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The role of cloud computing is rapidly advancing to become a platform for innovation. We see enterprises turning to the cloud as a gateway to high-value services, including artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT), to help turn unstructured data into new business insights and bring better customer experiences to market faster.
The importance of a strong cloud connection
For many enterprises, creating a true hybrid cloud environment that seamlessly blends private, public and on-premises clouds is the first stop on this journey. The cloud network plays a particularly important role here, as enterprises need dedicated connectivity that is:
- Fast, to support the rapid transfer of data back and forth between on-premises environments and the cloud without causing bottlenecks. This is crucial for the increasingly data-intensive workloads in AI and machine learning applications and in industries such as financial services and advertising where shedding milliseconds is critical to the bottom line.
- Secure, to protect valuable business data. This often means avoiding exposure to the public internet with a private connection that helps keep a business in control of every hop of the network path.
- Reliable, globally available, consistent and high-throughput between any remote network and cloud environment.
This is where IBM Cloud Direct Link comes in.
IBM Cloud Direct Link is a global access platform designed to provide connectivity to the IBM Cloud. Direct Link provides a high-bandwidth, security-rich and resilient service that connects enterprise workloads and apps from on-premises data centers and existing infrastructure to the IBM Cloud. Over the past few months we’ve been steadily rolling out new features and enhancements to Direct Link while also unveiling new collaborations with data center operators and service providers around the globe.
The expanded IBM Cloud Direct Link Service Provider Program
The IBM Cloud Direct Link Service Provider Program can enable enterprises to select from a robust ecosystem of local and global providers, creating the private connections to IBM Cloud that best suit their needs. Over the past few months, we’ve announced new collaborations across nearly every corner of the world with providers including Colt, BT, Interxion, Megaport, PacketFabric, CenturyLink, and @Tokyo. This builds on our rapidly growing ecosystem featuring longstanding participants including Digital Realty, Equinix and more.
Together with our Direct Link service providers, IBM offers solutions designed to help enterprises securely and reliably access IBM Cloud. We work closely to provide technical enablement and training to help ensure service providers can offer enterprises reliable connectivity to the cloud from anywhere in the world. This gives customers greater choice to select the right provider, speed of service, location and deployment model to create a security-rich, highly available hybrid connection.
Here’s what some of our IBM Cloud Direct Link service providers have to say:
- BT: “Cloud Connect Direct for IBM extends our customer’s network service so they can harness the potential of high-value digital services delivered via IBM Cloud. Businesses benefit from direct connectivity from their MPLS services to IBM Cloud, providing the same reliability, security and performance to the cloud as they enjoy between their sites.” —Keith Langridge, VP Network Services, BT
- Equinix: “As a long-standing participant in the IBM Cloud Direct Link Service Provider program, we’re proud to continue expanding our Direct Link offerings to a growing number of metros worldwide via our Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™. Working with IBM, we deliver expertise and reach to global enterprises of key vertical industry segments while providing a consistent, secure and scalable path to interconnecting and operating hybrid cloud resources around the world.” —Greg Adgate, Vice President, Global Channels & Alliances, Equinix
- CenturyLink: “CenturyLink’s goal in integrating with IBM Cloud Direct Link was to bring a network experience that simplifies and enhances the cloud experience. We empower our customers by offering multiple connectivity models through CenturyLink Cloud Connect Solutions. By enabling both Wavelengths and IP VPN connectivity solutions, on a global basis, we can optimize network architecture for low-latency and high performance for even the most demanding workloads.” —Chris McReynolds, Vice President, Core Network Services, CenturyLink
- Megaport: “Innovative cloud strategies start with dedicated connectivity. As an IBM Cloud Direct Link Service Provider, we provide enterprise customers with on-demand, scalable and secure access to the next-generation services they need for optimizing workloads and gaining a competitive edge. Our collaboration empowers businesses in establishing direct connections across 200+ global locations, reaching hundreds of service providers worldwide and unlocking their potential for growth and innovation.” —Matt Simpson, Head of Global Strategy, Megaport
Feature enhancements and new service options for IBM Cloud Direct Link
Just as the hardware that supports next-generation AI and blockchain apps is evolving, so too must the network connectivity. That’s why we’ve rolled out new feature enhancements to IBM Cloud Direct Link, including additional port speeds to provide even more choice when connecting to IBM Cloud. Speeds ranging from 50 megabits per second to 10 gigabits per second are available, depending on the type of service selected.
To further support multicloud connectivity in a single environment, we also unveiled IBM Cloud Direct Link Connect. This service is ideal for connecting Layer 2 or Layer 3 Wide Area Networks (WAN) directly to tap into the IBM Cloud global private network. This complements our IBM Cloud Direct Link Exchange offering, which is ideal for enterprises who prefer to use an exchange inside of a collocated data center.
With these new enhancements and a rapidly growing global ecosystem of IBM Cloud Direct Link service providers, we’re helping enterprises connect to the cloud regardless of where they are on the journey. Stay tuned for news of more exciting collaborations and continued growth over the course of 2018.
Learn more about the benefits of IBM Cloud Direct Link and get started with the IBM Cloud Direct Link Service Provider Program.