Equinix: Accelerating customers' digital journeys with API management

About Equinix

Equinix brings together market leaders and innovators on a single, global interconnection platform. Strategically positioned with industry-leading data centers, Equinix helps customers globally deploy infrastructure and services while directly and privately interconnecting to their most important clouds, services, and networks.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States

Equinix simplifies global interconnections for customers using the Apigee API management platform.

Google Cloud Results

  • Exposes 70+ APIs, creating new business models and revenue streams
  • Processes more than 8M API calls quarterly through Apigee API gateway
  • Increases organizational flexibility and introduces new distribution channels for internal and external APIs

Users on Apigee developer platform up by 400% in a year

Equinix operates a global network of more than 100 interconnected data centers with a 99.999 percent uptime record. Helping its customers bridge the connections they need for their businesses has made Equinix one of the global leaders in co-location services for more than 17 years.

Transforming data center connectivity with API-first thinking

In 2013 Equinix set out to transform its approach to business after realizing that most of its products didn't have APIs in place. For those APIs that did exist, the company didn't have any kind of centralized management or standardization. Policies were different for each API, and every team inside the company took a different approach to developing and managing them. Equinix needed a solution that would streamline and standardize the development process and enable it to apply global security policies. At the same time, any API platform that it adopted would have to be relatively easy for developers to work with.

"Anything that we wanted to customize or build on top of the Apigee platform, we could do it in no time with the platform's robust configuration and customizable framework. We track feature requests from customers and use them to make required configurations to the Equinix API platform. It's so easy."

Ramchandra Koty, Director of Engineering, Equinix

Equinix decided to implement a full-featured API management platform to enable all of the company's existing products with centrally managed APIs. After evaluating several solutions, the company quickly narrowed down the choice to two solutions and ultimately chose the Apigee API Management Platform from Google Cloud.

Ram Koty, Director of Engineering at Equinix, along with his team, ran a rigorous evaluation process when deciding which API solution to adopt. He anticipated wide use by internal and external developers and placed a high value on developer ease of use. During a three-month proof of concept, Koty was impressed with the overall developer experience and how quickly his team was able to learn Apigee.

Apigee also distinguished itself as the only API management platform that not only provided a centralized management layer to control policies, but also the flexibility of Java-based customizations and policy management. Being able to dynamically define security policies in proxy flows for immediate use was another key decision point, as was the fact that API analytics were an integrated part of the platform (other solutions used outside technology to perform these analyses).

"Anything that we wanted to customize or build on top of the Apigee platform, we could do it in no time with the platform's robust configuration and customizable framework," says Koty. "We track feature requests from customers and use them to make required configurations to the Equinix API platform. It's so easy."

Elevating the developer experience with Apigee

Ram Koty is responsible for the global API and developer experience at Equinix. His team runs internal API programs that address standardization, reporting, analytics, monetization, and how customers use APIs. Koty's team also works with many of the company's strategic customers and partners to help them integrate with Equinix platform products and services that leverage the Apigee gateway and developer portal, which the company calls its Equinix Developer Platform.

The portal currently has about 350 external and 200 internal developers registered. Most of this growth has happened over the past year as Equinix customers increasingly want to connect with APIs to replace outdated manual integration processes. Koty estimates developer portal growth over the last year to be roughly 400 percent, reflecting how the industry is changing: many businesses are undergoing digital transformations and moving toward putting APIs at the center of their IT strategies.

"The Apigee platform has helped us to standardize our development methodologies and provide configurable, policy-driven APIs to end consumers."

Ramchandra Koty, Director of Engineering, Equinix

Equinix offers several leading products in the interconnection and colocation space and is focusing on transforming all of them to be API-based. Koty estimates that the effort is near completion; some legacy products that could not be transformed or standardized are being redeveloped. Equinix is also working to ensure that all new products under development follow the API-first model.

Equinix hosts and manages all internal APIs on the Apigee platform. The company runs the Apigee developer portal on top of that, with the customized Equinix Developer platform as the top layer. This is where it exposes API catalogs, a community forum, blogs, videos, and other features; it's where customers can consume APIs, read documentation, explore, and create apps.

Simplifying customer integrations in a specialized technical environment

The Developer Platform provides several benefits for Equinix. Prospective customers can register to use the playground where they can test out mock APIs. These users are treated as leads, making Apigee a pipeline generator as well as an API management platform. Existing customers will be able to use a sandbox for testing end-to-end dataflows with real data. Thanks to the ability to interact with Equinix APIs in this way, some interesting use cases have been developed both internally and by Equinix customers.

Explains Koty, "The Apigee platform has helped us to standardize our development methodologies and provide configurable, policy-driven APIs to end consumers."

Equinix finds that due to its highly specialized business niche, it tends to attract two audiences: expert software developers who don't necessarily understand the Equinix business and products, and network and location domain experts who may not understand software development. The company needed to serve both of these audiences at the same time. It was able to do this by integrating its APIs with the internal IT tools that customers typically use. For example, it created a channel on a third-party service management tool where developers could interact directly with Equinix.

Another use case that Equinix didn't see coming was a high-tech customer in the social networking space that is building an internal dashboard to integrate with all Equinix APIs, not just a specific few. As a data center and interconnection provider, Equinix is just one step in this company's workflow. The customer is building machine learning algorithms that it wants to integrate with Equinix APIs so that it can make sense of a connected dataset across all of the providers on their end-to-end solution. In this case, the customer was able to leverage the Equinix developer platform to add another layer of connectivity and functionality to its data analysis. This level of insight is one that goes far beyond the scope of what Equinix had originally imagined customers would be able to achieve with its APIs.

"The APIs we deliver on the Apigee platform help Equinix customers to scale and simplify their businesses. Quite simply, Apigee helps us serve our customers better."

Ramchandra Koty, Director of Engineering, Equinix

Anticipating customer demand with hybrid cloud

Ram's team is also engaged with the Google partner engineering team to investigate how Anthos and Istio could help the business to drive more innovation and simplicity. Equinix is interested in how the GCP push toward hybrid cloud management could help it leverage Apigee and hybrid cloud together using new configuration tools.

Over the next six to nine months, Koty has plans for the Equinix Apigee deployment that include developing multi-region capabilities for the Equinix Apigee deployment. Currently, Apigee is deployed centrally at a single Equinix data center. Moving to a multi-region deployment will align with the hybrid cloud strategy recently announced by Apigee. Having achieved his initial goal of transforming the Equinix API program, Koty is confident that his team is ready to take serving API customers to the next step.

"The APIs we deliver on the Apigee platform help Equinix customers to scale and simplify their businesses," says Koty. "Quite simply, Apigee helps us serve our customers better."

About Equinix

Equinix brings together market leaders and innovators on a single, global interconnection platform. Strategically positioned with industry-leading data centers, Equinix helps customers globally deploy infrastructure and services while directly and privately interconnecting to their most important clouds, services, and networks.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States
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