Equinix Metal includes Toronto in first 18 metros, as its first managed appliance-as-a-service solutions also roll out

Equinix Metal launches with integrations from hardware providers Dell and Pure storage, and with software ones from Mirantis Container Cloud and Cohesity Helios, but they expect many more beyond these early adopters.

Andrew Eppich, Managing Director at Equinix Canada

Equinix has made the initial launch of Equinix Metal, its bare metal service that is now fully integrated with Platform Equinix, with the first 18 global metros in which it is available including Toronto. In addition to the platform rollout, and the native integration to the Equinix fabric, Equinix also announced the first as-a-Service infrastructure solutions on the Equinix platform, in collaboration with vendor partners, with Dell Technologies and Pure Storage being the first two out of the gate. The first of what Equinix expects will be many integrations from software vendors were also announced.

The technology that became Equinix Metal came from last year’s $335 million acquisition of a startup called Packet.

“For us, this was the logical next step in helping our customers be more agile,” said Andrew Eppich, Managing Director at Equinix Canada.  “A bare metal service enables harnessing the physical infrastructure at software speed. We are a global platform at all the right places around the world, interconnected to thousands of partners. Equinix Metal creates an infrastructure adjacency to providers already on the platform that let them spin it up quickly in an automated way at software speed, which makes it faster, easier, and automated. It means that cloud or colo is not an either/or issue.”

Step one of this process, Eppich said, was the acquisition of Packet.

“Since the acquisition, this has been available to customers in an isolated sense, in that it was available where Packet was available,” he stated. “However, step two is the integration of this bare metal offering into our fabric. That’s what is new here. The integration with Platform Equinix lets us launch new features, and into new markets, of which Toronto is one.”

Eppich stressed that Toronto being chosen as one of the first metros to have Metal integrated into the platform is a big deal.

“It’s exciting to make this first cut,” he said. “We have equal billing to the likes of London and Tokyo, and are very prominent in the context of this global fabric.” The others include Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, São Paulo, Silicon Valley, and Washington, D.C. in the Americas, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Madrid and Paris in EMEA, and Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo in Asia-Pacific.

Eppich said they expect two types of buyers for Metal.

“One is born in the cloud customers, who understand API architecture and want to create services at the edge that are more valuable because of adjacency to cloud,” he said. “Their developers can build on this bare metal. The second group is enterprises, who would be afforded predictability and security by Metal to get workloads spun up easier in different parts of the world. With this baked into our fabric, customers who already use it to find other network providers now have an easy way to have the infrastructure sitting there as well.”

The new managed appliance as-a-service offerings are the first of what Equinix expects will be many collaborations with OEM, storage, hybrid cloud, hyperconverged and other specialty hardware vendors to deliver as-a-Service solutions that are seamlessly interconnected to the Platform Equinix ecosystem. The first two are an expanded collaboration with Dell Technologies to offer Dell Bare Metal as a Service, and Equinix Metal Storage, Powered by Pure.  The solution with Dell, sold by Dell and delivered by Equinix Metal, combines Dell EMC PowerEdge servers with Platform Equinix in an OPEX-based consumption model. The service with Pure on Metal includes hybrid cloud and DRaaS with Pure FlashArray, high performance, unified fast file and object platform with FlashBlade, and hybrid and edge cloud native container storage with Portworx by Pure Storage.

“Dell has been an important part of the offering going back to the Packet days,” Eppich said. “Pure is the first new partner since the acquisition. They are the early adopters of the infrastructure providers around this offering. The partnerships are not exclusive, but they show the companies’ foresight. We do, however, see other storage providers as future participants within our platform.”

Both of the new software integrations announced are all native integrations available on Metal to support hybrid multi-cloud infrastructures. These include Mirantis Container Cloud, which delivers as a Service containers and infrastructure using Kubernetes or OpenStack, and the Cohesity Helios multi-cloud data platform.

“We are creating a robust open API system to encourage developers to create their solutions on the platform, which in turn becomes more available to those who develop solutions on top of it,” Eppich said. “The ones announced today are early adopters, but we expect there will be many more.”

Finally, Eppich said that the significance of the Metal platform now supporting the full portfolio of Equinix Fabric integration options, including port speeds up to 100G, should not be underestimated.

“It’s not the easiest thing to actually deliver,” he said. “These aren’t off the shelf kinds of integrations. We have over 1000 network services providers and cloud providers on our platform, and we stand by the robustness that makes it easy for them to connect and interact.”

A new “hybrid bonded” network mode has also been added for high availability in hybrid cloud environments.