& 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   >   >>
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
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
CenturyLink: Let's Get Past SD-WAN Hype

6|23|17   |   04:02   |   (0) comments


Technology becomes a "shiny object" unless it's properly focused on solving business needs for enterprise customers, says Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect for CenturyLink. He explains to Light Reading why SD-WAN deployments have to be tailored to specific needs – and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment


Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments


At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing ICN as a Network Slice for Mobile Data Distribution

6|19|17   |     |   (1) comment


Network slicing in 5G allows the potential introduction of new network architectures such as Information-centric Networks (ICN) as a slice, managed over a shared pool of compute, storage and bandwidth resource. Services over an ICN slice can benefit from many architectural features such as Name Based Networking, Security, Multicasting, Multi-homing, Mobility, ...
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Mike Roberts on 5G Uptake

6|19|17   |   04:08   |   (0) comments


Mike Roberts, research director for Ovum's service provider markets group, explains why he has boosted his 5G subscriptions forecast.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Hubbard on Intersection of SD-WAN & MPLS

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Rick Hubbard, SVP of Network Product Management for AT&T Business Solutions, discusses how AT&T's approach to SD-WAN fits in with its overall virtualization strategy, explains how SD-WAN can improve enterprise customers' use of the cloud and addresses the intersection of SD-WAN and MPLS.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Keep Connected IoT Devices Under Control With Allot

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Allot AVP of International Pre-Sales, Daniel Keidar, explains how communications service providers can protect infrastructure and service availability from flooding attacks caused by malfunctioning or bot-infected devices connected to their network.
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Netflix's Lesson in Culture Expectation Settings
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2017
Kalanick Steps Down as Uber CEO
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
BT Tech Chief Makes Plea to 5G Chip Vendors
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, 6/20/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
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.