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The Power of Proximity

I’ve spent the last twenty years hacking at the intersection of physical and digital.

Headshot of Zac Smith
Zac SmithGlobal Head, Edge Infrastructure Services
The Power of Proximity

Through computers and then physical networks, I discovered the wide world of software. And yet I always seem to find my way back down to the rabbit hole to hardware. 

As it turns out, I’m not alone.  

The rise of digital “everything” has put an increasingly sharp focus on the various layers that make our software-driven world go. Over the last ten years, the democratizing force of the cloud has invited millions of people into technology through the gateway of software and easy, rapid, direct access to virtualized infrastructure.  And — as we should have expected — these software empowered engineers worked their way in, around, down, and through each and every part of the nice little OSI stack we had organized. Along the way they’ve generally made a number of layers substantially better, faster, and more to their liking. Now an entire generation seems poised to push the boundaries, especially in the lowest layers of technology.

The word I like to use for this is proximity. As the good old Merriam-Webster dictionary describes it: the quality or state of being proximate: CLOSENESS

Synonyms for proximity include adjacency, contiguity, immediacy, and nearness while antonyms include distance and remoteness. Abstraction. 

We Are Connectors

At Equinix, we talk a lot about proximity. Our corporate deck has a slide at the front (right after the part where we make sure you know we aren’t Equinox or Equifax) that talks about the physics of proximity and the power of aggregation. Speed of light kind of stuff.

Physics of Proximity

Proximity and aggregation drive interconnection. This is the easiest way to understand the value at the center of our business: bring together all kinds of networks — from wireless to wireline, corporate to clouds — and provide ways to deploy infrastructure proximate to them.

But in the next wave of technology, I think our passion for proximity has a different and broader meaning that moves beyond networks. Yes, proximity to networks remains incredibly important — I’d argue increasingly so.  But what also matters is the ability to get closer to (and peel away layers of abstraction from) the other areas that help you find special advantage:  

  • Closer to the partners & ecosystems you care about.
  • Closer to the software that you’re innovating with.
  • Closer to the hardware that can secure & power new experiences.
  • Closer to the silicon that can create dramatic new opportunities.
  • Closer to your customers, physically and virtually.
  • Closer to your advantage.

Hyperscale for the Rest of Us

The largest and most innovative companies in the world have been doing this for a while. From wireless to silicon to data center design to undersea cables (and of course all kinds of software innovation across languages, CI/CD, orchestration, and machine learning), the companies we now know as hyperscalers are famous for ripping away layers abstraction and shining a bright light of innovation as each part of the equation is improved, reimagined or done away with. 

What’s different today — as we jump off into a decade of change and incredibly rapid innovation — is that more companies are finding that they too are digital businesses. This means that the ability to be proximate is starting to matter deeply to their success. More companies are looking to be closer to the software, the hardware, the partners, the silicon ... and yes, to the networks that glue it all together.

Our vision at Equinix is to help these digital leaders get closer, move faster, and change the world by providing technology that can move at software speed.

What’s Next?

In a few weeks, we’ll host a user conference called Proximity, showcasing some of the investments we’ve made over the past year and the ways in which we're helping customers, partners, and the ecosystem at large get closer to their digital advantage.  As you might expect from a company that prides itself on "protecting and connecting" the digital world, the vibe will be open and informal, and the content will be varied.  Instead of talking about our products, we’ll focus on demos and showcasing use cases that our customers and partners have in front of them.  

This is a new step for Equinix. While our core value of enabling "proximity" may be the same as it has been for over 20 years, the way in which we're doing it is new. Our platform now allows you to deploy and interconnect foundational infrastructure in minutes, not months. But more importantly, we're helping more people and companies rip away layers of abstraction and find new areas of advantage. 

How can we help you get closer?

Published on

04 February 2021



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