Programmable networking (with an emphasis on analytics)! That was the message from Travis Ewert (pictured), SVP of Network Software Development for Level 3. You’ll have to excuse my exaggerated use of punctuation. Travis didn’t really exclaim or scream about programmable networking but he was very excited about to discuss how Level 3 is able to use its SDN control-layer to more flexibly provide bandwidth than other players in the space. In fact, he says they allow companies to more or less turn their bandwidth levels up or down in 20-30 seconds as opposed to competitors who can take up to an hour or perhaps more if you read their fine print.
Rather than get into the competition, I thought it made more sense to discuss the Level 3 offering with in more depth. The company’s Ethernet 2.0-powered network (MEF 2.0) is able to use analytics to react to network traffic and respond accordingly. For example if you determine bandwidth usage is at 90% you are able to double or triple bandwidth. In addition, the additional bandwidth needs can be scheduled based on the calendar. You can specify holiday shopping time for a boost or a daily backup or an HD videoconference session which has a lot of participants. This solution will be less expensive than traditional bandwidth metering where bills can be very high.
Another way to keep prices from escalating – the service cost won’t be more than what it would cost per month. In addition, the company works with cloud providers to extend their cloud via private networks to customers. Finally, they are building out their Carrier Ethernet solutions globally.
In short, expanding to better serve global customers, cloud customers while increasing the flexibility of bandwidth purchasing via analytics are all logical moves for a company looking to build its business among some of the biggest spending companies in the market. We’ll have to see how the competition responds.