Stefan Raab (@sbraab) has been working in or around the mobile industry for his entire career. He started as a high school intern at a tablet startup testing the use of the RAM, Ardis Information Systems and Cellular Digital Packet Data mobile networks. He worked on Nextel’s mobile Internet service roll out, as well as for Cisco Systems and a mobile satellite service provider. At Equinix, Stefan works with a wide variety of network service providers (NSPs), enterprises and cloud customers. He focuses on helping Equinix customers adopt transformative architectures like cloud and network function virtualization.
Stefan lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Jennifer, and their children, Katrina and Tristan. He is an avid cyclist, runner and skier, and he and Jennifer established and coach a junior mountain bike team.
We asked Stefan to share his experiences working with enterprises, cloud providers and NSPs.
Q: What are the top challenges that you are helping your customers solve today?
Stefan: The majority of my work involves helping customers integrate cloud solutions. As enterprises shift more of their production workloads to the cloud, they are looking for a more reliable, predictable, secure and high-performance solution to integrate these services with their networks.
NSPs need an easy way to add cloud interconnection to their service offerings ̶̶ we show them how the Equinix Cloud Exchange enables them to quickly deliver cloud connectivity to their customers. I like to call it cross connect at cloud velocity. The Internet just isn’t good enough for most customers looking to treat public clouds as part of their corporate data centers. They want direct connections and they want to be able to purchase them in the same on-demand consumption model that cloud service providers offer.
Q: Please tell us about a customer that is demonstrating innovation in their cloud deployments?
Stefan: EarthLink launched EarthLink Cloud Express™ this year, which provides its customers secure, private connections directly from its wide area network (WAN) to the cloud providers. This service is integrated with EarthLink’s management portal that allows customers to visualize the status of their network for greater transparency. We’ve been helping them build their cloud offering to enable that solution. For the launch of its service, EarthLink has worked with our Cloud Exchange API to pass status information directly to its customers. EarthLink is currently planning on further API integration to manage virtual circuits directly from its internal provisioning tools and expedite its customers’ interconnectivity to its cloud services.
Q: What new trends are you seeing develop within your customer base?
Stefan: I’m seeing a big change in the definition of hybrid cloud. It used to be that hybrid meant “own the base, rent the spike” but many customers struggled with how to implement this in practice. What we’re seeing is a trend towards “split applications.” For example, given the traditional three-tier Web application model, customers are keeping their database layer on their existing infrastructure and deploying the application layer and Web front end in a public cloud environment. This enables them to scale more effectively without having to migrate everything to the cloud.
We’re also seeing a trend towards multi-cloud applications. Customers who are already heavy cloud users want to leverage features from multiple cloud providers. Whether it’s avoiding vendor lock-in, taking advantage of commodity Infrastructure-as-a-Service pricing, or leveraging unique Platform-as-a-Service feature sets; having the ability to quickly and easily enable private connectivity to a variety of clouds service providers is an important consideration for any multi-cloud strategy.
A split application approach to hybrid cloud requires high-performance, low-latency, secure cloud interconnectivity. The Cloud Exchange plays a key role in these hybrid cloud deployments.
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