IoT Edge Computing

Equinix Purchases Packet to Bring Bare Metal Provisioning to the Edge

14 Jan 2020 10:07am, by

Global interconnection and data center company Equinix is acquiring bare metal automation platform Packet to boost its interconnected edge services, the two companies announced Tuesday.

The purchase will help Equinix address a growing enterprise user base interested in hybrid multicloud architectures, which the company supports with its Platform Equinix global interconnection fabric.

Specifically, Equinix wants to fold Packet’s expertise in developer-oriented bare metal services into its own interconnection capabilities, easing the way for customers to rapidly deploy digital infrastructure at the edge. Packet has developed a way to automate the provisioning of physical servers and networks without the use of virtualization or multitenancy.

“Packet’s innovative and agile bare metal service, and neutral approach to software stacks, fit our own cloud-neutral model and match our strategy for helping enterprises flexibly deploy digital infrastructure, within minutes, at global scale,” said Sara Baack, Equinix chief product officer, in a statement. A public company, Equinix has 200 interconnected data centers scattered about the globe, and serves early 9,800 enterprise customers, generating over $5 billion in revenue for 2019.

Founded in 2014, Packet has brought in an estimated $5 million in its latest fiscal year. It received $9.4 million in Series A funding from SoftBank, and $25 million in Series B investments led by Third Point Ventures.

Packet did not specifically address the now-exploding market for containers and virtualization, though end users could certainly roll out those services on Packet’s bare metal servers.  In return, the company offered competitive pricing for those not interested in all the add-on features from the competing large cloud providers, as well as access to low-level networking functions (i.e. BGP and Equal-Cost Multipath) typically not offered by these cloud providers.

In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Packet co-founder and CEO Zachary Smith explained the company’s unique philosophy:

Instead of moving up the stack, we would help software innovators build on top of us with automation and consistency. Instead of abstracting users from the raw infrastructure, we would give them direct access and help connect them with new technologies. Instead of defining where the hardware could go, what it looked like and who owned it, we would instead invite the opinion of our innovative customers.

Yet, as a hosting provider, Packet faced an uphill battle competing in a global market where data center real-estate is a must. By its very definition, edge computing requires servers close to the end-users, no matter where they are in the world. Equinix brings that reach.

Fiscal terms of the deal were not disclosed. Equinix expects to close the Packet acquisition by the end of March 2020, subject to the customary regulatory hurdles.

Packet and Sprint on Why Bare Metal is the ‘Lowest-Common Denominator’

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The New Stack Analyst Lawrence Hecht contributed to this report.

Packet is a sponsor of The New Stack.