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Equinix: The elastic hybrid cloud evolution

The theme at last year’s AWS #re:Invent was “the cloud is the new normal.” At this week’s AWS conference in Las Vegas, AWS CEO Andy Jassy told 32,000 attendees and the 50,000 who watched his keynote speech on streaming video that the new normal is now “elasticity” to accommodate all of the workloads that are either being moved to or produced in the cloud.

To illustrate the elasticity of the cloud in handling ever growing volumes of data, the latest AWS storage innovation rolled onto the stage. Snowmobile, a 45 foot container truck holds up to 100 petabytes of data to be moved from an enterprise data center to an AWS site for secure storage in the cloud.

Jassy said it would normally take 26 years to move exabyte-scale data sets to the cloud. But with Snowmobile, it will take less than six months!

Many of the new AWS capabilities and services featured in Jassy’s keynote allow for greater flexibility, agility and control of both public cloud and on-premises IT resources to create a seamless and more elastic hybrid IT infrastructure.

Here are some highlights from these announcements that I believe will be very exciting for Equinix customers moving forward.

The great hybrid cloud enabler

AWS has fully jumped on the virtualization train and its recent joint announcement with VMware demonstrates it’s ready to take its customers on a hybrid cloud journey. In October 2016, AWS and VMware announced their partnership to enable more seamless integration between on-premises VMware infrastructures and private clouds and AWS public clouds, and that capability is now available.

As Jassy explained, companies are no longer forced to choose between VMware virtualization and private cloud platforms and AWS public cloud, because they all have been architected to work together without having to rewrite applications or purchase specialized hardware. 

VMware Cloud on AWSenables companies to use VMware’s virtualization and management software to seamlessly deploy and manage VMware workloads across their virtualized data center and AWS cloud environments.

We view AWS’s close alignment with VMware as great news for Equinix customers. Customers can now leverage AWS to scale their VMware vSphere on-premises and private cloud infrastructures.

These new capabilities allow customers to take advantage of AWS’ scalability and on demand pricing to provide services such as datacenter migration, on demand scalability, data backup and disaster recovery.

Now, with the VMware and AWS announcement, our customers can extend and manage their existing VMware environments within VMware Cloud on AWS. Equinix Professional Services (EPS) also has a team of VMware Certified Professionals and offerings that specifically address migration and integration with VMware Cloud on AWS.

Directly and securely interconnecting smarter devices at the edge

Jassy spoke of the many challenges of the rapid growth of Internet of Things (IoT) devices on-premises in central data centers and along the edge of the enterprise network. But these “smart” devices are made with very little compute and storage capabilities, and companies feel these devices would be more useful if they had greater intelligence to access and harness cloud services.

There are also performance and costs issues to consider such as:

  • IoT devices are typically somewhere in the “field” and need to backhaul their data to centralized data centers, incurring higher roundtrip latency
  • Long-haul connectivity is not always reliable and requires expensive network bandwidth

To solve these issues, AWS introduced AWS Greengrass, which embeds Lambda and other AWS services into IoT devices, enabling greater usage of cloud resources and reducing the network performance issues typical of most edge-based, interconnected things.

We’re big fans of this IoT innovation because with more than 145 data centers and ecosystems of 1,400+ network and 2,500+ cloud and IT service providers worldwide, we’re all about direct and secure interconnection at the edge between global customers, their IoT devices and data, and the cloud.

With AWS Greengrass and the Equinix Cloud Exchange, our customers will have fast and safe access to AWS and other cloud services for their IoT devices and data, including backup and recovery and replication capabilities.

AWS continues to innovate to provide our customers with cloud services that enable them to integrate more cost-effective virtualization platforms and adopt emerging technologies, such as the IoT. 

Article by Gene McColm, Equinix blog network

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