Big Interview

Megaport defies traditional connectivity

Vincent English Megaport.jpg

Vincent English, CEO, Megaport, speaks to Natalie Bannerman about how the company is leading the charge in business transformation in the connectivity space and its plans for Europe

Business transformation is concerned with more than just how individual businesses are transforming their companies, but how they are influencing transformation as whole through what they do. This is the case for Megaport.

The company’s entire existence is centred on changing or transforming the traditional way of interconnecting with the cloud and networking in general. In essence, Megaport is a technology company. It leverages a software-defined network (SDN), built on a physical network which connects approximately 230 locations. Its SDN is integrated into the top seven cloud providers – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google, Oracle, IBM, Salesforce and Alibaba. By combining the software with its existing technology, Megaport effectively virtualises the network in the same way AWS virtualised cloud-computing servers. In short, Megaport offers safe, direct connectivity into a public cloud environment from a customer’s enterprise infrastructure.

Speaking to Vincent English, CEO of Megaport, one of the key value adds the company has to offer is the ad-hoc way in which customers can provision connectivity services with Megaport.

He explains: “Customers can seamlessly use pay-as-you-go services to connect and consume the cloud. So that their connectivity usage matches the profile of how they are using and consuming the cloud.”

Megaport goes against the traditional way of doing things. Previously carriers would have to purchase long-term contracts to connect into whatever services they needed.

“Now it allows businesses to easily move their data in a safe and secure manner, in a profile of how they want to use the data at their own needs, rather than on a long-term contract,” says English.

He adds that Megaport has taken the complications out of its networking and the data can move quickly. What does this do for cloud adoption? Well, English adds that it lowers the barriers creating more ways to connect to the public cloud, but it also gives customers more access to public cloud from multiple regions rather than from where the physical cloud exists today.

A key driver of business transformation, particularly for Megaport and its network, is the uptake of multi-cloud connectivity. According to English, over the last 12 month [ending June 2018] the company has seen a 208% increase in customers that are on the Megaport platform using more than one cloud provider.

This speaks to a few things, says English. IT professionals and businesses are becoming a lot more savvy, they’ve got a lot more knowledge and research about how data and applications help their business grow or improve its performance. “So now what they’re doing is cherry-picking the best applications to suit what the business need and that’s not all provided by one cloud provider,” he explains.

This is a symptom of education adding that the cloud providers have “done a great job on teaching what the applications have and what they can do for businesses”.

Interconnection

As interconnection evolves, English ays it needs to happen “further and further away from centralised specific regions” and “compute in general starting to happen further along the edge.”

How does he see that happening? “Neutrality, independence and a little bit of an open mind – just seeing what the customer wants I think will allow an increase in that area,” he explains.

Earlier this year Megaport announced that it was offering dedicated access to Oracle cloud infrastructure with Oracle FastConnect locations in London. This feeds into a wider roadmap for both firms, the CEO says.

“Our network is a global network, and turning up the FastConnect product directly here in London with Oracle means we’re able to directly service the London market. Having Megaport and the ability to scale up and down your bandwidth connectivity to Oracle as you need to, and being able to do that in a physical cloud on-ramp here in London means it’s a lot more efficient, latency is not an issue and you get all the benefits of the direct FastConnect product. Bringing Oracle to London with FastConnect just gives them access to that London customer.”

Europe is the next big market for Megaport and English has big plans for the region explaining that by through this financial year and into 2019, the company hopes to add somewhere in the region of 20-25 new locations in Europe.

“There’s been a shift now towards getting Europe up to the next level in anticipation of that wave of activity that’s going to come over the next 12-18 months,” he says.

English claims that his biggest challenge around network virtualisation isn’t in the any technical aspects of the network but “making sure as we go from market to market, people understand what this is and the user experience we deliver is the best it can be”.

There is no doubt in English’s mind that the future of networking will be in virtualised services, we need only look at consumer behaviour in every other aspect of modern living.

“People have already shifted away from physically owning things are very much for ease of use,” he explains. “Why can’t this by easier, why can’t this be simpler? That’s what society is moving towards and that pushes the need for a lot more virtualised services.”

As Megaport stays on course for accelerated growth for Europe, English is clear on the roadmap over the coming months. Firstly to be in 300 locations by the end of June 2019 across multiple regions. Continue to build out its capabilities with its ecosystem – with not just global providers but some “smaller regional providers as part of our marketplace” and of course focus on customer experience at the heart of it. Either way, he says “we’re not slowing down.”