Here’s a thought I don’t think gets expressed often enough: software developers increasingly call the shots at companies of all sizes. As Stephen O’Grady bluntly articulates in The New Kingmakers (a must-read for anyone in tech), “Developers are the most important constituency in technology. They have the power to make or break preferences, their passions, or their own products.” Of course, if you are a developer yourself or have been working alongside developers, this isn’t news to you. You’ve been witnessing this fundamental shift in the enterprise technology market firsthand.
A few years ago, we at Equinix decided to embrace it and commit fully to figuring out what it means for us as a business. To be sure, we’ve built a very successful company using the traditional enterprise technology vendor model, and we have no intention to move away from it anytime soon. But, as the world changes, the only way to remain successful is to change along with it. One indicator of just how seriously we take this was our $335 million acquisition of Packet, a visionary startup with a clear mission to make developers’ lives easier.
So, what do developers and cloud practitioners mean to Equinix and what does Equinix mean to them? We believe there is a lot developers can do with the global scale, the direct and private connectivity with all the major cloud and network operators in close physical proximity with their infrastructure—it’s often in the same building—and the choice of hardware configurations Equinix offers. All these things hadn’t been accessible to most developers before, at least not directly and not in the way they prefer to access them.
Decisions to lease colocation space where these options are available have traditionally rested with high-level IT and operations managers. Meanwhile, public cloud platforms unlocked access to powerful infrastructure and tools for developers. “Cloud native” software engineers leverage these directly, choosing what works best for them and their applications, including from a plethora of open source tooling. We are focused on unlocking the value of Equinix for these folks in similar ways, through open APIs and integrations with tools they know and love.
The API for Equinix Metal, the dedicated cloud infrastructure that is provisioned declaratively in Equinix data centers located in the world’s major metropolitan areas, is essentially an API for tapping into Equinix’s entire value proposition. It’s the cloud native user experience but with access to infrastructure primitives and low-latency connectivity and bare metal performance the big cloud providers do not offer.
We have invested heavily in growing the number of resources developers can use to interact with our platform the same way they interact with traditional public clouds. Our Developer Relations team, a group of expert engineers who have been at it for years, are relentless in expanding the already robust list of open source infrastructure management and cloud infrastructure client libraries and SDKs for the Equinix Metal API as well as the API for Equinix Fabric, our software-defined networking platform that unlocks access to the Equinix interconnection ecosystem, unparallelled in the volume and breadth of participants.
There are GitHub repositories for managing and deploying infrastructure on Equinix Metal, including a Kubernetes cloud provider and Terraform modules and drivers; for integrating Metal with Kubernetes, such as modules for deploying Anthos, K3s and OpenShift; and for networking and security on Equinix, such as Terraform modules for deploying firewalls, SD-WAN edge devices and Equinix Fabric integration.
The list of third-party solutions integrated with Equinix Metal includes DevOps/orchestration tools, tools for bootstrapping and managing Kubernetes clusters, for standing up and managing hypervisor-based virtualization, cloud networking tools and tools to enable and automate hybrid and multicloud environments.
We have built a library of resources to help developers leverage all these capabilities, from docs and detailed technical guides to video demos and walkthroughs on the Equinix Developers YouTube channel. Our technical blog is full of useful educational content for engineers in the infrastructure space, regardless of whether they are our customers. We also use the blog as a channel for sharing the immense pool of collective Equinix engineering wisdom, providing a unique perspective that combines DevOps, SRE, cloud architecture, networking and physical infrastructure knowledge.
We strongly believe in the value of active participation in the open source community. Most of us have witnessed open source software change the world we live in. We built our core platform and business value using critical open source technologies, from Golang and Ruby to Kubernetes and Postgres. We develop a lot of our own software in the open, putting it online long before it's reached stability or the final phase of its journey. We started and nurtured Tinkerbell, the influential bare metal provisioning project, and we donate infrastructure for many CNCF projects.
Developers and cloud practitioners today are the true warriors of digital transformation, and their influence will only continue to grow. The future of technology is in their hands, and we are here to support them by providing the resources and capabilities they need to build that future.
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