SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Open Networking Summit -- From its position as an exchange provider, Equinix has something of a unique view of telecom's current transformation process. And that view is changing dramatically from the network side, CTO Ihab Tarazi said here this week.
After investing heavily in its Cloud Exchange to provide automated connections into the major cloud providers, including Amazon, Google and Microsoft, Equinix is now seeing groups of network providers also create application programming interface (API) frameworks to allow direct connections into their networks, Tarazi said in an interview, following his keynote address here. He calls it "the next architecture of peering."
"Now you will have peering of networks and clouds, all based on a programmable SDN interface," he said. "That means you will have end-to-end visibility, control, security. You can schedule workloads, this is a whole new world. But it is inevitable -- everybody is going cloud-based architecture that is elastic and programmable, and we will continue to serve our function as the place where they all meet."
Coming together in larger groups gives network operators the weight of a major cloud provider and enables connections an individual operator might not command, he said. And while not disclosing any immediate plans to join these open API consortia, Tarazi said Equinix is looking carefully at things such as the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) and the Next Generation Enterprise Network Alliance (ngena) , among others.
"This is a big change for the industry," Tarazi said. "At last year's event, everyone was talking about it hypothetically. A year ago AT&T was talking about [making ECOMP open source], now they have an open source framework that is usable, available through the Linux Foundation, that's a change. These other consortiums have an architecture; an API stack we can look at."
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In building Cloud Exchange, Equinix incorporated the APIs of the major cloud players to enable direct access to their clouds, using SDN technology as the underpinning for automated activation of capacity on Cloud Exchange, he explained. Tarazi said the company continues to invest heavily to keep those APIs up-to-date and add connections in new markets, as the cloud providers build out their edge networks.
Today, Cloud Exchange offers direct connections to the major cloud providers in 21 markets globally, with additions being made regularly, he added.
"The unique value we have is that when you come to one of these markets, you... can connect to the vast majority of clouds in the same location," Tarazi said. "That is important because most of the new services people are doing today require multi-cloud and hybrid cloud, but you also want very good performance and you also need automated and direct connections to these multi clouds and to be able to move data between them and your private deployment."
Equinix is also doing some fascinating things with open source hardware, based on its participation in the Open Compute Project and the Telecom Infra Project, so stay tuned for more information to come on that aspect of its evolution.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading
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