Equinix Co-founder Al Avery Passes Away

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After battling pulmonary fibrosis, Al Avery, Equinix co-founder and co-inventor of the neutral Internet exchange, has passed away.

Avery passed on peacefully last week with his family at his side, according to Equinix’s announcement.

His work helped the Internet grow, and make the data center operating company home to the mission-critical infrastructure of more than 2,300 customers today.

Avery retired from Equinix in 2003, and had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and had recently received a lung transplant. Of the more than 200,000 Americans diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, more than 40,000 die annually – almost as many as those who die from breast cancer.

Avery and Jay Adelson started Equinix in 1998 while working together as facilities managers at Digital Equipment Corporation (www.digital.com), where they developed the idea for a neutral Internet exchange – a physical place for networks to exchange critical information. In the basement of the research and development department, they came up with plans that would later become the Palo Alto Internet Exchange or PAIX.

In creating Equinix, Adelson and Avery brought together several guiding principles – equality, neutrality, and “eliminating the middleman.” Their business vision was to pair major networks with interconnect content companies in data centers built not just for colocation but for exchanging traffic.

A memorial service will be held at a later date, and donations can be made in Al’s name to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org).

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