The latest Global Interconnection Index (GXI), an annual market study published by Equinix, predicts private connectivity at the edge will grow by 51% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), and exceed a total bandwidth capacity of more than 13,300 Tbps, equivalent to 53 zettabytes of data exchanged annually. This is enough to support every person on earth simultaneously downloading a complete season of Game of Thrones in ultra-high definition resolution in less than a single day.
The GXI market study finds interconnection bandwidth – the capacity for direct and private traffic exchange between key business partners – is an essential component to digital business and validates that to compete in the digital economy, companies must address growing data volumes and increasing data exchange velocity across a rising number of clouds and business ecosystems. In fact, according to a separate independent survey commissioned by Equinix of more than 2,450 global senior IT professionals, almost half (48%) of global IT decision-makers believe interconnection is a key facilitator of digital transformation. 4 in 10 IT decision-makers in EMEA feel the same, rising to 5 in 10 for Ireland.
“People, software and machines are creating and consuming data faster and in all the places where we work, play, and live,” said Rick Villars, Research Vice President, Datacentre & Cloud, IDC. “The significant increase in data created, aggregated and analysed in these new locations is contributing to a major shift away from deploying IT in traditional corporate data centres. Enterprises need access to robust, modern data centre facilities near the edge locations where businesses want to deploy dedicated infrastructure and interconnect to the increasing number of clouds, customers and partners that are at the core of digital transformation efforts.”
Strong data compliance regulations across EMEA are unlocking data exchange and growth of interconnection bandwidth in Healthcare & Life Sciences, Government & Education, and Business & Professional Services. This is leading Europe (51% CAGR) to overtake North America (46% CAGR) in the race to digital growth. Latin America is leading the charge with a 63% CAGR, with Asia-Pacific not far behind (56% CAGR). Expansion plans across the world, according to the survey, tell a slightly different story with 55% of EMEA businesses planning to expand in to new metros, versus more aggressive expansion plans in other regions (Americas 69%, Asia-Pacific 65%). 6 out of 10 (62%) IT decision-makers globally are utilising virtual connections to support these growth plans.
The GXI Vol. 3 delivers insights by tracking, measuring and forecasting growth in interconnection bandwidth—the total capacity provisioned to privately and directly exchange traffic, with a diverse set of partners and providers, at distributed IT exchange points inside carrier-neutral colocation data centres. The GXI finds:
The ability to exchange large volumes of data through interconnection is essential to compete in the digital economy
- In response to rapidly growing volumes of data, enterprise consumption of interconnection bandwidth will grow at a 64% CAGR globally, outpacing other forms of business data exchange. This is due to be even higher for EMEA, with consumption growing at a 67% CAGR, leading enterprises to account for 60% of total interconnection bandwidth in 2022.
- The independent survey found that interconnection is playing a central role in Irish businesses’ expansion plans. 57% of Irish respondents said their organisation is expanding into new regions, countries or metros, with 63% of those planning to use virtual connections to support this expansion. Some 41% of IT decision-makers in Ireland say interconnection helps to reduce the cost of connectivity.
- To manage increasing volumes of data, enterprises are on average deploying in nine locations, with a total of 340 interconnections to networks, clouds and business partners. The survey shines more light on this – IT decision-makers in Ireland are utilising interconnection to connect to other enterprises (28%), network service providers (32%) and cloud service providers (17%).
- The survey also found more than one-third (36%) of Irish IT decision-makers believe interconnection can help their business to gain competitive advantage within the marketplace. Half (50%) believe that interconnection is a key facilitator of digital transformation, while 40% consider it to be central to their business’ survival.
- Ireland’s role as a data centre hub is also continuing to attract business. Almost half (47%) of IT decision-makers in Ireland say that due to the flourishing data centre industry, Ireland is the best place in EMEA to interconnect with partners, customers, supply chain and cloud service providers.
Distance is the biggest performance killer for digital business
- Deploying direct, private connections at the edge propels both application performance and user experience.
- Today’s latency-sensitive workloads require response times ranging from <60 to <20 milliseconds, forcing IT infrastructure closer to the points of consumption (the edge).
- According to the survey, 24% of Irish IT decision-makers are using interconnection to increase speed of connectivity.
Leading businesses are gaining competitive advantage using a combination of key interconnection deployment models
- Interconnecting to multiple network providers across multiple edge locations is the most prominent use case for interconnection bandwidth and is expected to grow 4x by 2022. According to the survey, optimising the performance of networks is a key priority for 61% of IT decision-makers in Ireland.
- Interconnecting to multiple clouds and IT services across multiple edge locations and cloud regions represents the next largest and fastest use of interconnection bandwidth and is predicted to grow 13x by 2022. The move to multi-cloud strategies is cited by respondents to the survey as a priority for 37% of Irish IT decision-makers.
- Interconnecting to digital business partners for financial services, content and digital media and supply chain integration makes up the remainder of interconnection bandwidth use cases and is forecasted to grow 5x by 2022.
Customer case study – Smartbox Group, Ireland
Smartbox Group, headquartered in Dublin, is using interconnection to support its rapid growth across Europe. Selling themed experience gifts – from wellness and adventure to gastronomy and holidays – across 11 European countries, it enables recipients of gift ‘boxes’ to redeem experiences from any of the group’s 40,000 partner companies. To ensure seamless customer journeys across Europe, Smartbox is interconnecting with partners and cloud service providers via Equinix.
Paul Cash, Director of IT Operations, Smartbox, said: “Interconnection is a fundamental element in driving digital transformation and enabling the movement of data on a global scale and it allows our technology teams the flexibility to decide the where to deploy data intensive applications.
“Leveraging public and private clouds is a crucial element in the continuous development of our business and new technologies. Given our focus on the user experience, it is vital that there are no latency issues and Platform Equinix gives us that peace of mind by providing secure and direct connections to the cloud. It is the backbone of all of our systems.”
Eugene Bergen Henegouwen, President, EMEA, Equinix
“Europe’s predicted CAGR of 51%, illustrates the fact that enterprises across the continent are increasingly using new and innovative ways of interconnecting with their customers and partners, to stay relevant and gain a competitive advantage. In line with this, results from our independent survey found the EMEA region has the largest proportion of organisations – at 63% – using interconnection to support their expansion into new regions, countries or metros. This shows interconnection is a critical business asset for companies increasingly looking to operate across borders and in doing so, broaden customer bases”.
Maurice Mortell, Managing Director for Ireland, Equinix
“Interconnection has become vital as organisations look to digitally transform and innovate. Companies need to be able to connect to key business partners across the world and meet their digital requirements. Interconnection offers what traditional modes of connectivity cannot, enabling businesses to adapt to a global way of working, stay competitive in a digital economy and take advantage of the data they are producing. Ireland is really thriving in this area because we have the digital ecosystem to support enterprises in their interconnection journey.”