Equinix this week is celebrating the first anniversary of its Packet acquisition by launching new features for Equinix Metal, the bare-metal-as-a-service offering that resulted from the $335 million deal. The enhancements focus mostly on hybrid cloud and DevOps use cases.
Equinix Metal, built on top of Packet's platform, provides access to bare-metal servers housed in Equinix data centers. That offering alone made Metal stand out in a world where most other IaaS platforms focus on virtual servers and lack the far-flung reach of Equinix's global data center network.
Perhaps most interesting, especially for businesses looking for alternatives to conventional public clouds, is the addition of native Equinix Metal integrations with Mirantis Container Cloud and Cohesity. The former is a Kubernetes-based platform for deploying containerized applications, and the latter is a multi-cloud data management solution.
The integrations are meant to make Metal easier to use as part of modern multi-cloud environments. Equinix even said they would introduce a "DevOps-friendly approach for seamless deployment.”
It's arguably a bit much to point to Kubernetes and data management integrations alone as the ticket to a DevOps-friendly bare-metal-as-a-service. But the company said this was just the beginning. "We expect future additions by other partners throughout the rest of the year," Jacob Smith, VP of strategy for Equinix Metal and a Packet co-founder, told DCK.
"We continue to invest heavily in our open source ecosystem, especially with Terraform and Kubernetes," he added.
Integrations with DevOps-centric platforms like these won't exactly turn Equinix Metal into a public cloud in its own right. But they will make it much easier to deploy the same types of workloads on the platform that many businesses currently host on public clouds like AWS and Azure -- or to build hybrid environments that deploy some resources to public clouds and others to bare-metal Equinix servers.
Metal in More Data Centers
Equinix also announced this week that it has expanded Metal to a total of eighteen metropolitan regions in North America, Europe, and Asia (from around 10).
Combined with full support for Equinix Fabric, which offers speeds up to 100G, the expansion of Equinix Metal's data center availability increases its appeal for hosting edge workloads.
"It’s often said that the edge 'is at the Equinix' due to the large concentration of networks, clouds and other ecosystems that interact at regional Equinix data centers," Smith said. "Equinix Metal provides programmatic access to 18 key global locations and unlocks interconnection through our native integration with Equinix Fabric."
Here again, the expansions give Equinix Metal a leg up over public clouds, which don't offer so many data center locations, certainly not with the broad bare-metal options of Equinix.
On the whole, the Equinix Metal updates unveiled this week are small in scale, amounting to a few new data center locations and a few new integrations.
But the bigger takeaway lies in what these additions say about Equinix's strategy. They underline the company's goal of building a bare-metal-as-a-service solution that offers the same performance and seamless deployment experience as public clouds but with levels of geographic reach and network performance that public clouds can't match.
While it’s hard to imagine many organizations moving their workloads from the public cloud to something like Equinix Metal entirely, many will view the latter as an attractive addition to their hybrid cloud or multi-cloud environments