The AT&T Switched Ethernet Service with Network on Demand allows enterprises to add direct connectivity to cloud providers and other companies in Equinix data centers. It also allows customers to scale bandwidth as needed. This type of direct connection is more secure than connecting over the public Internet. Plus, it’s better suited for applications that require high bandwidth and low latency because it brings network connectivity closer to where businesses operate.
It also sounds a lot like a new service Equinix launched in December. Like the AT&T service, the Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric allows data center customers to connect directly to any other Equinix customer on demand. This means businesses can connect their own infrastructure across Equinix locations, or connect to any other customer — including cloud and service providers — on Equinix’s global platform.
Equinix insists the two services aren’t competing for customers. In addition to being partners, AT&T is also an Equinix data center customer. The two companies have been in business together for more than a decade, and in 2014 AT&T became a premier reseller of Equinix’s colocation infrastructure.
The new networking service is simply an extension of the companies’ partnership, said Dale Tucker, senior director, global partnerships and alliances, at Equinix.
“At this point they are complementary,” Tucker said. “They are not mutually exclusive options. Customers have a variety of ways to enable their hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments.”
While Equinix Cloud Exchange is “critical” to enable these environments, AT&T’s Network on Demand is “another flavor,” he added.
When asked about use cases in which a customer would choose one service over the other, Tucker didn’t provide specifics.
“I don’t want to respond to that in a way that sounds like we’re competing,” he said. “AT&T has extensive infrastructure present in Equinix IBX [International Business Exchange] data centers where they are already serving their customers. This service is really an extension of their existing infrastructure. We view it as a complementary investment on the part of one of our very important customers and partners.”
The new AT&T service is available at Equinix data centers in the Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, and Silicon Valley metro areas.
**Update Jan. 23, 2018: Josh Goodell, AT&T’s VP of intelligent edge, provided the following information after the initial publication of this story.
The primary difference between Equinix Cloud Exchange (ECX) and AT&T’s new service is that “the ECX Fabric only connects customers to customers inside Equinix IBX data centers,” Goodell said. “The AT&T Ethernet Network provides connectivity to locations across the United States.”
It gives businesses in Equinix data centers on-demand access to AT&T’s Ethernet network, allowing them to access cloud service providers while connected to AT&T’s secure network. This expansion also enables multi-cloud environments, allowing companies “to utilize one provider for their end-to-end cloud infrastructure, which includes having access to all of their cloud service providers,” Goodell said.
When asked about use cases in which an AT&T customer would use this new service as opposed to Equinix’s Cloud Exchange, he said, “As an example, AT&T customers can connect their headquarters and their Equinix data center with an AT&T Switched Ethernet connection. Or, they could now have on-demand access for all of their sites regardless if they are located in, or outside, an Equinix data center. It isn’t a question of choosing between the AT&T Network or the ECX Fabric, but enjoying the benefits of both.”