Equinix is one of the largest data centre operators in the world with over 100 data centres in 15 countries. From the very outset in 1998 Equinix has focused on interconnectivity, building network dense, carrier neutral data centres near to major network concentration points.
Equinix provides retail co-location services and a range of intra and inter data centre connectivity options. As a global operator it has worked hard to deliver a single master services agreement for its customers and reliable, consistent installation and implementation procedures that appeal to companies looking for global data centre rollouts.
Their data centres are built to the highest standards, usually at Tier III with extensive physical security monitoring and availability globally of 99.9999%. Most data centres have ISO 90001 and 27001, OHSAS 18001 and SSAE16 accreditation. The newest data centres are also LEED Gold Award certified.
32 markets in 15 countries are covered by Equinix data centres. In Europe there are significant data centre clusters in London (Slough), Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris. There are also datacentres in Geneva, Zurich, Milan, Dusseldorf and Munich.
Already this year 5 new data centres have been opened in London, Melbourne, Singapore, New York and Toronto. With their global network of data centres they claim you can reach any of the major business markets in less than 10 milliseconds.
Equinix fared better than its main co-location rivals Digital Realty, DuPont Fabros and Telecity in the latest Greenpeace Clicking Clean survey. The company has now appointed a senior executive to be responsible for green energy initiatives and to be the main point of contact with Greenpeace. All new data centre builds routinely evaluate renewable and off-grid energy options, although these are often difficult to adopt in the metro areas they tend to frequent. Green energy contracts are also used to reduce their carbon footprint.
Equinix is a public company listed on NASDAQ (EQIX). Latest reported figures show equity funding of $3.16bn and debt funding of $3.46bn. Since its formation Equinix has invested over $7bn in building out its data centre network. At the beginning of 2015 Equinix became a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). This bestows certain tax benefits, but also restricts the amount of services business Equinix can generate.
Equinix has grown through a combination of organic growth and acquisition. In Europe this has included the purchases of Ancotel in Germany and UK based IX-Europe. At the time of writing Equinix has just tabled a £2.3bn bid for European rival Telecity.
Equinix has only had a formal partner programme for about two years. It spent time, effort and money on developing its Platform Equinix and Equinix Marketplace offerings that helped drive the growth of market eco-systems and allowed customers to find and link up and trade with other customers in their data centre environment. Having said that, Equinix new focus on partners has been producing results, most notably with the tie up with Microsoft on direct connection to Azure and also the provision of optimised connections for enterprise customers to run Office365.
Equinix traditional customers have been those whose applications are fundamentally route and switch oriented. This has seen them take strong market positions in Financial Trading markets, Content and Digital Media and Ad-server sectors. However Equinix are keen to exploit the growth of hybrid cloud and make inroads into the Enterprise market whose applications are more oriented towards compute and store. Their relationship with Microsoft, direct connections to public clouds from AWS and others, and the small but strategic acquisition of services consultancy Nimbo, talk to this ambition.
Connectivity and Global Consistency
Equinix investment in its networks, its drive to deliver faster more cost effective connections using cross connects inside the data centre; and ethernet links within metros and to major exchanges and public cloud providers, has created strong demand from customers for whom low latency and high availability far outweigh the desire for low price colocation deals.
Its global footprint and consistent global contractual arrangements have proved important in increasing their Enterprise business amongst customers looking to expand the global reach of their businesses with new cloud and mobile applications.
The current picture looks favourable, but Equinix will need to remain aware of the threat posed to their addressable market by the global ambitions of AWS as well as powerful competitors like NTT and Digital Realty who are flexing their muscles in Europe, or again the nascent, but as yet unrealised threat from the Open-IX movement.