Digital Realty jumps into interconnection business

PlatformDIGITAL offers a single source for global data-center coverage, capacity and connectivity. Implementation blueprints aim to allow customers to quickly deploy enterprise infrastructure where they need it.

Data center provider Digital Realty Trust isn't resting after its massive EMEA push via the acquisition of Interxion. The company unveiled PlatformDIGITAL, an initiative designed to provide interconnections to customers and manage big data. Digital Realty made the announcement at its MarketplaceLIVE conference. 

At the heart of the PlatformDIGITAL strategy is Pervasive Datacenter Architecture (PDx), which offers "fit-for-purpose" data center designs meant to solve scale, configuation and connectivity issues faced by enterprise colocation customers.

It can cost as much as 100 times more power to move data as it does to process it (stay tuned for an upcoming feature related to this topic). It all depends on how far the data has to go. With the advent of colocation, edge computing and the cloud, that means more and more data will be scattered around rather than stored in a company data center. So enterprises want to move it as little as possible.

"Gartner predicts that by 2022, 60% of enterprise IT infrastructures will focus on centers of data, rather than traditional data centers. As a result, there is a growing industry imperative to create new centers of data that reside between the core and the edge," said Digital Realty CEO A. William Stein in a statement.

PlatformDIGITAL is intended to provide a foundation for customers to address the need for global coverage, capacity, and ecosystem connectivity from a single data center provider; tailor infrastructure deployments and controls matched to business needs; operate deployments as a seamless extension of any global infrastructure; and enable global distributed workflows at centers of data exchange to remove data gravity barriers and scale digital business.

Digital Realty's PDx approach was developed by enterprise IT practitioners and was created by codifying hundreds of product deployment combinations into repeatable implementation patterns. The goal is to allow customers to quickly deploy enterprise infrastructure and to scale their digital businesses globally. 

It’s a similar interconnection strategy to that of DRT’s chief rival Equinix, but slightly different, notes David Cappuccio, distinguished analyst with Gartner.

“This is a move by Digital Realty to compete on a global scale with Equinix. They have 220+ sites and have interconnected them all, similar to Equinix. But rather than focusing on the interconnection strategy and being the infrastructure glue for global enterprises like Equinix, they are focusing on the data part, with the idea that as you move applications or workloads closer to the customer, or a specific geo to solve location or compliance issues, you are also moving data. And managing/moving data across a global ecosystem requires a partner that can support you seamlessly, no matter where the need,” Cappuccio said.

PlatformDIGITAL is being rolled out in 36 metros and 15 countries. On top of the PDx foundation are four new enterprise solutions:

  • Network Hub for rewiring the network: Consolidates and localizes traffic into ingress/egress points to optimize network performance and cost
  • Control Hub for implementing hybrid IT controls: Hosts adjacent Security & IT controls to improve security posture and IT operations, tailored infrastructure deployments matching hyper-converged infrastructure configurations and density requirements for control points
  • Data Hub for optimizing data exchange: Localizes data aggregation, staging, analytics, streaming and data management to optimize data exchange and maintain data compliance
  • SX Fabric for interconnecting global workflows: Adds SDN overlay to service chain multi-cloud and B2B application ecosystems. Connects hubs across metros and regions to enable secure, highly-efficient and distributed workflows.

DRT has some interesting partners with this rollout, including Cisco, IBM Cloud, Bridgepointe Technologies, and Vapor IO. Cisco’s Secure Agile Exchange can be deployed as a network hub solution within DRT’s data centers, and Vapor IO will offer its Kinetic Edge Exchange as part of the PDx Network Hub Solutions. This will give DRT a nice boost in the edge markets, since Vapor IO has really made aggressive strides in what is admittedly still a very green field.

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