Last Month's Newsletter   No. 3 | November 2016
North America GAZETTE
DE-CIX Advisory Board Member and Linode Network Engineer, Carl Williams, Talks Global Interconnectivity and Standardization in the Peering Industry

DE-CIX recently sat down with Carl Williams, its new advisory Board Member, and a Network Engineer at Linode, to discuss his perspective on today’s peering ecosystem and the expansion of DE-CIX into North America. In this brief Q&A, Williams shares his vision of the future of peering as well as what he hopes to accomplish in his role with DE-CIX.

1. Could you please give us a brief overview of your professional background, leading up to your role with your current company, Linode?

My career began with a Master of Science in Network Technology back in the late 1980s when the internet was just beginning to expand. Upon receiving my degree, I joined the Sun Microsystems software development team engineering TCP/IP code. Following my time at Sun Microsystems, my professional life took a turn toward telecommunications when I worked with KDDI in Tokyo and Comcast in Philadelphia. At these companies, I was able to leverage my leadership skills and software engineering background to focus on network engineering and internet strategies, helping KDDI and Comcast to further develop their business model to meet customer needs for an open internet. While at these companies, I gained extensive knowledge in next-gen network architecture and strategic design, allowing me to transition to my role as Network Engineer at Linode and assist in the construction of a well-established, globally interconnected cloud with PoPs in North American, European and Asia Pacific markets.

2. How will your experience with peering exchanges help contribute to the work DE-CIX is doing in North America, today?

Given previous needs and requirements, my experience of working with peering exchanges in the past has been from a narrow, regionally-based perspective. Working with DE-CIX has opened an entirely new global perspective as an international peering exchange with focus in individual regions. This has been particularly helpful as Linode transitions from a more regional and isolated background toward international interconnectivity and network collaboration. Since our incredibly positive experience with DE-CIX in Frankfurt, we have promoted and advocated a growing presence in the United States, in particular, at the heart of network deployments in New York City. Expanding further into North America will help them deliver the promise of global interconnectivity and we are committed to assisting the expansion of these available opportunities.

3. What are some of the things you are excited about accomplishing for DE-CIX in this new advisory position?

I’ve been working in IT since the mid-1990s, and if I’ve learned anything, I can tell you that where there are new applications and deployments, there will be gaps in security and issues with features that will require standardization. From Linode’s experience in the internet community, we have the unique ability to identify and provide feedback from the perspective of standards organizations for internet protocols. I’m looking forward to working with DE-CIX on identifying existing gaps as well as providing input to help drive standardizations for their network engineers. In addition, I hope to provide helpful feedback regarding potentially advantageous locations for new DE-CIX PoPs.

4. How would you say the peering exchange industry has evolved over the past 10 years?

What do you think has made it, and specifically DE-CIX NY, grow as rapidly as it has thus far? In the past, independent networks existed at the same location, making it very easy to connect to a switch using direct connectivity, rather than route over the internet via transit providers. The peering technology we see today has experienced exponential growth, evolving from a simple switch to a complex peering fabric with high redundancy and a vast number of connected networks. DE-CIX has now taken this advanced peering model and further expanded it to other regions around the world including New York City. A key reason why I think DE-CIX has been able to evolve so rapidly is its exceptional leadership as well as the quality of its staff. The leadership and staff have been able to expand the platform to new markets and provide networks with the ability to interconnect with both regional and global networks that aren’t just limited to New York and Frankfurt.

5. Please provide some advice for our Newsletter readers regarding the future landscape of the industry and what you believe contributes to the success of companies in this sector.

I believe that peering systems as global and pervasive as DE-CIX are allowing and enabling an ecosystem of network interconnection and collaboration that drives the future of network connectivity and traffic exchange. The DE-CIX platform provides new ways to connect with networks at low-cost, providing a reliable platform for companies to expand their connectivity and reach new customer markets. I’m looking forward to working with DE-CIX on that perspective: To take this ecosystem and build upon it using creativity, innovation and collaboration.