& cplSiteName &

Level 3 Does Big Data Differently

Carol Wilson
8/21/2014
0%
100%

Most telecom activity in the data center space is associated with companies delivering cloud services -- such as Verizon, CenturyLink, AT&T and Windstream. Level 3 Communications, which opened its newest North American data center this week in Herndon, Va., also has a major data center footprint -- with 350 facilities globally -- as part of its own cloud play of a different kind. (See Unknown Document 710421.)

In addition to offering a video cloud service via its content delivery network, Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) is delivering infrastructure-as-a-service to help enterprises collect and analyze big data, as well as provide the backbone connectivity for many of the cloud connections.

In a conversation with Light Reading, Paul Savill, SVP of product management at Level 3, pointed to Level 3's ability to help businesses collect and aggregate the large and small streams of information that make up big data, while also connecting them to cloud computing resources such Amazon Web Services Inc. , for the computational power to do the analysis. His company is seeing significant growth in the enterprise sector because of the growth of big data.

Starbucks, a Level 3 customer, is a good example because it is creating the ability to report a plethora of detailed data about individual stores' activity, down to the temperature of the coffee in their pots, all of which can be stored and analyzed.


Our NFV & the Data Center event digs deeper into how telecom service providers are evolving their data center strategies. You can check it out here on Light Reading.


Level 3's networks help businesses collect all that data from individual locations in a cost-effective way and, through the Cloud Connect service, gain access to the computational power needed to analyze the data. (See Level 3 Offers Private Links to Cloud and Level 3 Cloud Connects Digital Realty.)

"The basis of big data is creating these reams of information that has great potential locked into it if you can put the right analysis against it and understand the correlations of what it is telling you," Savill says. "We don't have a big data service and we're not selling consulting services around big data or analytic processes. But we can play in that whole equation."

Both the network and data centers factor into Level 3's solution. For Starbucks, Level 3 had to "get creative" to produce a cost-effective network option for every store, and for a lot of small streams of data that have to be collected, Savill says. Only in aggregate does all of that become "big data" and have analytical value.

Level 3's ability to deliver cost-effective connections and aggregation of all these smaller streams of data will be greatly enhanced when the tw telecom deal closes, if it does so as expected, because tw telecom has a much bigger metro network footprint and three times as many office buildings on-net, he notes. (See Level 3 CTO Jack Waters: Network Integration Guru.)

But Level 3 is also leveraging its global reach, and here, Savill cites the example of a movie studio producing an animated movie through the collaboration of many different work groups, in different locations, who each work in their own time zone and return the work-in-progress to the cloud when they are done.

"We have customers in the media and movie industry who may be working on a project for a year -- an animated movie -- and have various locations where the work is done," he says. "Modern animation requires a massive amount of computational power to render a one-minute scene, and it's much more cost-effective to do this work on a cloud computing platform where they pay for that by the hour."

By owning its own network of data centers, Level 3 can provide places to store and aggregate data, and then the cloud connections to enable the analysis, through its Cloud Connect offer, which reaches AWS and Microsoft, and will be connecting to other large cloud operators, Savill says. The combination of ubiquitous networks and data collection sites is what the carrier is selling.

"As companies are moving their IT operations to the cloud, big data is one of the use cases that is pretty popular," Savill says. "The computational power that is needed to perform big data analysis can be very large and very sporadic."

Rather than invest in the cost of owning and managing servers that aren't needed for regular use, enterprises look to the cloud for on-demand compute power on a pay-what-you-use basis, he says.

"We are seeing companies take terabytes of data and push it to an off-site platform, perform the data analysis and pull the data back and shut down the cloud service," Savill says. CloudConnect lets them do that and only pay for the network services they use.

The Level 3 exec doesn’t commit his company to never offering a cloud computing service -- that may be in the cards at some point, he says -- but for now, providing the data center capacity and the network connections is a significant part of the carrier's focus on growing its enterprise services.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(17)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/21/2014 | 8:54:52 PM
Re: Good fit
@Ariella, that's a great concept and I can see the benefit, but I'm sure it freaked a lot of customers out.
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/21/2014 | 8:18:43 PM
Re: Good Fit
@Carol Wilson, great blog.  I like your identification of the "sweet spot", being ubiquitous networks with data collection; I think that is what is attracting the multiple players.

I agree with you and Daniel that Level3 could decide to move into that space, but need to develop the proper foundation if they choose to do so.
cnwedit
50%
50%
cnwedit,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/21/2014 | 6:20:24 PM
Re: Good fit
Daniel,

They may reach that conclusion themselves -- certainly they have the infrastructure for such a service. But it also requires management and software - at least that's what CenturyLink says in talking about their new private cloud offer.

Level 3 isn't saying they won't offer cloud services, that's just not the approach they are currently taking.
cnwedit
50%
50%
cnwedit,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/21/2014 | 6:20:22 PM
Re: Good fit
Daniel,

They may reach that conclusion themselves -- certainly they have the infrastructure for such a service. But it also requires management and software - at least that's what CenturyLink says in talking about their new private cloud offer.

Level 3 isn't saying they won't offer cloud services, that's just not the approach they are currently taking.
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/21/2014 | 4:41:24 PM
Re: Good fit
@DanielC you don't care for SaaS? 
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/21/2014 | 4:36:09 PM
Re: Good fit
I would think that Level 3 would be incredibly competent in offering private cloud services to its customers.

That's really in my opinion the next generation of cloud technology. Too many companies today are relying on SaaS products/services that are not as secure as they really should. 
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/21/2014 | 2:56:42 PM
Re: Good fit
@thebulk it's possible some would be, but some do go even further, matching loyalty cards with faces and online offers. I wrote about that last year  here.
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/21/2014 | 2:50:53 PM
Re: Good fit
I am 100% with you on that, I just think there would be some minor opposition to such a program and it would likely be vocal enough to scare off many retailers.
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/21/2014 | 2:46:31 PM
Re: Good fit
@thebulk but they still know what you buy if you use the loyalty cards. I know of people who say they refuse to use them for that reason or who try to game the system by switching with friends. To tailor offers -- say coupons for diapers to those who buy baby food -- they use that data already. But they can also use the data in a general way to know what people tend to buy together to, say, plan a better layout for the store. 
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/21/2014 | 2:38:09 PM
Re: Good fit
@Ariella, normally I would say yes, because I love efficient systems. However; we have to take I to account the privacy concerns if the customers. I still remember how upset some were in the US when some stores first rolled out a loyalty card program. For that reason and that reason alone I think it's best to keep two seperat systems in place.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Web-Scale View

1|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Heavy Reading's former chief analyst Patrick Donegan shared insight from the recent web-scale operators report, which featured research on how web-scale operators view the market, the best web-scale companies to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Cloud Scale Networking: Automation, Virtualization & Simplification

1|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Sanjeev Mervana outlines the latest innovations in networking technology at CES 2017 in Las Vegas.
LRTV Custom TV
ADVA Talks Innovation & the Future of Networking

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Le Maistre and Christoph Glingener, CTO of ADVA Optical Networking, discuss the current state of the industry, cooperation and collaboration, open innovation and the future of networking.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Infinite Video Platform

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Infinite Video Platform allows service providers to deliver broadcast-quality video over IP networks. Infinite video supports many devices, from 4K TVs to tablets to game consoles. Join Cisco's Rajeev Raman for a brief tour and live demo.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy: Ability to Adapt Key for NFV

1|16|17   |   6:40   |   (0) comments


Speaking at Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Masergy's VP, Global Technology, Ray Watson, said agility is key to providing the mix and match NFV-based services that are driving business for the managed service provider today.
LRTV Interviews
Equinix: The Data Explosion

1|13|17   |   4:16   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Eric Schwartz, president of EMEA, Equinix, talked about how Equinix is helping its customers manage the influx of data today, and how it's preparing for a future filled with millions of connected IoT devices.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Changing Data Center Landscape

1|12|17   |   6:05   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision event in Rome, Heavy Reading's Senior Analyst Roz Roseboro talks about how virtualization is impacting data center evolution and how that evolution is affecting the relationship between service providers, data center operators and public cloud providers.
LRTV Interviews
Boingo: Prepping for Millions of Devices

1|12|17   |   5:07   |   (2) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Boingo's CTO Derek Peterson discusses how wireless operators will address the needs of low-bandwidth and high-bandwidth apps at the same time, the need for more MHz, the impact of IoT and more.
LRTV Interviews
Comcast Shows Off Gig Gateway at CES

1|11|17   |     |   (1) comment


With its largest presence at CES in years, Comcast took the wraps off its long-awaited gigabit gateway and a new platform for managing the home WiFi network. Light Reading Senior Editor Mari Silbey sat down with EVP Chris Satchell to discuss the latest Comcast advance, and met with VP of Product Strategy and Development Andrea Peiro to walk through a demo of the ...
LRTV Interviews
Colt: End-to-End Key for 2017

1|10|17   |   6:21   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Nico Fischbach of Colt said having a multi-carrier, end-to-end service proposition is going to be key for 2017 -- and SD-WAN is instrumental in making it happen.
From the Founder
Cisco's Clemson on Mobile Cloud Video

1|9|17   |     |   (2) comments


Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators. "If you think about where we're going… whether it's a mobile application, or a video ...
LRTV Custom TV
VMware Telco NFV Solutions – Preparing for 5G & IOT

1|9|17   |     |   (0) comments


Shekar Ayyar, EVP & Corporate Strategy/General Manager of Telco for VMware, discusses VMware's Telco NFV solutions role and foundation for the Imminent Arrival of 5G & IOT.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
A Women in Comms Glossary
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 1/18/2017
Is Cable One Beefing Up for Slaughter?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 1/20/2017
Google Security Lessons for IT
Curtis Franklin, Security Editor, 1/18/2017
Nokia CTO: 2017 Is the Year 5G Gets in the Field
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/19/2017
TV's Paradox: No HDR Without 4K
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/17/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.