Light Reading

Pacnet Turns On SDN in APAC, US

Mitch Wagner
2/18/2014
50%
50%

Regional wholesale operator Pacnet plans on launching its software-defined intercontinental network in Asia/Pacific and the US today, leveraging its control of undersea cable capacity to deliver enhanced networking flexibility, reduced cost of operations and pay-as-you-go pricing.

The Pacnet Enabled Network (PEN), which launched in beta in November, becomes generally available Tuesday, powered by 18 datacenters in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and now the US. It's designed to enable enterprise and carrier customers "to rapidly and cost-effectively create the foundation of a virtual, integrated data center" using software-defined networking (SDN), according to a statement from Pacnet . (See Pacnet Gets Agile With SDN.)

Pacnet's Layer 1 ownership is key to PEN's value, Jim Fagan, president of managed services for Pacnet, said in a phone interview. "We have this massive network in Asia-Pacific, an international network of submarine cable systems. We have control of the network all the way through the technology layers. This gives us an amazing amount of control and flexibly of the networks," he said. PEN is designed to pass that control and flexibility on to customers.

US availability of the service is designed for organizations needing to do business with Asia-Pacific partners, Fagan said. US customers will need to have a point-of-presence in Los Angeles to connect to the Pacnet network.

Designed for flexibility
The service is designed to be highly flexible, with its software control plane able to configure the network in minutes, rather than the days or weeks required for conventional networking. As Fagan explained to my colleague Robert Clark in November:

    Currently "the customer goes to the sales rep, who has to check the inventory. Then there's a pricing discussion, then it has to be manually provisioned, then the circuit is tested, and then the customer has to accept it." That can take nearly three weeks and the customer is locked into a one- or two-year fixed contract.

"We're looking at it as the Amazon model, paying for what you use, but also tying in the benefits from private connectivity," Fagan told me Monday.

Using Pacnet, customers can designate specific quality of service levels on specific routes, or just configure best-effort to reduce cost. Users can buy bandwidth by the hour, for example for backup or migration.

Relatively small
Pacnet is a relatively small company, with $500 million in revenue and 800 employees. But it's focused on networking and the datacenter, where bigger competitors are less focused, Fagan said.

While cannibalizing its existing wholesale business is a worry for Pacnet, the company believes it will eat into more of its competitors' business than its own. "If I had revenue as large as my competitors, I might not be so excited to be leading disruption in the industry," Fagan said.

Pacnet plans to expand the PEN service to South Korea and Taiwan next.

The flexibility comes from the use of Vello Systems 's Connectivity Exchange application, which runs on the vendor's VellOS Linux software platform. Vello's software enables Connectivity Exchange, which includes virtual cross-connect capabilities, to configure and manage the network.

Simplifying migration
"This is about simplifying the way that [Pacnet's] tenants can migrate the applications they're hosting and be able to cut-and-paste those throughout the Pacnet network," Karl May, Vello president and CEO, said.

The Pacnet service will prove attractive to customers, said Heavy Reading analyst Caroline Chappell in an email:

    Service providers want the flexibility of being able to switch between optical and packet layers of the network, depending on the needs of individual customers [and] applications and Vello is one of the first companies to support this using Openflow. The Pacnet win is an endorsement of this approach -- which is highly appropriate, if you think about it, for a service provider that is bridging datacenters on both sides of the Pacific with subsea optical links in between.

Vello is "targeting specific use cases rather than trying to be an all-purpose SDN vendor," Chappell said. Application-driven on-demand bandwidth management is one such use case. "Again, this would be highly appealing to Pacnet's enterprise customers who are familiar with the cloud and buying infrastructure on demand services (IaaS) and want to do the same with networks -- hence the Network as a Service (NaaS) tag," she said.

Enterprise customers are asking B2B service providers for pay-per-use networking rather than fixed-bandwidth connectivity services, which are invariably over-provisioned, Chappell said. If Pacnet succeeds, other service providers will likely follow with their own pay-per-use services, possibly to Vello's benefit.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to mwagner@lightreading.com.

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Then pick up your axe, put on your spandex trousers and get yourself down to Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE). Kerrang!!!
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Predicting Traffic Patterns for Quality Mobile Broadband

4|29|15   |   6:45   |   (0) comments


Accessing information ubiquitously creates complexity and creates heavy traffic onto the network, especially at large-scale events like sporting events or festivals. In this video, Huawei's Mohammad Hussain speaks to experts about how to predict traffic and improve user experience during periods of heavy traffic.
Between the CEOs
Ciena CEO: The Web-Scale Revolution

4|28|15   |   10:32   |   (3) comments


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders goes head-to-head with long-time Ciena CEO Gary Smith to discuss the impact of the web-scale players, the New IP and 'white box' networks.
LRTV Documentaries
Cox Eyes Cloud-Based Home Networks

4|27|15   |   05:30   |   (0) comments


Cox's Jeff Finkelstein explains how moving services to the cloud will let cable deliver services faster and eliminate constant hardware replacements.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
Upcoming Live Events
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A study run by Insights in Marketing and commissioned by Meredith shows the devices, channels and ways in which women are consuming content.
Hot Topics
No Service, No Problem: 5 Places That Want to Be Unconnected
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/1/2015
Astellia Highlights Customer Care Disconnect
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/29/2015
Cisco's Robbins to Replace Chambers as CEO
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 5/4/2015
Sprint Maps Out Its Next-Generation Network
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 5/5/2015
Cyan Says It Wasn't Starving Before Ciena Bid
Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, 5/5/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders goes head-to-head with long-time Ciena CEO Gary Smith to discuss the impact of the web-scale players, the New IP and 'white box' networks.
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Cats with Phones
Cinco de Mayo Click Here
Cats With Phones says Happy Cinco de Mayo. Accessorize appropriately.