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Still a CDN Guy

Craig Matsumoto

8:45 AM -- Steve Liddell is an old Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) hand who's spoken at Light Reading events in the past. I bumped into him Thursday (by phone) to find he's become a content delivery networks (CDN) executive, having been hired in July to be president of the CDN business at Highwinds Network Group Inc.

There, he reports to the CEO, who really does go by the name of Steve Miller.

Highwinds doesn't carry the highest profile -- or, at least, I had to admit to Liddell I hadn't heard the name. The company came to my attention through its use of Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) NetIron XMR core routers, announced this morning. Things like same-chassis 100-Gbit/s support and hot-swappable upgrades being two key factors in the decision. (See Highwinds Selects Brocade.)

Anyway. About Liddell -- he came to the CDN industry as chief executive of Panther Express, brought on board to get the company sold.

"They were the third largest CDN at the time, but they ran into financial difficulties," he says. Panther Express wound up in the hands of South Korea's CDNetworks Co. Ltd. early last year.

Highwinds doesn't look like the same case. Adding the recent acquisition of Bandwidth Consulting Inc. (BandCon) , Highwinds has revenues around $100 million and EBITDA margins of 35 percent, "which certainly makes us one of the most profitable CDNs, arguably more so than Limelight Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: LLNW)," Liddell says. (Highwinds also makes money on things like IP services and collocation.)

So, I'll be keeping Highwinds on the radar. After all, how can you ignore the guys who helped stream the People's Choice Awards? (On second thought, don't answer that.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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Pete Baldwin
Pete Baldwin
12/5/2012 | 4:19:59 PM
re: Still a CDN Guy

Got my TLAs mixed up -- it's the XMR that's the Brocade core router.

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