What do you think about Equinix now ?

In retrospect, Equinix was an incredible ride.

We built something from nothing.

In the early days, Al Avery used to say "Everyone is in sales" and, as much as we don't like it, in a startup everyone represents the company and has an interest in seeing it succeed. We all had to do what we could to help push things along and sometimes that means marketing, researching customer needs and wants, traveling and working with the press, and sometimes helping with sales.

I was personally involved in getting the first customer in the door - Blue Mountain Arts. I was involved in getting the first marquee customer (Yahoo!) in the door as well as the Tier 1 ISPs and the cable companies. I learned how and when the colocation centers made sense to these demographics which helped in getting the additional customers in the door.

I also learned about the challenges in launching a new exchange point, a stage I call "The Startup Hump" in The Internet Peering Playbook: Connecting to the Core of the Internet." I admire the early crew at Equinix because, as hard is it may be for the Equinix sales people to hit their quota today, it was harder when there is there is nothing to sell - no building, no customers, no one to peer with, no fiber providers to provide access into the building. There was no value in being in the building on day one ... now try and sell that first customer in !

When I cashed out my stock options in May 2008 the Equinix market cap was $3.6B and the company had grown well beyond the startup that I was comfortable working in. From 2008 Equinix has continued to grow at an amazing clip, organically and also through acquisitions (IX Europe, ancotel, etc.).

So, I think Equinix is a much different company from my fondest early days of working there, but I am really happy about the experience I had working there.

I hear the occasional gripes about prices, the quality of service received, about how the big bad 800 pound gorilla has grown arrogant, how it commands a premium because of its network density, how it doesn't bend over backwards for its early customers anymore, etc. the sort of stuff people say about the largest in any field. There were some of those comments heard when I worked there as well. There does seem to be this increasing gap between customer expectations and the service delivery, and this gap seems to grow as the leader in the industry grows, and I haven't figured out why that tends to happen. Maybe it is a focus on growth versus customer attentiveness.

The other thing I see is that the successful Equinix IBXes (ones at critical mass) seem to continue to command a premium, and this has resulted in campuses of competing data centers around its periphery. Customers can then get data center space for their servers for $500/rack and get dark fiber to their minimal router presence at the IBX and leverage the network diversity there. This is the Network Umbilical tactic that I describe in the book. It actually is better for Equinix when these server farms move out of the building - it frees up space for network devices that need that network density. The more networks in the building, the more valuable the real estate. I would expect to see the prices there, in both Equinix IBXes and the umbilical data centers, to continue to rise.


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The 2014 Internet Peering Playbook is now available on the iPad at the Apple Store and for the Amazon Kindle. The Kindle, ePub and PDF form are also perpetually updated on the DrPeering DropBox share.