Platform Equinix: Exploring Diverse and Thriving Ecosystems (2)

Part 2 of a 3-part series

In discussing Equinix’s strategy for becoming a $3 billion company by 2014, CEO Steve Smith discussed four “crown jewels” that differentiate Equinix.

One of those crown jewels is our powerful customer ecosystems.

Recently Equinix Executive Chairman and former CEO Peter Van Camp was interviewed by Geoffrey Moore, high tech consultant and author of Crossing the Chasm and Escape Velocity. The interview took place at Equinix Investor Analyst Day 2012.

In Part 1 of this three-part blog series, Van Camp discussed the network and financial services ecosystems.

In Part 2, he explores the importance of who is participating in the ecosystems and the rise of the cloud vertical.

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Moore: One of the things that’s interesting to me is thinking about Equinix in the context of real estate. Normally when you think about real estate, you think about “where.” This is about “who.” It’s who you have in your data center, not just where your data center is. Obviously the two are related to each other, but how do you go about recruiting the magnet client?

Van Camp: Well, I think it’s all about having knowledge of who they are, all about your go-to-market strategy as we talk about how we’ve deployed our sales force. Great examples are really seen in the way we’ve organized ourselves. Today we have four general managers aligned across networks, financial, cloud and enterprise. And every day they get up thinking about what the opportunity is and who are the key customers that need to be in our data center. And then we’ve aligned the sales force along that. So the sales force is going out with a sole responsibility to drive success in those particular verticals.

Moore: So network and financials, we have historical proof points. I always talk about tipping points. I say I can see a tipping point in history, but how do you see one looking forward? So we’re still looking forward to the cloud and enterprise, right? We’re still looking for the tipping points.

Van Camp: The cloud itself and the service providers are attracted to us naturally, for even reasons outside the ecosystem. Global reach– they can get to a market tomorrow, and that market can be anywhere in the world in one of our 100 data centers. They’re critical applications, so reliability is extremely important–they’re revenue-facing. So these things alone make it very attractive for where a cloud service provider is going to deploy.

But what’s really exciting about it with them is direct connect. Other customers have direct access to them and can benefit from that business relationship. What’s fun is the networks started it all. It became a foundation that the financial verticals saw a great deal of value to in how they deployed their infrastructures. They’re interconnecting with each other, and now as the cloud is emerging in our data center, a big user of direct connect to get out to the cloud is actually our financial vertical as they’re doing a major analysis and needing to burst a compute load to run that analysis, It’s just an opportunity to connect across the room and be able to do that. So these verticals are strong in their own right, and they’re actually even melding together, which is a nice thing for our business.

Moore: I was thinking about your enterprise ecosystem. I don’t know if you put this in enterprise or the cloud, but certainly in the digital media world, the advertising networks attempting to connect the media eyeballs with the ads and doing placement in real time–it feels a lot like your financial network years ago. Is that one where you are seeing an interest?

Van Camp: The enterprise itself?

Moore: In particular, I’m thinking around media and advertising and pulling together that ecosystem.

Van Camp: It’s one we’re studying very hard. I would call it an early-days view of what it looks like. But absolutely, it’s another aspect of what’s today classified as an enterprise with us but could become its own vertical if we go to market pursuing it.

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In Part 3, Van Camp provides more insight into Equinix’s strategy and the rise of the Equinix Marketplace.