Discovery turns to Equinix for IOA

Equinix has announced that Discovery Communications has engaged it to create an Interconnection Orientated Architecture (IOA). The company is the owner of a number of TV channels including, among others, the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Eurosport. It is looking for an IOA to enable it to move its digital business to a fully cloud-based distribution model.

David Duvall, Senior Vice President of Infrastructure & Support Services, Discovery Communications
David Duvall, Senior Vice President of Infrastructure & Support Services, Discovery Communications

Like other media companies, Discovery is having to deal with a shift in how its customers consume content. It already has over three billion viewers for its content in more than 220 countries. A few years ago these would have been only through cable, terrestrial and satellite TV. The shift to online and on-demand consumption means it needs an infrastructure that can deliver.

According to David Duvall, Senior Vice President of Infrastructure & Support Services, Discovery Communications: “The cloud is the future for digital media and entertainment – the agility and cost advantages are immense. Once we started our digital journey, it was quickly apparent that we needed a neutral interconnect partner who would enable us to connect our entire ecosystem physically and virtually, allowing us to scale up or down to address current and future requirements. Equinix has been key to Discovery’s success with this digital transformation, and we look forward to expanding our network with Equinix as we grow our global business.”

What is Equinix building for Discovery?

Discovery Communication will co-locate its IT infrastructure in three Equinix IBX locations. It has chosen Ashburn (USA), London (England) and Paris (France) as its first three locations. The success of those locations may well lead to it taking co-location space in other IBX data centres.

As part of this deal the company will consolidate up to 80% of its current IT infrastructure. This includes its back-office support systems, applications and network connectivity. More importantly it will gain access to the Equinix Media Cloud Ecosystem for Entertainment (EMCEE). This is a dedicated platform for global content distribution and Discovery will become the biggest single client on EMCEE.

EMCEE also supports content creation allowing teams to upload and work on content in the cloud. With films crews on location around the world, this will speed up their ability to get content back to editors. It should also lower Discovery’s costs by providing more location access through the Equinix IBX network.

Underpinning all of this is the IOA on Platform Equinix. It gives Discovery access to cloud services and secure direct connections. Both the secure and direct are important. It ensures that footage and content are protected from theft and allows Discovery to take advantage of local cloud access.


It is not clear if this is to be just the first phase of a wider use of Equinix IBX. It certainly makes sense for Discovery to consider locations in South America, Africa, India and Far East. This will allow it to cache content locally and increase its capacity to serve a growing customer base. It will also reduce Discovery’s reliance on the traditional TV content distribution channels. After its recent high-profile spat with Sky in the UK, this will be something that Discovery will want to explore.

Content consumption models are continuing to change. One of the challenges of delivering over online mechanisms is the increasing quality of content. This means ever greater amounts of bandwidth are required to consume and deliver content. By hooking into Equinix IBX and using the EMCEE the company is giving itself the scope to deliver to its growing online audience.

This is another high profile win for Equinix IBX. It will hope to use this to accelerate use of its EMCEE platform with other content creators and media companies.


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