GTT Getting Aggressive on SD-WANs

Services strategy builds on new access footprint, global Internet backbone and push to hit $1 billion in revenues.

October 18, 2017

3 Min Read
GTT Getting Aggressive on SD-WANs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Most conversations with GTT CEO and President Rick Calder start with, "So tell me about your latest acquisition," but this week at Incompas 17, he's focused on his firm's services strategy and what he sees as its unique advantages in delivering SD-WAN services in particular.

Having just closed on its $161 million acquisition of Global Capacity a bit ahead of schedule, GTT Communications Inc. now wants to leverage the new 1,750 points of presence it added and the One Marketplace access to Ethernet over copper connections to bulk up enhanced services, particularly SD-WAN but also things like the ultra-low latency service the company introduced today. It's all part of the push to hit $1 billion in revenues, a target Calder set earlier this year. (See GTT Gears for Organic Growth and Diversity & SD-WAN Drive GTT-Global Capacity Deal.)

"We have been busy, closing on the acquisitions of Perseus and Global Capacity," Calder says. "We have combined the organizations, now we are working on integrating the systems and finally we will integrate the network. In the case of Global Capacity, we had been working with them for a long time, we were very patient with this deal, so we're very familiar with their network."

Figure 1: GTT's Rick Calder GTT's Rick Calder

That network with its automated connections to 2,000 last-mile access providers, gives GTT much-greater reach into the market without having to build out its own facilities. "We have no interest in owning those connections," Calder says. Because of copper's ubiquity, Global Capacity's Ethernet-over-copper footprint is ideal for an SD-WAN strategy and since both companies had deployed a service based on VeloCloud devices, the transition is a smooth one.

"Our view is that whether it is using Ethernet-over-copper, coaxial cable or LTE wireless, we can deliver secure connections back into our private Internet backbone," Calder says. "In the short run, the key for us is secure SD-WAN with firewalling -- premises-based firewalling -- using Fortinet and network-based firewalls as well, as the traffic is coming in, it is tunneled securely back into our network."

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GTT can also layer on intrusion detection and prevention capabilities, providing a unified threat management capability that enterprises with far-flung operations are seeking, as they transition from MPLS or IPSec-based services, he adds.

The other major advantage GTT is pushing is the ability for an enterprise to pay for a pool of bandwidth and allow it to be used on-demand as needed, across its multiple locations, with traffic bursting as needed, and businesses paying only for what they use, Calder says. The network operator then provides the customer with the ability to see how its applications are performing and how much bandwidth is being consumed.

GTT is not yet deploying universal CPE but will do so, as SD-WAN vendors move from appliance-based offerings to software-based virtual network functions down the road, Calder says.

The ultra-low latency service is targeting financial centers in Latin America, Asia and Africa, with routes including New York to Mexico City, Hong Kong to Tokyo, Hong Kong to Singapore, Mumbai to Singapore, and Johannesburg to London.

Of course, no Calder conversation is complete without some reference to future acquisitions, for which he has the standard response: Those aren't discussed in advance, but stay tuned.

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

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