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Equinix: Interconnection Will Grow 10x the Internet

Interconnected Network

Interconnection, or direct and private traffic exchange between key business partners, is becoming the de facto method for companies to operate in today’s digital world and will leave internet traffic in the dust — a trend partners will keep a close eye on as they continue their transitions to digital services.

That’s according to Equinix‘s second annual Global Interconnection Index, which analyzes global traffic exchange. Private interconnection bandwidth between businesses is expected to grow by 2021 to more than 8,200 terabits per second (Tbps) of capacity, or the equivalent of 33 zettabytes of data exchange per year.

This represents a massive increase over the previous year’s projection and 10 times the projected capacity of internet traffic. A five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48 percent is expected, nearly double the expected 26 percent CAGR of global IP traffic.

Equinix's Sarah Baack

Equinix’s Sara Baack

“Significant macro, technology and regulatory trends are converging to form an unprecedented era of complexity and risk, and forcing the integration of physical and digital worlds,” said Sara Baack, Equinix’s chief marketing officer. “The second volume of the (index) has found that companies are solving their increasing digital requirements by directly connecting to key business partners through interconnection, as traditional forms of connectivity do not meet the demanding requirements of today’s businesses.”

Some of the key trends driving interconnection growth include: accelerating digital business transformation; cybersecurity risk; and an increasing mix of customers, partners and employees requiring interconnection to scale.

The index identifies four classes of interconnection use cases along with an IT maturity model. Adopted in combination, these use cases create a digital-ready infrastructure for today’s businesses: network optimization to shorten the distance between users and services applications; hybrid multicloud to connect and segment traffic between multiple clouds and private infrastructure; distributed security to deploy and interconnect security controls at points of digital engagement; and distributed data to deploy and interconnect data analytics in proximity to users.

“As enterprises chart their paths to greater digitization, they seek pathways that avoid the turbulence generated by the growing complexity of integrating various digital services,” said Eric Hanselman, chief analyst at 451 Research. “New architectures anchored by interconnection smooth this complexity and, increasingly, enterprises are finding that they also yield improvements in security, performance and capacity. Equinix’s (index) provides useful insight into these digital trends including why businesses are directly connecting with strategic partners to build their digital business ecosystems.


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