*Updated with examples of customers accessing cloud via Equinix facilities
Equinix has added a new big name to the list of cloud providers accessible directly from its data centers. Its colocation customers can now buy private network links to Salesforce, getting direct public cloud connectivity while bypassing the public internet.
After rounding out the list of cloud infrastructure giants accessible through such links – Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, IBM SoftLayer, and Oracle Cloud – Equinix started pursuing similar partnerships with enterprise cloud software heavyweights. Last year, it secured Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite.
Salesforce is a key addition to the list. It is one of the largest software-as-a-service providers and the largest customer relationship management (CRM) company. Equinix has been pursuing the partnership since at least 2015, when its then VP of innovation, Chris Sharp, told us the company was going after all the top SaaS players.
The Salesforce cloud connectivity deal is likely to further Equinix’s recent efforts to bring more enterprise customers into its data centers. Most of its users have traditionally been service providers of various kinds.
The colocation giant says these private links to public clouds are a quickly growing business; for enterprises with stringent security and compliance requirements they provide the advantages of using public cloud without the risk of connecting critical networks to the internet. There’s also a reliability and performance benefit, according to Equinix.
Philips, for example, is connecting to AWS, Azure, and SoftLayer from multiple Equinix data center locations, the colocation company revealed in its fourth-quarter earnings report today. Another customer, Walmart, is connecting to Azure.
Most major Equinix rivals in the colocation market – the likes of Digital Realty Trust, CoreSite, and QTS Realty – have introduced similar cloud connectivity services. Major carriers, such as Verizon, also sell private connectivity to public clouds, either from colocation data centers or from on-premise enterprise facilities. There are also several startups, such as Megaport and Console, who have software-defined network platforms that automate provisioning of network links to cloud and other service providers from many data centers around the world.
Equinix sells the links either as traditional cross-connects or through its Cloud Exchange platform, a software-defined networking fabric that allows for greater flexibility for those connecting to multiple cloud providers at once. There are currently more than 500 customers using the platform, an Equinix spokesperson wrote in an email.
In addition to cross-connect revenue (Equinix charges $100 per month for a 1G cloud exchange port and $200 for a 10G one), the deals with cloud providers generate regular colocation revenue, as cloud providers grow their capacity inside its data centers to serve more and more customers, Scott Mills, director of business development at Equinix, said in an interview.
Another benefit is in the ecosystem effect: as more enterprises come on board to take advantage of the private connectivity to cloud, the ecosystem becomes more valuable for other service providers. In addition to cloud companies, a myriad of carriers and managed service providers use Equinix, for whom those enterprises represent potential new customers.
“As we add more and more enterprises, which are key targets for all of that community, the total value of the ecosystem continues to go up,” Mills said.
For now, private connectivity to Salesforce is available at Equinix data centers in Silicon Valley, Northern Virginia, and Frankfurt.