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Megaport seeks to make networking a utility

'Hyper-scalable interconnection fabric' seeks to deliver high-speed, on-demand networking between enterprises and service providers like Amazon AWS.
Written by Tim Lohman, Contributor

Megaport has announced a deal with Brocade that will help the fledgling company realise its aspiration of shaking up the Asia-Pacific network interconnection services market.

The deal, for several of Brocade's MLXe Ethernet platforms, underpins Megaport's "hyper-scalable interconnection fabric", which allows end-user enterprises to connect to multiple service providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), M2 Telecommunications, and Pacnet Australia, using one physical Ethernet interface and at speeds of between 10Gbps and 100Gbps.

According to Megaport CEO Bevan Slattery, in addition to high-speed access to connected service providers, end users will be able to more easily access the connectivity to these service providers on demand.

"More and more people are outsourcing to third parties — things like storage and compute to Amazon, denial-of-service protection from a provider, or transit from a company like Pacnet — but [demand for] these things can change on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis," he said.

"What we are trying to do is break down the older models, where you have to buy a connection to that service provider for 12 or 24 months [and move it to on demand].

"What we are doing is creating a network as a service that dovetails into the software as a service or infrastructure as a service — that's the missing piece. Carriers and network providers want to sell their services, but the delivery model doesn't blend with their service model. This is the first network which will be almost utility based, client defined through software-defined networking."

Elaborating on the client-defined element of the service, Slattery said that by the end of this year, customers will be able to order connections on demand by using a smartphone.

"By Christmas time, customers will be able to order, on their iPhone or Android device, a circuit between themselves and Amazon and have it up in five minutes," he said.

"If, all of a sudden, you need to shift 30 terabytes of information from one Megaport client to another, you just light up a virtual cross-connect between yourself and that provider for just a single day, shift that data at anything from 1Mbps to 10Gbps, then turn it off at the end of the day."

Commenting on service-provider reaction to the new service, Slattery claimed that Megaport's offering has been taken up quickly since launching two months ago.

"The first connection was made 60 days ago," he said. "We already have about 72 customers, and are approaching our 100th 10Gbps port here in Australia that people can interconnect to — and that in 60 days. We expect 200 ports by year's end."

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