Tuesday Jan 30, 2024

Interview: Steve Madden, Equinix VP of Digital Transformation and Segmentation Marketing

Even in a month where Equinix very notably rolled out its fully managed private cloud service for enabling enterprises to easily acquire and manage their own NVIDIA DGX AI supercomputing infrastructure, the better to build and run custom generative AI models, there was yet another, not unrelated, announcement from the foundational provider of colocation data centers and digital transformation solutions. 

It was in the context of the AI platform rollout with NVIDIA that Equinix this month also issued its annual Global Interconnection Index (GXI) 2024 Report, which uncovers digital infrastructure trends driving the decision-making of both enterprises and service providers. 

The Equinix statement announcing managed services for the NVIDIA DGX AI supercomputing platform noted that the service includes the NVIDIA DGX systems, NVIDIA networking and the NVIDIA AI Enterprise software platform. For the platform offering, Equinix installs and operates each customer's privately owned NVIDIA infrastructure and can deploy services on their behalf in key locations of its International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers globally. 

Equinix also emphasized that its NVIDIA DGX service offers high-speed private network access to global network service providers, enabling quick generative AI information retrieval across corporate wide area networks. In addition, the service provides private, high-bandwidth interconnections to cloud services and enterprise service providers to facilitate AI workloads while meeting data security and compliance requirements.

Through its offering of NVIDIA DGX AI supercomputing infrastructure services, Equinix contends that enterprises can scale their infrastructure operations to achieve the level of AI performance needed to develop and run massive models. The company also revealed that early access companies using the service has included leaders in sectors including biopharma, financial services, software, automotive and retail, many of whom are building AI Centers of Excellence to provide a strategic foundation for a broad range of rapidly developing LLM use cases.

As a related study Equinix commissions each year, the operator's GXI Report comprises a survey of global IT leaders to gather insight on what’s behind the digital economy. Based on the study's latest findings, Equinix stated its belief that the industry has hit a tipping point in resourcing decisions, vis a vis the notion that buying dedicated IT hardware now puts customers at a competitive disadvantage. 

For this episode of the DCF Show podcast, Data Center Frontier editors Matt Vincent and David Chernicoff met with Steve Madden, Equinix VP of Digital Transformation and Segment Marketing, to discuss some of the GXI 2024 report's more meaningful findings related to current data center trends and predictions in digital transformation, IT and spending, including the operator's nearly concurrent AI managed services offering.

For instance, the GXI report found that enterprises are growing at a 39% CAGR -- 25% faster than service providers -- reaching 12,908 Tbps of total capacity. DCF asked Madden: Since the global pandemic, how much have enterprises leaned on digital providers to focus on responding to business needs, and does Equinix expect such trends to continue going forward?
Also, the GXI report found that 80% of enterprises will design and run new digital IT infrastructure using subscription-based services by 2026. We asked Madden: What does that mean for data centers? The report also found that by 2025, 85% of global companies will have expanded multicloud access across several regions. We asked: How will data centers best be able to manage such demand? 

In his remarks, Madden pointed out that Equinix has the most cloud on-ramps of any data center operator in the world, and predicted that the majority of multinational enterprises will be multi-cloud connected in multiple regions around the world in the near future. Madden noted that nowadays -- i.e. in the post-pandemic age of AI -- enterprises are looking for strategic partners, not just vendors, in composing their infrastructure, and seek to do so with a set of key providers to help them move more quickly in their digital transformations.

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