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By | December 17, 2020

LF Edge Member Spotlight: Equinix

The LF Edge community is comprised of a diverse set of member companies and people that represent the IoT, Enterprise, Cloud and Telco Edge. The Member Spotlight blog series highlights these members and how they are contributing to and leveraging open source edge solutions. Today, we sit down with Justin Dustzadeh, Chief Technology Officer at Equinix, to discuss the importance of open source, collaborating with industry leaders in edge computing, their leadership of the Akraino Public Cloud Edge Interface (PCEI) Blueprint and the impact of being a part of the LF Edge ecosystem.


Can you tell us a little about your organization?

Equinix is a digital infrastructure company. We offer the world’s largest platform of high-quality data centers, including reliable interconnection to ecosystems of enterprises, clouds, networks and IT providers. With our global footprint of 220+ data centers in 26 countries, we currently serve nearly 10,000 customers, including the largest cloud providers, Fortune 500 enterprises and Global 2000 companies. Platform Equinix contains the highest share of public cloud on-ramps and most physically- and virtually-interconnected ecosystems.

Why is your organization adopting an open-source approach?

Consistent with our software-defined-everything vision, we believe in a software-first approach and the vital role of software in enabling the vision of digital transformation as a service. We believe in innovation through collaboration, and the power of the developer community and open-source ecosystems where participants can collaborate to develop software and improve it together.

We have significantly increased our engagements in the developer community and open-source ecosystems, including within the Linux Foundation where we have various technical and leadership roles and are actively engaged to help drive and contribute to a few key projects where we believe we can add value. Our participation within the Linux Foundation includes a Premier (top-level) membership with LF Edge, a Silver (standard-level) membership with LF Networking and a Gold (2nd-top-level) membership with Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

Why did you join LF Edge and what sort of impact do you think LF Edge has on the edge, networking, and IoT industries?

The charter of LF Edge, focusing on establishing an open, interoperable framework for edge computing is well aligned with our vision of the edge. We believe that the edge will be richly-interconnected, with required capabilities for multi-domain, edge-to-multicloud orchestration, potentially spanning devices, access and aggregation networks, interconnected data centers and core clouds.

The diversity of edge use cases, such as IoT, distributed AI, private 5G, radio edge cloud (to name a few), and the corresponding technology and architecture requirements, reinforces the notion that edge will be everywhere and will evolve into an increasingly-complex ecosystem. We strongly believe that a community approach to help define a set of real-world edge use cases and capabilities integrated as blueprints, implemented with modern software stacks and cloud-native technologies, will accelerate the deployment of edge solutions with minimum friction, benefitting users and customers.

What do you see as the top benefits of being part of the LF Edge community?

We see a great synergy between the neutral role of Equinix, as the trusted global platform for reliable, highly-distributed and interconnected edge infrastructure, and the rich ecosystem of hardware, software, connectivity, content and cloud players required to enable various edge use cases. LF Edge is a forum where we can collaborate with many of these players in an open environment and co-develop edge solutions that can benefit from leveraging our infrastructure capabilities in service to the LF Edge community members and our customers.

What sort of contributions has your team made to the community, ecosystem through LF Edge participation?

Equinix has been actively engaged within the LF Edge Akraino community, serving as co-chair of the technical steering committee (TSC) and as project technical lead (PTL) for the Public Cloud Edge Interface (PCEI) Blueprint. Our contributions in the PCEI blueprint include: (i) the definition of the multi-domain architecture for interworking between mobile edge, public cloud core and edge, and 3rd-party edge applications/functions, as well as the underlying infrastructure such as data centers, compute hardware and networks, and (ii) the development of PCEI blueprint implementation for Akraino Release 4 demonstrating the use of edge multi-cloud orchestrator (EMCO, based on ONAP) for onboarding and deployment of cloud-native public cloud edge (PCE) applications from Azure IoT Edge and AWS IoT Greengrass Core on edge compute Kubernetes clusters to show end-to-end low-power wide-area (LPWA) IoT operation using 4G access and virtual evolved packet core (vEPC). We are contributing our lab infrastructure and interconnection resources and have been working closely with Microsoft, Aarna Networks, Intel, Arm, China Mobile and Verizon on integrating and demonstrating the initial PCEI blueprint.

What do you think sets LF Edge apart from other industry alliances?

LF Edge/Akraino is involved in a very diverse set of blueprints targeting enterprises, telcos and clouds while also interworking with other organizations and communities, such as ORAN, 3GPP, CNCF, LF Networking, TIP, ETSI and MEF. There are today over 30 active blueprint projects in Akraino. The breadth and depth of these use cases are unique in the industry, but the most important point is that these blueprints are not built in a vacuum – they align and make use of the upstream code and standards, showing running deployments where these architectures and interfaces are implemented.

How will LF Edge help your business?

We think that the LF Edge community will find it beneficial to make use of Equinix infrastructure and services that can help support edge deployments and applications. These capabilities include our data centers, interconnection fabric providing access to many networks, clouds and customers, bare metal hardware and orchestration and our virtualized network functions.

What advice would you give to someone considering joining LF Edge?

First and foremost, we believe it’s important to be aligned with the vision and charter of LF edge and have a good understanding of the various projects in order to effectively engage with the community and be prepared to contribute, e.g., by providing code or development resources, or integration/lab resources. One of the most remarkable aspects about LF Edge is the level of commitment, dedication and professionalism of the individuals who make up our community. The work being done on creating and demonstrating the blueprints is mainly on a volunteer basis, in addition to our primary jobs. We believe it’s this type of collaborative efforts (which take long hours, patience and trust) that will continue to drive technology innovation for edge computing for the years to come.

To find out more about LF Edge members or how to join, click here.

To learn more about Akraino, click here. Additionally, if you have questions or comments, visit the LF Edge Slack Channel and share your thoughts in the #akraino, #akraino-help, #akraino-tsc and #akraino-blueprints channels.