Colocation and interconnection giant Equinix reported first-quarter earnings that beat estimates on Wednesday afternoon — the same day that SDN startup Stateless launched its software-defined interconnect platform called Luxon.
Equnix CEO Charles Meyers called it the company’s “best Q1 ever, including the largest revenue step up in our history and our second-best net bookings quarter,” according to transcripts.
Quarterly revenues increased 12% year over year to $1.363 billion during the first quarter of 2019. And interconnection revenues, which also grew 12% year over year, outpaced Equinix’s colocation growth. The company now has more than 341,000 interconnections — direct, private connections that bypass the public internet. During the quarter it added 7,400 interconnections, including 1,900 virtual connections. “We added more interconnections year over year than the rest of the top 10 competitors combined,” Meyers said.
Equinix’s Cloud Exchange Fabric (ECX Fabric), the company’s SDN-enabled interconnection service, had more than 1,500 customers at the end of Q1. Enterprise customers continue to be Equinix’s fastest-growing vertical, and Meyers said new wins during the quarter included Tencent Holdings, Air Canada, a “top-five North American airline,” and Space X.
The company during the quarter completed the globalization of ECX Fabric, enabling customers to establish on-demand network connections between the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. “As I’m out with our sales teams they continue to see ECX Fabric at least as the primary hook for conversations with customers these days, and so very pleased with how that’s playing out in the market,” Meyers said.
It’s a hot market. Interconnection bandwidth will grow to 8,200-plus terabits per second (Tbps) of capacity by 2021 — 10 times the projected capacity of internet traffic — according to Equinix’s most recent interconnection market study. The second annual report projects interconnection traffic will see a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48%. This is almost double the expected 26% CAGR of global IP traffic, and it’s an increase over the previous year’s projections.
And while it competes against other SDN-based interconnection platforms from vendors including Megaport and PacketFabric, Equinix remains the clear market leader.
Stateless Jumps In
Stateless, a Denver-based networking startup that launched in 2017, wants to shake things up. In January, the company emerged from stealth with an $11.3 million Series A funding round. And on Wednesday, Stateless rolled out its first product: a software-defined interconnection platform called Luxon. The platform enables composable Layer 3 network services such as routing, security, and automation to interconnect points.
The startup is targeting colocation providers and has “a handful” of early adopters, although it can’t name them, said Rebecca Warren, director of marketing at Stateless. It doesn’t see its platform as competing against the likes of Megaport or PacketFabric, she added, although it’s worth noting that Megaport recently launched a virtual cloud router that allows businesses to establish private connections at Layer 3.
“We front-end their technology,” Warren said, referring to Megaport and PacketFabric, “and so we see them as partners. We are selling to the colocations providers that are building cloud connectivity products like the one Equinix has.”
ECX Fabric also allows connections to be made with Layer 2 or Layer 3 technology. Luxon’s key differentiator is ultimately its simplicity, Warren said.
The platform is built for multi-tenancy. “With our platform these customized tenant-specific networks are easy to create,” she said. “Since they are all built as microservices, it’s easy to string them together in a way that works best for your tenant.”
It’s also based on a web-scale architecture that allows users to automate services including failover, launching tenant networks, and adding or removing resources as network traffic places more demands on the system.
Stateless’ approach enables all of the individual components to communicate via open Rest APIs, which the company says provides better visibility and control compared to other interconnection platforms.