Acquisition of Packet will help company extend its reach beyond the cloud
Data center and interconnect provider Equinix is turning its attention to the edge with its planned acquisition of Packet, a 6-year-old start-up that offers bare-metal cloud services.
The Lowdown: New York City-based Packet has been pushing into the edge space over the past several years, and Equinix officials have said in recent weeks that they intend to put a greater emphasis on the edge.
The Details: The plan is to combine Equinix’s data centers – the company runs more than 200 facilities in more than 55 markets around the world – and its interconnect technologies with Packet’s bare-metal services and edge data centers. The goal is to expand the reach of the company’s Platform Equinix to enable organizations not only to deploy hybrid and multicloud architectures but also to stretch out to the edge.
The edge is getting more attention as the IT environment becomes more distributed, the amount of data being generated outside of the data center grows rapidly, and technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and high-performance applications increasingly require compute, storage, and analytic capabilities to be closer to end devices and systems. Bringing Packet into the fold will enable Equinix to offer enterprises and service providers a single platform they can use to spin up and run low-latency services at the edge through either their own physical deployments or through a combined offering that offers an as-a-service consumption model to drive down costs.
Equinix also says ramping up bare-metal capabilities in Platform Equinix will enable customers to more quickly deploy and scale their digital infrastructures.
Equinix expects the deal to close later this quarter and officials said they will disclose more details after that time. No financial details were released.
The Impact: The global edge computing market is expected to grow 54% a year through 2025, reaching $28.8 billion, fueled in large part by the rise of IoT and the need to rapidly analyze and act on the massive amounts of data it’s generating, according to Grand View Research. The shift to the edge is also giving rise to micro-data centers to reduce latency issues and Data Center Management-as-a-Service (DMaaS) as a way to reduce management costs.
Background: Packet has been pushing out to the edge for more than a year, launching its efforts in September 2018 when it received $25.5 million in funding to in part help kick-start its edge computing network. It also has partnered with such companies as Vapor IO, EdgeConneX, and Sprint to bring its bare-metal services to the edge. The company’s edge vision includes thousands of locations, specialized hardware, and a range of networking options.
For its part, Equinix has been aggressive over the past decade in buying data centers to build out its network of facilities. According to Synergy Research Group, Equinix and Digital Realty have been the largest buyers of data centers over the past five years.
The Buzz: “By acquiring Packet, we are making it easier for enterprises to seamlessly deploy multicloud solutions at Equinix and extract greater value from our rich ecosystems and global interconnection platform,” said Sara Baack, chief product officer for Equinix. “Packet’s innovative and agile bare-metal service, and neutral approach to software stacks, fit our own cloud-neutral model and match our strategy for helping enterprises flexibly deploy digital infrastructure, within minutes, at global scale. Our combined strengths will further empower companies to be everywhere they need to be, to interconnect everyone and integrate everything that matters to their business.”
“We started Packet in 2014 with a vision to redefine the next wave of cloud with a focus on the distribution and automation of fundamental infrastructure,” Packet CEO Zachary Smith said. “This dovetails perfectly with Equinix’s strategy for helping enterprises implement new digital architectures in a growing number of edge locations. The incorporation of Packet into Equinix will accelerate the delivery of enhanced edge services to Equinix’s growing customer base, while continuing to serve the developer community that has come to rely on Packet’s unique offering.”
“We believe in customer choice and strongly support customers selecting the right computing environment that meet their enterprise needs,” said Kevin Ichhpurani, corporate vice president of global ecosystem for Google Cloud. “The addition of Packet bare metal will enable Equinix to deliver even more customer choice, accelerating their digital transformations while connecting workloads seamlessly from on-prem to cloud using technologies such as Google Anthos.”
“Packet has been a critical supporter of CNCF since the very early days, long before the projects we host – including Kubernetes – had become the industry standard,” said Dan Kohn, executive director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. “They have contributed substantial free server resources over the last two years to CNCF’s Community Infrastructure Lab, which has been used to meaningfully increase development velocity for both CNCF-hosted projects and also other cloud-native, open-source projects.”
“To successfully achieve digital transformation, organizations must focus on delivering availability, performance, security, and reliability to a massive set of applications while operating in a cost-effective and scalable manner,” said Susan Nash, senior vice president of strategic alliances for VMware. “The best way to achieve this is through a comprehensive hybrid cloud strategy. Equinix and VMware have partnered for nearly a decade to enable hybrid cloud infrastructures, helping Global 2000 enterprises address the increasing volume and complexity of application workloads and data. The continued expansion of Platform Equinix will further enable our mutual customers to easily and more securely power their applications from the edge to the cloud.”