30 May 2018
| Jason Mcgee-Abe
PCCW Global, the international operating division of Hong Kong’s HKT, has publicly launched Console Connect after the successful integration of the acquired platform onto its network.
Paul Gampe, CTO of PCCW Global, spoke to Capacity this morning and hailed the move towards a more software agile approach “a great success and an amazing journey”. “We actually did a soft launch a few months ago, which indicated to us that we were able to complete having Layer 2 orchestration on the PCCW Global network within 100 days. We can now provision a Layer 2 service across the network in under 50 seconds.
“We had a good level of assurance that PCCW Global understood our approach to market and what we were trying to achieve, essentially the “LinkedIn of enterprise networks”.”
Gampe, speaking exclusively to Capacity earlier today, added: “We’ve now completed the integration of the Console Connect platform onto the PCCW Global Network. It’s the Layer 2 piece that has been completed (e-line services under the MEF standard)."
PCCW Global’s Console Connect combines its Tier 1 global IP network, available in 150 countries, with innovative software automation to deliver on-demand, private, global connectivity. It has created a true software-defined interconnect platform enabling customers to instantly provision direct connections to remote data centres, partners, and cloud services.
Capacity first broke the news on November 8th 2017, stating PCCW Global and a revived company, IX Reach, had split the assets of Console Connect in a pair of separate, but unannounced deals. The transaction involved two parts, with PCCW Global and HKT acquiring Console Connect’s platform, its assets, its intellectual property, as well as its technology team, led by CTO Paul Gampe. “There were over 30 developers, test engineers and the product management team that came across with the acquisition,” Gampe tells Capacity, adding that the team has grown as “PCCW Global has continued to invest in the software team”.
The rest of Console Connect, including its network assets and customer contracts, were bought by Stephen Wilcox, the former founder and owner of IX Reach, which was acquired by Console Connect in 2015. IX Reach has since appointed a new CEO in Simon Vye and Wilcox has taken on the role of president, remaining active in the day-to-day running of the business.
Marc Halbfinger, CEO of PCCW Global, explained to Capacity back in November 2017: "The brand we feel is valuable. We acquired most the people and they have associated themselves with the brand. The development skillsets we acquired are quite deep, so we’re quite pleased. Every network-based service provider needs to now increase the depth of its capability around software development, agile development to ensure services can be delivered to end users at the retail level and wholesale level as efficiently as possible."
Console Connect’s automated provisioning and routing is simple and the application has eliminated the complexity of network configuration so the customer can focus on its core business and quickly with just one port and one cross-connect. Once the cross-connect is set up, business-critical applications and cloud partners can be connected almost right away.
The complete solution includes the tools needed to manage multiple secure direct connections, monitor connection performance, and view bandwidth allocation and utilisation. At any time, the customer can adjust bandwidth up and down as needed.
Ronnie Klingner, president of mobility and digital solutions, PCCW Global, said: “Console Connect enables access to some of the major cloud service providers across the globe for customers to access through the platform, including AWS, Azure, and Alibaba. By the third quarter this year, we aim to have all major cloud service providers on board as well as additional major SaaS providers.”
The networking community is also unique to Console Connect, bringing customers and cloud providers together into an ecosystem where everyone can share information, discover new service providers, find partners in their supply chain, and build out their networks leveraging PCCW Global’s IP network. The Console Connect community is created by network engineers for network engineers, designed for knowledge sharing and growing customers’ network. Members receive a stream of posts, articles and events created by their peers in the networking community, and can connect and collaborate in real-time with chat and messaging.
So what’s next?
“We’re now going through the process of identifying all the different specific models of routers and switches that exist across the network,” Gampe tells Capacity. “In that first 100 days I mentioned, we tried to ensure that the approach to development covered the full range of the different infrastructure on the network.”
Gampe says that they are now in a position to “integrate all the equipment that we’re going to encounter on this network”. “We’re scheduling an on boarding activity, identifying the roadmap of points of presence (PoP), we’ll then conduct an inventory and then begin to integrate them to the automation suite. Our goal is to have all of the global network orchestrated by the end of the year.”
Gampe describes the present strategy “as a depth and breadth approach”. He says: “We want to focus on increasing the breadth of cloud providers that we have integrated. Obviously with our headquarters being in Hong Kong we’re in a very strategic position to integrate with Alibaba Cloud and Tencent Cloud. This is alongside Google Cloud and IBM Cloud for example. We're bringing together the lessons learnt from our enterprise customer base that there is a strong demand for X-as-a-Service (XaaS) connectivity and we’re also determined to complete Extended LAN (ELAN) for Layer 3 connectivity by Q4 2018."
Console Connect, available immediately to customers all around the world, combines attributes never offered before to enterprises and service providers:
• Tier 1 Global IP Network: PCCW Global’s extensive Tier 1 global IP network available in 150 countries around the world.
• Ecosystem Partners: Console Connect enables access to major cloud service providers and business-critical applications.
• Automation Software: Link data centres to each other, and to cloud providers, in seconds and on-demand with Console Connect’s simple-to-use yet sophisticated Software-Defined Interconnect automation software.
• Networking Community: Powerful social platform for knowledge sharing and growing the customers’ network and business.