‘Digital overdrive’, as bandwidth grows 44% a year, Equinix

‘Digital overdrive’, as bandwidth grows 44% a year, says Equinix

21 October 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Many companies have gone into what Equinix calls “digital overdrive”, moving four times faster than pre-pandemic levels.

The data centre company’s fifth Global Interconnection Index reports this week that the pandemic has accelerated digitisation, especially into multiple regions, multiple edge locations and multiple clouds.

Russell Poole (pictured), managing director of Equinix’s UK operations, said: “There is now a real sense of urgency, with companies significantly accelerating their digital transformation to meet the increasing demand for the real-time transfer, storage and processing of data.”

Equinix reported that “what might have taken two years is now achievable within six months”, because of the pandemic.

The report forecasts that overall interconnection bandwidth, the measure of private connectivity for the transfer of data between organisations, will reach 21,485Tbps, or 85 zettabytes, a year by 2024.

This is compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44% over a five-year period.

Equinix’s survey says that Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris will be the top locations in Europe for interconnection bandwidth growth by 2024. London, representing the biggest core metro, is expected to grow at a 45% CAGR, contributing 1,735Tbps by 2024. This bandwidth is almost three times higher than Paris, more than twice the that of Amsterdam and double that of Frankfurt.

Frankfurt is forecast to contribute 878Tbps, Amsterdam 767Tbps and Paris 614Tbps, says Equinix.

This further cements London’s position as a strategic interconnection hub for digital businesses looking to compete on a global scale, said Equinix, despite the UK’s departure from the European Union and disruption brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company said that “close to 30% of enterprise infrastructure globally deployed in carrier-neutral facilities has moved to the edge”.

Service providers are also expanding at the edge, growing their edge infrastructure twice as fast as their core infrastructure, enabling them to support increasing demand from enterprises.

London is the leading metro in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for nine out of 12 industries measured, reliant on interconnection. These include cloud and IT services; banking and insurance; securities and trading; and business and professional services.

Manchester is the only other UK city included in the top ranks, appearing once in fourth place for the wholesale and retail segment.

Worldwide, the public sector, healthcare and life sciences, industrial services and transportation industries are expected to experience the fastest digital infrastructure growth, which is forecast to drive a 48% or more CAGR in interconnection bandwidth from 2020 to 2024 globally. These industries were previously lagging in interconnection adoption but are now leading in interconnection growth rate as a result of the pandemic.

Claire Macland, Equinix’s senior VP of marketing, said: “While Covid has forced businesses to innovate in many ways, by both expanding existing and introducing new digital services, the infrastructure underpinning these services must keep pace.