Exclusive: Plan for new SDN to connect hyperscalers ‘close to getting finance’

Exclusive: Plan for new SDN to connect hyperscalers ‘close to getting finance’

Vicki Warker Laser Light.jpg

A new project to connect hyperscale data centres with a software-defined mixture of fibre and laser-based satellites should be going ahead in the next few months.

A US company, Laser Light, says it is close to finalising the finance for the first software-defined network (SDN), that will build a global network out of established terrestrial and subsea infrastructure.

But Laser Light also plans to order a fleet of 12 medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellites from Thales that will be part of the same SDN.

“We will be connecting to large data centres that can do compute at scale, moving data around the globe,” said Vicki Warker (pictured), chief commercial officer of the company. “We’re going to use the SDN routing to make our network cost-effective.”

Data will be moved via satellite or by terrestrial or subsea cables, she added — or a combination, as typically each territory will have a cluster of laser ground stations networked together to avoid cloud-cover.

Customers — which will pay by use — will be able to choose between fast delivery or lowest cost.

CEO Bob Brumley said: “Laser Light’s focus is not to connect the unconnected or to serve a particular geography or target vertical. It is to provide a global utility for the distribution and management of data pools at scale.”

But it’s clear that content delivery networks are the main target, with their desire to shift huge files around the planet to hyperscale data centres for local delivery.

“But there will also be a need for latency-sensitive applications that run off 5G,” said Warker, who also listed uses in artificial intelligence, biomedical applications and manufacturing.

Laser Light’s launch date, depending on the company’s signing of its financial backing, will be late 2021 or early 2022, she said. That will be for fibre-based services, with the optical satellites following 30-32 months later. But satellites will be able to deliver data at speeds of 200Gbps over laser beams, she added.

The technology is not “bleeding edge”, she added. “Lasers are new to the commercial market but not to the military market.”

We will be publishing a full interview with Warker and her colleagues shortly. 



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