A Look Back at PTC 2016: Reimagining Telecommunications

This year’s Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) annual conference challenged the industry to “reimagine telecommunications.” Given that over the last four years, the conference attendees have shifted from international network providers and carriers to include “hyperscalers” such as Google and Microsoft, the focus has changed from just networks to how companies can deliver cloud services globally. This year, PTC attendees were focusing on how to interconnect to and scale the cloud service stack more dynamically, from both network and cloud perspectives, with technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) access services.

SDN has certainly redefined networking throughout the industry and, as we have experienced with our own customers, is critical in driving the next generation service delivery models for networks and clouds. Cloud providers are taking a more global approach in how to improve the customer experience, increase the availability of solutions and scale their services. As cloud service delivery requirements continue to drive network requirements, it is expected that there will be more focus on these issues, including how to increase the flexibility and agility of connecting to more and more cloud services.

The other focus that was prevalent at this year’s PTC conference was undersea cable systems. According to TeleGeography, submarine cables are the primary means of intercontinental communications with 99% of global traffic routes going through submarine cables. In 2016, more undersea cables (150K km) will be laid than in the last five years combined. Our CTO, Ihab Tarazi, spoke on one panel at PTC 2016 on the topic of subsea cables.

This massive global growth of cable landing stations is elevating the requirement for a greater number of access points worldwide. This is where Equinix’s global footprint of more than 145 data centers are being utilized as they were designed. An increasing number of undersea cable systems that are tying multiple regions together are now directly accessible in Equinix via more service providers in more geographic locations. For example, Equinix is connecting the Hibernia Express subsea cable between New York and London. This provides a greater competitive environment for the consumers of these services.

Equinix is net-neutral and aggregates service providers into network and cloud ecosystems to drive more innovation and opportunities for their customers. Interconnection is key because without it, nothing happens. Network service providers (NSPs) are critical and they have evolved to support cloud service providers (CSPs) in the delivery of cloud services. There seems to be a natural line of demarcation between NSPs and CSPs as far as the responsibility around customer service delivery is concerned. And NSPs and CSPs look to us to be able to talk to both sides of the customer equation – networks and clouds. We serve as a pivotal point in interconnecting NSP and CSP worlds. For example, the Equinix Cloud Exchange is based on an SDN messaging model, the Equinix Programmable Network and enables customers to self-provision one-to-many and many-to-many network and cloud connections instantaneously.

From the perspective of harnessing both network and cloud services worldwide, Equinix enables the interconnected globe.