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Private connectivity at the Edge to grow by over 50% annually across EMEA

Global market study and independent survey shows companies are leveraging interconnection to compete in the digital economy as data explosion gets further distributed at the edge.

Cybersecurity and better customer experience, top focus points for UAE organisations The ability to exchange large volumes of data through interconnection is essential to compete in the digital economy Distance is the biggest performance killer for digital business

The latest Global Interconnection Index (GXI), an annual market study published by Equinix, predicts private connectivity at the edge will grow by 51% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), and exceed a total bandwidth capacity of more than 13,300 Tbps, equivalent to 53 zettabytes of data exchanged annually. This is enough to support every person on earth simultaneously downloading a complete season of Game of Thrones in ultra-high definition resolution in less than a single day. 

The GXI market study finds interconnection bandwidth – the capacity for direct and private traffic exchange between key business partners – is an essential component to digital business and validates that to compete in the digital economy, companies must address growing data volumes and increasing data exchange velocity across a rising number of clouds and business ecosystems. In fact, according to a separate independent survey commissioned by Equinix of more than 2,450 global senior IT professionals, almost half (48%) of global IT decision-makers believe interconnection is a key facilitator of digital transformation. 

The independent survey also reveals that in the UAE, 7 out of 10 (70%) IT decision-makers think interconnection is a key facilitator of digital transformation, with over two-thirds (68%) of IT decision-makers using interconnection to reduce the cost of connectivity. The survey also touches upon the priorities of UAE organisations that dictate their technology strategies. According to the findings, over three-quarters (77%) of IT decision-makers consider improving cybersecurity as a top priority for their organisation’s technology strategy, followed by 73% who consider improving customer/user experience to be the priority.

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“People, software and machines are creating and consuming data faster and in all the places where we work, play, and live,” said Rick Villars, Research Vice President, Datacenter & Cloud, IDC. “The significant increase in data created, aggregated and analyzed in these new locations is contributing to a major shift away from deploying IT in traditional corporate data centers. Enterprises need access to robust, modern data center facilities near the edge locations where businesses want to deploy dedicated infrastructure and interconnect to the increasing number of clouds, customers and partners that are at the core of digital transformation efforts.”

Strong data compliance regulations across EMEA are unlocking data exchange and growth of interconnection bandwidth in Healthcare & Life Sciences, Government & Education, and Business & Professional Services. This is leading Europe (51% CAGR) to overtake North America (46% CAGR) in the race to digital growth. Latin America is leading the charge with a 63% CAGR, with Asia-Pacific not far behind (56% CAGR). When asked about moving functions to the cloud, over three-quarters (76%) of UAE IT decision-makers think their organisation will move more functions to the cloud, hoping that the transition will occur in the next 12 months. Two-thirds (66%) of IT decision-makers plan on moving databases onto the cloud.

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Key Findings:

The GXI Vol. 3 delivers insights by tracking, measuring and forecasting growth in interconnection bandwidth—the total capacity provisioned to privately and directly exchange traffic, with a diverse set of partners and providers, at distributed IT exchange points inside carrier-neutral colocation data centers. The GXI finds:

The ability to exchange large volumes of data through interconnection is essential to compete in the digital economy

  • In response to rapidly growing volumes of data, enterprise consumption of interconnection bandwidth will grow at a 64% CAGR globally, outpacing other forms of business data exchange. This is due to be even higher for EMEA, with consumption growing at a 67% CAGR, leading enterprises to account for 60% of total interconnection bandwidth in 2022.

  • To manage increasing volumes of data, enterprises are on average deploying in nine locations, with a total of 340 interconnections to networks clouds and business partners. The survey shines more light on this – IT decision-makers in EMEA are utilizing interconnection to connect to other enterprises (25%, UAE – 32%), network service providers (31%, UAE – 32%) and cloud service providers (26%, UAE – 31%).

  • The independent survey found that nearly two thirds (66%) of IT decision-makers in the UAE believe interconnection can help their business to gain a competitive advantage within the marketplace.

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Distance is the biggest performance killer for digital business 

  • Deploying direct, private connections at the edge propels both application performance and user experience.

  • Today’s latency-sensitive workloads require response times ranging from <60 to <20 milliseconds, forcing IT infrastructure closer to the points of consumption (the edge).

  • According to the survey, over two-thirds (68%) of IT decision-makers in the UAE use interconnection to reduce the cost of connectivity. 

Leading businesses are gaining competitive advantage using a combination of key interconnection deployment models

  • Interconnecting to multiple network providers across multiple edge locations is the most prominent use case for interconnection bandwidth and is expected to grow 4x by 2022. According to the survey, optimizing the performance of networks is a key priority for over half (54%) of IT decision-makers across EMEA.  

  • Interconnecting to multiple clouds and IT services across multiple edge locations and cloud regions represents the next largest and fastest use of interconnection bandwidth and is predicted to grow 13x by 2022. The move to multi-cloud strategies is cited by respondents to the survey as a priority for almost half (45%) of global IT decision-makers. 

  • Interconnecting to digital business partners for financial services, content and digital media and supply chain integration makes up the remainder of interconnection bandwidth use cases and is forecasted to grow 5x by 2022.

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