Undeterred by Brexit uncertainty, UK businesses continue to invest in IT infrastructure at the digital edge


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.

A separate survey commissioned by Equinix, including more than 2,450 global senior IT professionals, also found that almost half (48%) of global IT decision-makers believe interconnection is a key facilitator of digital transformation. 4 in 10 IT decision-makers in EMEA feel the same and, in the UK, over a third (33%) of IT decision-makers cite interconnection as being key to the survival of their business.

Companies are continuing to invest in this critical infrastructure, with almost half (49%) of IT decision-makers in the UK stating that any uncertainty around the final Brexit deal has not impacted their company’s decision to invest in IT infrastructure.

“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 analysed in these new locations is contributing to a major shift away from deploying IT in traditional corporate data centres. Enterprises need access to robust, modern data centre 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 Europe 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). Expansion plans across the world, according to the survey, tell a slightly different story with 55% of EMEA businesses – and 42% of UK businesses, specifically – planning to expand in to new metros, versus more aggressive expansion plans in other regions (Americas 69%, Asia-Pacific 65%). 6 out of 10 (62%) IT decision-makers globally, and over half (53%) in the UK, are utilising virtual connections to support these growth plans.

The report included the following key findings:

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

  • The independent survey found that over a third (34%) of IT decision-makers in the UK, believe interconnection can help their business to gain competitive advantage within the marketplace. This assertion was true for almost half (46%) of global IT decision-makers and for 4 out of 10 (39%) IT decision-makers in EMEA.

Distance is the biggest performance killer for digital business

  • Deploying direct, private connections at the edge propels both application performance and user experience.
  • According to the survey, a quarter (25%) of IT decision-makers in the UK are using interconnection to increase speed of connectivity. This compares to a finding of almost a third (31%) in EMEA and over a third (34%) globally. To add to this, 6 out of 10 (60%) IT decision-makers in the UK are using interconnection to improve security and half (50%) are using it 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 forinterconnection bandwidth and is expected to grow 4x by 2022. According to the survey, optimising the performance of networks is a key priority for almost half (46%) of IT decision-makers in the UK.
  • 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 over a third (36%) of IT decision-makers in the UK.
  • 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.

Commenting on the findings, Sachin Gupta, Senior Vice President, Product Management, Enterprise Networking Business, Cisco, said: “As enterprises embrace the imperative of digital transformation, they increasingly adopt multiple cloud-based applications to meet their objectives. This places pressure on the network to deliver a fast and secure application experience to users located anywhere in the world. With both applications and networks becoming more distributed, enterprises today will continue to require a low-latency, interconnected architecture to securely connect end users with business-critical applications.”

Russell Poole, Managing Director, UK, Equinix, added: “With Brexit looming, businesses in the UK are continuing to forge ahead with plans to invest in IT infrastructure, as new technologies, such as AI, IoT and the soon-to-be launched 5G network, promise a rapid increase in data being created, consumed and shared.

“The results of this survey demonstrate almost half (45%) of businesses in the UK are prioritising moving their infrastructure to the digital edge as part of their organisation’s technology strategy, in turn facilitating interconnection between new and existing partners, and customers around the world. Regardless of the potential impact of the UK’s departure from the EU, having a strong digital infrastructure in place, is crucial to the success of a business.”



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