Meet Equinix: Rodney Elder, Global Solutions Architect | Making Open Interconnection Solutions Possible

rod-elder-2The Equinix family is made up of employees who bring a rich and diverse set of skills to help our customers solve business and technology problems with innovation solutions. This month, we turn our “Meet Equinix” spotlight on Global Solutions Architect Rodney Elder, who came into the technology industry after spending four years in the United States Air Force.

At the age of 17, Rod enlisted and worked as a communications command and control technician. He was then recruited to work in the data center of a global oil company, which he said was like being a “kid in a techno candy store.” Prior to coming to Equinix, Rod worked for an Ethernet service provider and learned to appreciate both the enterprise and service provider sides of the industry.

Rod lives in the Chicago area, where in his off-time, he races cars and plays competitive soccer. He spoke to Interconnections about his customers’ hyper-paced, innovative Internet of Things (IoT), cloud and media environments where “the most important component of everything is interconnection.” He also discusses how enterprises are moving to more industry-standard, “open” interconnection solutions.

What are the top challenges that you are helping your customers solve today?

Today’s customers are challenged with designing a global network infrastructure that can handle new business opportunities. In particular, they need an agile and robust network infrastructure that can handle multiple and simultaneous cloud projects.

Is there a specific industry that is leading the way?

I am working with multinational network and mobile media firms that are using our global reach to strategically place network edge concentration and distribution capabilities in Equinix facilities to meet their customers’ demand for capacity, access to content and private/public cloud solutions.

How is this different from past approaches?

Traditionally, multinational networks focused on enterprise-owned, asset-based services, and these firms’ innovations are upending legacy philosophies. Because they have placed strategic assets at the edge of their corporate networks where they have access to multiple cloud services, they are now rapidly adopting and integrating customer solution demands nearly in real time. What used to take months of solution development, testing, deployment and staging is now being done in weeks or days using flexible, highly robust and secure environments. The result is that these companies are accelerating service order to revenue capture.

What are some developing trends within your customer base?

Customers are actively developing and adopting technology solutions that are open, flexible, agile and extensible. These trends are being discussed at events such as Open Compute Project (OPC) 2016. Many Equinix customers are OCP members and have presented design requirements and reference engineering specifications.

Customers are also investing in standards-based service implementation and orchestration like the work being done in the MEF Forum on lifecycle service orchestration (LSO). This is an agile approach to streamlining and automating the service lifecycle for coordinated management and control for delivering end-to-end connectivity service (e.g., carrier Ethernet, IP VPN, or MPLS). The key outcome from these initiatives is an ability to rapidly scale and deploy the underlying network service solutions necessary for critical projects like IoT.

Can you give us an example?

Sure – say a manufacturer requires a private, dedicated network solution between an IoT gateway at its advanced manufacturing facility and its technology partner’s IoT platform that is hosted in the cloud. Going over the public Internet does not meet the chief security officer’s security guidance. Instead, the manufacturer’s network service provider uses an advanced end-to-end connectivity service to effectively provide a private, highly secure IoT interconnection solution that leverages the Equinix Cloud Exchange. Each of these elements is critical to the success of both enterprises and network service providers.

The OCP trend coupled with LSO standards are allowing customers I’m working with to innovate at rapid pace and obtain agile and robust network infrastructure enabled by Platform Equinix.

Meet more of our GSAs and learn about the work they are doing with our global customers:

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