In the last installment of our network-as-a-service (NaaS) series for the Federal Government, Don Wiggins talked about a state of nirvana, where a ‘service-chained’ digital ecosystem of providers integrate and enable their services on a carrier-neutral platform. This is a one-stop shop for any digital solution/service government agencies may need. It is where agencies can leverage a ‘neutral aggregator’ to find, procure and deploy local, regional or global digital infrastructure in minutes versus months.
This is the type of business model that we’ve curated on Platform Equinix® for Government agencies who just want to cut through the red tape and deploy the foundational infrastructure building blocks they need to efficiently and cost-effectively carry out successful missions. And as we previously discussed, the cloud ecosystem is increasingly moving to a hybrid model at the edge to leverage critical on-premises physical and virtual resources such as network, compute and storage as a service.
So, how can you best leverage this plethora of service providers’ solutions to best optimize your hybrid digital infrastructure?
Inside hybrid digital infrastructure ecosystems
Looking inside the interconnected, hybrid digital infrastructure ecosystems on Platform Equinix you’ll find three major classes of providers:
- Network Service Providers (NSPs): These are the GSA Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) and/or GSA Networx contract holders.[i] They are companies such as Verizon, AT&T and Lumen with large Federal business practices, robust specialized sales teams, and extensive Federal industry knowledge and incumbency in Government agencies. EIS providers primarily handle telecommunications and network services and have launched the following network modernization services: SD-WAN, Ethernet, IPv6, IP Voice and Traditional Trusted Internet Connections. Use cases include network transformation initiatives, optimizing agency connectivity to mission partners and supporting a distributed infrastructure as seen in the diagram below.
- Systems Integrators (SIs): Major technology companies such as Dell, Cisco, and cloud services providers such as AWS, Google and Microsoft triangulate with large system integrators such as GDIT and Leidos to develop and sell their own offerings. These SI partners provide common solutions that are often repeatable across government agencies but may often be customized to an agency’s specific requirements. Use cases are often broader in scope and in support of a total solution and can include network transformation, hybrid multicloud integration and business continuity (shown in the diagram below) and data center optimization, which can include hyperconverged infrastructure.
- Managed Service Providers (MSPs): MSPs bring a variety of government contracting options and a value-added services that help agencies reduce fragmentation in their acquisition approach, as well as bring cohesiveness to their solution integration. Some MSPs, such as WWT, may overlap some service offerings with SIs, but don’t often maintain the people-based skillsets and services that SIs can deliver. Key contracts with MSPs are NASA SEWP, DHS FirstSource and HHS CIO SP/CS. MSP use cases are often similar to those with SIs, however, MSPs also provide their own components and specific services based on an agency’s specific requirements.
Leveraging hybrid digital infrastructure ecosystems on Platform Equinix
We are working with Federal Government agencies to help them align with these NaaS, SI, and MSP ecosystems. As a vendor-neutral provider, Equinix provides a one-stop shop through AI-based services, such as the Equinix Marketplace, where more than 10,000 global and regional technology buyers and sellers come together to create digital infrastructure from the core to the edge on Platform Equinix®.
Vibrant interconnected ecosystems live at Equinix today and broadly serve all of the government agencies around the world.
Interconnected Ecosystems on Platform Equinix
Equinix Fabric™ acts as a hub to integrate these ecosystems together across our global platform, making access to ecosystem services seamless, regardless of geography. This integration is accomplished via direct and secure software-interconnection, where multiple virtual connections can be dynamically deployed through a single, physical port. This means that government agencies can create hybrid digital infrastructure with multiple ecosystem partners and cost-effectively aggregate and scale its connectivity at software speed. It also means that they can integrate new digital technologies faster such as cloud, 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) and much more.
As we dive down into the NSP ecosystem, Network Edge services from Equinix allows agencies to deploy virtual network functions (VNF) devices (SD-WANs, virtual routers, VPNs, SASE and firewalls) from leading vendors such as Cisco, Palo Alto, Fortinet and Versa. Agencies can remotely deploy virtual appliances in minutes, rather than months, without placing additional hardware onsite.
System Integrators can leverage multiple Equinix interconnection and edge services on Platform Equinix to integrate them with their own solutions. For example, both Dell and Pure Storage leverage Equinix Metal™ to deliver on-demand infrastructure-as-a-service to their customers. And Equinix Precision Time™ delivers secure, reliable and precise time synchronization across all digital infrastructure components.
MSPs can leverage the software-defined capabilities of Equinix Fabric to integrate Network Edge and Equinix Metal capabilities, along with cloud, network and other foundational digital infrastructure building blocks into their customer management services.
Integrating hybrid IT on a single, global platform
These comprehensive, integrated hybrid IT solutions are becoming far more ubiquitous than à la carte point products or services. For example, as more Government missions require digital infrastructure at the edge or out at the last mile, you can leverage a peering ecosystem of NSPs to remotely access multiple clouds (private or public) as if they were local and have your choice of MSPs to manage them from end-to-end.
And these interconnected ecosystems live inside and out of the U.S., across our global footprint of 229 data centers in 63 markets across 26 countries on 5 continents. So even if your agency has traditionally gone with one or two partners, you can multiply that value exponentially with the interconnected, hybrid digital infrastructure ecosystem on Platform Equinix.