix was a no-brainer for several reasons. The first is that Equinix is the colocation market leader, while the second is that Verizon has a long-standing relationship with Equinix.

Two years ago, Verizon and Equinix jointly announced that Verizon had agreed to resell Equinix colocation and interconnection services. That agreement came on the heels of Verizon selling 24 data center sites to Equinix in a transaction valued at about $3.6 billion. As part of that deal, Equinix agreed to own and manage the 24 Verizon customer-facing data sites, consisting of 29 data center buildings, in the United States and Latin America.

Verizon's MPLS network is seeing high double-digit traffic growth year-over-year while the use of colocation services also continues to increase as more organizations evolve their hybrid cloud strategies.

While Verizon has relationships with the major cloud players, organizations may not want to put some information into a public cloud, or an application may not be suited for a public cloud. With SDI, colocation becomes an extension of an enterprise, according to Lonker.

"We continue to see MPLS as a critical part of customers' ecosystems, or their networking platforms, because it offers them a secure way to connect their locations and their resources," Lonker said. "It offers global reach and SLAs (service level agreements), quality of service and dedicated bandwidth. This solution, we think, complements all of that.

"But, it also helps customers who have a hybrid cloud strategy. They've got workloads in public clouds, in their own private data centers and in colocation. This allows us to extend those IT resources for them really simply, and it gives the customer control of how they manage that bandwidth and how they manage access to those resources versus them not having that control because they have to rely on physical circuits of a fixed bandwidth that they can't flex when they need to flex capacity."