Delivering exceptional application experiences is the requirement bar for engaging customers today. As enterprises build and migrate applications to hybrid and multicloud architectures, connectivity takes center stage. After all, latency issues contribute to customer discontent and the potential loss of a once-loyal constituency.

Enterprises must carefully consider and optimize the WAN architecture not only in terms of meeting and exceeding performance requirements, but also to help protect against cyber threats, and meet compliance regulations – all while also reducing overall operational complexity and costs.

To help companies address these challenges, Cisco and Equinix have partnered to offer a seamlessly integrated portfolio of solutions that meet their customers’ high-performance demands, improves user and application experiences, and help reduce the total cost of operations.

Equinix is a specialist in colocation and data centers, with 96 percent of all Internet traffic flowing through its data centers. In fact, Equinix’s 240 data centers in 27 countries provide the footprint companies need to digitally transform at scale.

Cisco is a respected leader in networking, compute, and storage, owning 46 percent of global SD-WAN market share. Among other benefits, this leadership position enables the delivery of deterministic paths to and from cloud providers for any transport to any service—the key to delivering secure, low-latency WAN connectivity.

Together, Cisco and Equinix help our mutual customers deliver secure, high-performance application experiences optimized globally in four core use cases, as shown in Figure 1. These use cases are secure cloud connectivity, distributed WAN architecture, private cloud footprint at the edge, and collaboration services.

Figure 1.  Cisco and Equinix joint enterprise use cases
Figure 1.  Cisco and Equinix joint enterprise use cases

Secure cloud connectivity

Today, many companies use the public Internet to connect their headquarters, branches, data centers, and IoT devices to public clouds and SaaS providers. This approach is problematic because the Internet provides no guaranteed, deterministic path from on-premises data centers to cloud providers and back.

The better answer is for companies to securely connect to the cloud with Cisco SD-WAN over Equinix Fabric. Equinix Fabric is a software-defined interconnection platform that provides direct, private, and flexible connectivity to a service provider, another Equinix customer, or a company’s own infrastructure that is deployed in different locations.

This approach delivers a self- or partner-managed WAN that is essentially faster, cheaper, and more secure with quality-of-service (QoS) commitments, because the connections are private as opposed to alternatives provided by multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) carriers or the internet today.

Distributed WAN architecture

Many enterprises today architect a WAN with a centralized topology running over MPLS circuits connecting to their data center and then backhauling over the public Internet to connect to the public cloud and SaaS providers.

A centralized WAN topology, however, can present several challenges. For one, it’s difficult to deliver QoS guarantees when long-distance data paths increase latency. In addition, bandwidth costs can increase because of long physical distances between endpoints and the data center, along with the incremental cost of backhauling data. Additionally, there can be security risks when a centralized architecture connects with indirect, unsecure access to cloud and SaaS providers over the public Internet. Finally, it can take up to a few months for a carrier to implement a new MPLS connection.

To meet these challenges, a distributed topology with Cisco SD-WAN and Equinix private network can provide site aggregation and decrease the distances between them. This reduces latency, increases bandwidth, saves money, and helps address data sovereignty requirements by keeping data in country. Moreover, data traversing the Equinix backbone can be completely encrypted through Cisco SD-WAN all the way into the customer’s cloud environment, giving peace of mind to customers that their data is always secure when traversing a third-party backbone.

One customer saw a WAN cost reduction of 45 percent year over year running a distributed architecture over SD-WAN rather than MPLS circuits. Meanwhile, the user experience improved as latency decreased 83 percent and bandwidth increased 700%.

Private cloud footprint at the edge

Many companies have discovered that renting public cloud infrastructure is expensive in the long run; they have realized it’s more cost-effective to “own the base and rent the spike.” That said, the distance between private and public cloud infrastructure also matters when deploying hybrid cloud architectures, because distance impacts latency and available network bandwidth.

So consider moving your private cloud infrastructure to the edge in an Equinix data center, physically near your public cloud providers. This approach offers the shortest distance possible between your private and public cloud infrastructure, delivering the highest bandwidth and lowest latencies possible. Equinix offers direct connection options into most cloud providers. This approach also helps you get out of the data center business, because you’re moving your private cloud assets offsite.

Customers can leverage Cisco’s breadth of seamlessly connected products and build private connectivity to cloud infrastructure through a single pane of glass. In addition, Cisco technology can discover any cloud resources that customers want to connect to, and provision Equinix fabric connections to those workloads in the cloud service provider’s environment.

Collaboration services

All this being said, enabling effective collaboration is key to any company’s ability to improve productivity.

To this end, Cisco Webex Edge Connect delivers an improved collaboration experience by providing a dedicated connection between customer premises to Webex, achieved by direct peering through Equinix Fabric and avoiding the Internet. By bypassing and insulating your meetings from the Internet, Webex Edge Connect offers a better user experience enabled by reducing network congestion, packet loss, jitters, and delay.

Seamless integration: Cisco and Equinix

Through the Cisco and Equinix partnership, companies can consolidate operations while bringing users closer to the services they need with the experience they demand.

Sound interesting? Learn more at:

  • Watch the joint webinar: Cisco and Equinix Bring End to End Virtual Firewall Security
  • Visit Equinix at the CiscoLive Booth #1028.


Learn more about the Equinix and Cisco partnership


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Mary Perisic

Partner Executive

Global Strategic Partner Organization