Sean Donelan

Design engineer, Equinix

Few people take commercial internet business history closer to heart than Sean Donelan.

A modern-day scholar, Donelan combines his day job of design engineer at Equinix — which hosts Internet business exchanges — with efforts to document various business issues affecting interconnectivity between carriers. Peering, fiber-optic cable cuts, data center security, cracking, power outages — these are just some of the topics on which Donelan has amassed encyclopedic knowledge.

If there is ever going to be a book written about the development of the business of the Internet, this is an individual who knows enough to write one. Donelan is active in spreading his knowledge and bringing forward a historical perspective in operation issues via various informal forums. This helps industry participants evaluate the meaning of various business events on a more meaningful scale.

At Equinix, Donelan is responsible for the technical standards of Equinix Internet Business Exchange centers and identifying new technologies.

"Seans knowledge of the operation of the entire Internet infrastructure is unmatched," says Jay Adelson, founder and chief technology officer at Equinix. "His reputation for sharing that knowledge and using it to help support the stability of the Internet is worldwide. For example, his deep knowledge of the development of the carrier infrastructure and business — such as outages, standards compliance and technology — is thought to be an expert reference for companies challenged with building new carrier infrastructure today. Were proud to have him on our team."

Before joining Equinix, Donelan was a principal technical staff member at AT&T Laboratories. There, he worked on Internet service for Concert, the joint venture between AT&T and British Telecommunications. He also acted as the lead Internet service provider representative to the U.S. Year 2000 Coordination Center for ISPs not represented by first-tier providers.

Prior to joining AT&T, Donelan was at Data Research Associates for 14 years. He served in a variety of positions, from database programmer to senior network architect. He was responsible for building a nationwide backbone network providing Internet and database services to more than 3,000 libraries. At DRA, Donelan wrote the first commercial library catalog search engine on the World Wide Web.