On Joining the EDJX Advisory Board

John Cowan, Joe Weinman, and Dean Nelson reflect on EDJX's journey through 2020.

Introduction - John Cowan, EDJX CEO

This past year has been tremendous for EDJX. We raised $3M in new funding ($6.4M to date), we launched EdjBlock™, a pre-integrated edge computing infrastructure that enables rapid deployment and monetization of distributed CDN and edge computing services. We launched EdjNet™, the EDJX Edge Delivery Platform – peer-to-peer technology that enables the delivery of edge computing services closer to users and connected things. We announced several strategic partnerships, including 6×7 Networks, Edgevana, Cyxtera, ITRenew, and Virtual Power Systems (VPS). CRN noted EDJX as the top of the list in The 10 Coolest IoT Startups Of 2020. Rich Miller covered EDJX in Data Center Frontier (The Emerging Players in Edge Computing, EDJX Edge Network Integrates Sustainability, Software-Defined Power.) Stacey on IoT noted EDJX’s efficient model of a peer-to-peer distributed network of machines (Everything’s distributed: How EDJX is rethinking computing) celebrating EDJX with a key quote:

“All hail our new distributed architecture.

Maybe now it’s time to shine.”

– Stacey on IoT on EDJX

And we grew and expanded our leadership team. Two key members of our EDJX advisory board, IT business luminaries Joe Weinman, the global author who holds decades of leadership experience in networking, cloud, datacenters, interconnection, and IT, and Dean Nelson, founder and chairman of Infrastructure Masons and CEO of Virtual Power Systems with a 30+ year career spanning Uber, Ebay/PayPal and Sun Microsystems, have conveyed a few reasons why they are keen to be driving the edge with us.

Joe Weinman

I’m thrilled to be collaborating with EDJX for several reasons.

First, I have argued for the role and place for the edge for a decade. In 2011, I exactly modeled application response time for cloud-based services as a function of endpoint performance, network latency, and server performance, finding that the optimal dispersion of resources depended on the inherent application run time relative to the network time, considering the degree of “embarrassing” parallelism in the app. If the application execution time dominates, it makes sense to consolidate resources for parallelism; when the network time does, it makes sense to disperse resources to reduce network latency.

Using this model, I showed how to calculate the exact optimum balance of consolidation and dispersion. For example, web search uses a balance of index shards for parallelism and geographically distributed data centers for latency reduction. I built upon that work in 2012 with several chapters in Cloudonomics, which looked at the rationale for the edge vs. the center, despite “experts” saying a centralized hyperscale cloud was the only solution. This was five years before Gartner published a “Maverick” report in October 2017 that said basically that perhaps the edge was a wild idea worth considering. At that same time, in my role as the editor of the Cloud Economics section of IEEE Cloud Computing magazine, I wrote “The 10 Laws of Fogonomics” about tradeoffs—such as latency, network backhaul bandwidth requirements, and business continuity—between centralized consolidation vs. dispersion of resources, and also analyzed the statistics of workload aggregation in terms of utilization, availability, and cost. In short, I have been a proponent of a vital role for the edge for a decade and am delighted to get involved in the front lines of real-world implementation. EDJX is solving interesting challenges such as security, edge deployment of microservices, and blockchain.

Second, I am fascinated by EDJX’s real-life role as a disruptive innovator, exemplifying both “new-market” and “low-end” disruption. It is a new-market disruptor, competing against nonconsumption, by deploying edge resources in entirely new application areas, such as for smart cities. It is also a low-end disruptor by creating a cost structure that will be hard to beat through the use of recycled server hardware, fractional virtual power, and multi-tenancy. In addition, its role in the circular economy helps promote sustainability.

Third, I am excited to work with the people in the EDJX community, including the management team, other advisors, and leading partners. I’ve known John Cowan for a decade, and he is a deep thinker, successful serial entrepreneur, and innovator. Moreover, he’s an all-around great guy with an “aw shucks” attitude that disguises deep insights, compelling visions, and rich partner connections. I’ve known Dean Nelson for almost as long, and admired his innovative alignment of business results to IT metrics, e.g., kilowatts per purchase transaction. Other members of the team I’m just getting to know, and they have stellar backgrounds, such as Laura Roman, EDJX’s CMO, with University of Oxford and the Sorbonne, and serial technology entrepreneurs.

In short, I’m looking forward to being a part of this incredible team and compelling vision!

Dean Nelson

In the summer of 2019 I reconnected with a long time industry friend, John Cowan, who had a little startup called EDJX. He and James Thomason, a digital infrastructure executive with 13 startups under his belt, co-founded the company along with corporate finance professional Michael Preston. They asked if I would be interested in joining their advisory board. They explained their vision to make it easier for developers to put code and data closer to devices, machines and users than ever before. Needless to say, I was hooked! They were building the next generation edge platform.

EDJX understood that the scale of the edge would require a new approach for data center hardware. Their platform leverages circular economy equipment from a company called ITRenew. Another bonus was that ITRenew hardware was already standardized. It included proven hyperscale designs from the likes of Facebook, Microsoft, and others – even Uber and Ebay! ITRenew takes this equipment, refreshes and recertifies it, and then resells it as standard hardware with a three year warranty. Because it is recertified, they can offer a price advantage of approximately 50% with performance parity compared to new equipment. I was also shocked at their volumes. If they were to sell all the hardware they had in their warehouses as servers, they would be the fourth largest OEM in the world. Economic benefit? Check. And because of the circular economic model, deployment of the ITRenew equipment avoids a ton of new manufacturing. This means more than 70% of the embedded carbon is avoided by repurposing IT equipment. Ecology benefit? Check. But the story doesn’t end there.

In October of 2020 EDJX announced the alliance between EDJX, ITRenew, and VPS to land EdjBlocks in data centers all over the world. Cyxtera was part of the launch as the first major global data center operator to adopt this strategy. The platform will be generally available to the market starting in January of 2021. With a 50% price/performance advantage, a 70% reduction of embedded carbon and the ability to tap into 40% of stranded data center power capacity, the EDJX platform is destined to be one of the most sustainable deployments in the digital infrastructure industry. To make the deal even sweeter, the EDJX economic model is decentralized, which means partners earn a share of every dollar of revenue generated on the EDJX platform.

From my perspective, the combination of EDJX and ITRenew creates a competitive advantage unlike anything we have seen before. Software developers and CDN users around the world will be able to leverage a cost optimized, low carbon, highly efficient platform alternative to cloud.

I’m thrilled to be working with the EDJX team to drive this vision and offering!

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