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Equinix To Support Open Compute Project

Equinix, which operates the largest global colocation of over 100 datacenters, plans to join the OpenCompute Project and implement some of its specs by early next year. Open Compute is a consortium of vendors initiated by Facebook with a large roster of members that include AMD, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Rackspace and VMware.

Ihab Tarazi, CTO of Equinix, said the company hasn't officially announced its plan to join OpenCompute, but it probably won't come as a major surprise to observers since Facebook is one of its largest customers. Tarazi said the decision to participate goes beyond Facebook. "Our model is to support the needs of our customers," he said. "There's a whole community on OpenCompute we're going to support."

Among them is Microsoft, which also has a major partnership with Equinix, among several interconnection partners it announced at its TechEd conference last month. With Microsoft's new ExpressRoute service, the company will provide dedicated high-speed links to Equinix datacenters. Microsoft joined OpenCompute earlier this year, saying it plans to share some of its Windows Azure datacenter designs as part of that effort.

I sat down with Tarazi, who is in New York for a company investor conference. Despite jumping on the standards bandwagon, Tarazi said he agrees with comments by Microsoft Azure General Manager Steven Martin, who in a speech earlier this month said, "you have to innovate then commoditize and then you standardize."

In his speech Marin added: "When you attempt to standardize first and say 'I want you as vendors, customers and partners, to get together and agree on a single implementation that we're all going to use for years and years and years to come,' the only thing I know for sure is that you're going to stifle anything meaningful being accomplished for years."

Tarazi concurred. "Innovation takes off faster if you are not waiting on a standard, which is what Steve was saying," he said. "As long as you are able to still deliver the service that is the best way to go. You have to sometimes go for a standard where it's impossible to deliver the service without connectivity or standard."

There's good reason for Tarazi to agree. Equinix is stitching together its own Cloud Exchange, announced in late April, with the goal of providing interconnection between multiple cloud providers. In addition to Microsoft, which has started rolling out interconnectivity to some Azure datacenters (with all planned by year's end), Cloud Exchange also connects to Amazon Web Services through its DirectRoute dedicated links.

Others announced include telecommunications provider Orange, Level 3 Communications and TW Telcom (which the latter agreed to acquire last week). Tarazi said the company is in discussion with all of the players that have operations in its datacenters. "We have 970 plus networks inside our datacenters," he said. "All of those connect to Microsoft in one way or another."

Though he agreed with Martin that there's a time for standards, apparently Tarazi believes in addition to OpenCompute, the time has come to support the OpenStack platform. "If you want to move workloads between them, we're going to make that very simple," Tarazi said. "Or if you want to have a single connection and get to all of them, that's really doable as well."

Tarazi said Equinix also plans to support the IETF's Network Configuration (NETCONF) protocol and Yang modelling language to ease device and network configurations.


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/25/2014 at 3:06 PM


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